Monday, July 1, 2013

Plastic Free July!

It's here! Welcome to Plastic Free July!

I'm doin' it for the third year and its a really thought provoking challenge. It motivates me to be a little creative and make some noise about stupid disposable plastic. The challenge was invented by the wonderful Rebecca Prince-Ruiz who I'm fortunate enough to work with (yes, I feel I need to make a full conflict of interest statement and say that Plastic Free July is an initiative of WMRC Earth Carers - my work). So Rebecca came to work one day three years ago and said, 'Hey, lets have a challenge where we don't use any plastic next month' and we all said great idea. Then the reality of how tricky that is hit home. Well what I've found is that its pretty easy to avoid about 80% of the disposable plastic you'd normally use and pretty tricky to get rid of the last 20%. It started off with around 40 people doing it in 2011, and now thousands are doing it. The challenge is on Facebook and there is a website to get lots of ideas.

But this blog is about us and our challenges - so I'm going to be brutally honest about our successes and our failures. First of all the admission that to get Quincey on board for PJF I've had to bribe him with...plastic, in the form of Lego. Now I actually don't take issue with Lego itself because it is wonderful stuff and has been for generations. It teaches kids hand eye skills and allows them to be very creative. Like my friend Rebecca said, you can tell its good plastic because you never find it in bulk rubbish or doing a beach clean up. And Quincey just loves it. But why, oh why does it have to come in plastic in cardboard. Just in cardboard is fine. Here is a pic of our last Lego purchase - good and bad plastic.

I'm going to attempt to post on the Sustainaburbia FB page one plastic free alternative every day - lets see how that goes! First one will be my home preserved pears with honey, lemon and vanilla. I found out recently that cans are lined with plastics that contain the chemical BPA (bisphenol A) that are (among other things) endocrine disrupters. Like lots of things to do with sustainability there is often more than one reason to make some changes in behaviour - in this case there are environmental and health reasons to avoid plastic. So in order to avoid them I'll be doing a lot more home preserving! Home preserving is fun and pretty easy once you get your gear and have a go. Yum!

The peeled pears that Ads picked up on his way home from a field trip (low food miles!)

 Pears, sugar, lemon, honey and vanilla in the pot.

Tools of the trade.

 The finished product!


  1. Hi, I used to think the same about BPA until I listened to one of the Radio National programs The Health Report on a recent study the transcript and podcast is here:
    I found the authors convincing. Worth a listen or read. That doesn't mean I rushed out and bought BPA containers but it gave me some peace of mind that my odd interaction with BPA was most likely harmless.

  2. Thanks for the link - I had a quick read. I find it hard for us mortals (non-scientists) to figure it all out. Should we believe the ones who say they are the experts? Is info in a doco or radio interview the best info out there? Who knows - not me!

    I think we can get a bit obsessive about our own health and that annoys me a bit - like, we are the most overpopulated species on the planet and yet all we want to know about is the latest super food to keep us living longer! Its a first world problem. But I tent to take the path of least resistance anyway - there are loads of good reasons to preserve your own food (its fun, less waste, fewer food miles, general control of your food and what goes in it). I certainly wont purge my house of all plastics - some of it is super useful. Everything in moderation!