With Plastic Free July now over, Julie Hadley, CSR and Social Value Manager at Banner, shares the wins, challenges, and reflections that occurred in her household throughout the month of cutting down on plastic waste.
You might expect, given my role, that I’d be a paragon of virtue, but like everyone else I’m time poor and with two teens in the house, I sometimes feel I’m on a hiding to nothing when it comes to the amount of plastic passing through here! It’s harder than you think to go plastic free and requires a real behaviour change, but with my two girls now on board, I’m quite pleased with the result.
The trigger was guilt, especially with the knowledge that lots of plastics are ‘wish-cycled’ – you pop it in the recycling and hope your local authority deals with it! Often though, the plastic we put for recycling goes for incineration, so the only way to deal with it was to cut down what I brought into the house.
Given that I’m the one doing most of the shopping, the buck stops with me…
Plastic free July was a good opportunity to tackle my mixed waste recycling output. Our general waste is pretty minimal (around half to a third of a tall wheelie bin per fortnight) as I employ the following strategies:
- A compost bin in my garden for all fruit and veg peelings and cores
- Little cooked food waste as I plan food with portions and either freeze or leave any left-overs for lunch next day
- Salad drawer soup/stock to use up end of life veg and salad
- Cardboard and paper are recycled separately
- Plastics, cans and bottles are mixed separated from other waste and put in to mixed recycling
- Batteries and electricals I pop to one side for a visit to the local recycling centre
- Soft films and bags are recycled at my supermarket
With the above as my start point, I had a look at the mixed recycling bin contents and I’m sad to admit that our mixed recycling was 2 bins a fortnight, this included all glass, plastic and cans, of which I’d say plastic made up half.