Plastic Free July

plastic free july || cityhippyfarmgirl

As many of you might be aware, we have now come to the end of Plastic Free July. While I’m not awarding myself any plastic free sainthood just yet, I have had a rejiggle over the past few weeks with our plastic use. Top 4 single use plastics? No problem. I’ve got that one in the (reusable) bag. (The Top 4 is not using plastic straws, coffee cups, shopping bags and water bottles.)

Keep Cups we’ve been using for years, we make our own yogurt which would otherwise use a substantial amount of plastic tubs, bread is made at home; stopping approximately 208 supermarket plastic bags from being used in a year. Carry our own shopping bags, use waxed wraps where ever possible, buy larger amounts of things, bamboo toothbrushes for teeth cleaning and love stainless steel containers etc. There’s nothing new there, so how could I step it up a bit for Plastic Free July?

Buying in bulk certainly knocks a lot of plastic off, but you have to have somewhere to store it, our small kitchen says err, no to that one. (You see my bags of flour lining the kitchen floor take regal precedence.)

Now, Ecolosophy did a post back in June about reducing your plastic. Not ruling it out completely, but decreasing the amount that you use, and keeping it still practical for a young family. I liked this idea but again, what could I change?

I thought I’d start with a visit to the local butcher. While I always declined the extra bag they offered for carrying their meaty treats. The hunks of chunks in question were still encased in plastic for them to weigh the meat, price it and then give it to me to take home. But what if I brought my own container, would that cut down on some plastic?



Well yes, yes it did. Not a piece of plastic crossed our path. The butcher didn’t even raise his eyebrows when I said… can you put the snags in here thanks mate. He plopped them in, I sealed them up, paid and back on my bike I peddled home.

A ridiculously easy plastic decrease, that really, I should have rejigged long ago.

Now, question is, what else can I change?

plastic free July || cityhippyfarmgirl

A few other practical plastic decreases

Buy butter in paper, rather than a plastic tub

Keep Cup for take away coffees

Bake your own bread, (have I hammered this one enough yet?)

Carry your own shopping bags

Avoid using cling wrap by using reusable bees wax wraps. Buy them or make your own

If your kids are keen on straws, use reusable stainless steel ones

Stainless steel snack containers

Bamboo toothbrushes

Glass jars for storage of kitchen goodies

Take your own containers to the butcher


What are some things that you’ve changed over?


41 thoughts on “Plastic Free July

  1. I love these ideas Brydie – they are all practical. They just need a bit of focused awareness to make them into habits. I use air tight containers instead of plastic wrap, avoid individually wrapped items like muesli bars, poppers, yogurt tubs and other lunch box crap, reusable bags, metal drink bottles, buy basics n bulk, like flour, sugar, oats etc…but still more to be done. I have taken containers to the butchers before – I just forgot, and then got lazy and bought my meat from the supermarket. Thanks for the tips, very inspiring xo
    Happy Sunday!


    • The individually wrapped stuff is a big one in lunch boxes isn’t it. That generates so much extra waste, just that stuff alone. I was walking through the play ground recently at recess and was surprised at how much of the plastic wrappers like that the kids were eating…My naive thinking, no wait…kids are still eating like that??

      Liked by 1 person

      • Omg Brydie. I work at a school so I get to see first hand what kids eat. The kids who don’t eat like that are in the minority. We live in a bubble you see, and think that because we and our friends do something, that everyone does. Not so.


  2. Interesting project and was pleased how much of was incorporated into our lives already. Because we shuttle our own garbage to the dump, an effort eliminate all “throw away” is an overriding theme at our house. No one wants to ride in the car with nasty garbage for 20 miles. Yet I see many more opportunities to improve. With my new job I spend up to 4 days living without refrigeration and so am still using lots of water-tight reusable plastic containers.. Need to look for opportunities on how I might change that. Your post has me thinking about that.


  3. I’ve never thought to take my own container to the butcher! I love the look of your stainless steel containers and would love some like that. I have a granny trolley that is excellent for cutting down on plastic bags because everything can go into it without needing to be bagged xx


  4. Wow, what a good idea with the meat.Do you hand over the container Brydie? Does he put the container on the scales? My butcher is anal about cleanliness (a great thing in a butcher), I’m not sure how he would react to me handing over a container but I’d like to try it.


  5. Great ideas! I live in a share house with five other people, so sometimes it is difficult to enact entire household changes but my housemates have been quite receptive to some of my installments – I recently found out you can recycle ‘soft plastics’ like pasta and biscuit packets at the supermarket to be made into outdoor furniture so have been collecting any of these plastics separately, though I have been cutting down on purchasing wrapped things as much as possible – my boyfriend and I have been buying from bulk stores and taking our own jars in a bid to cut down further – we always do the reusable bags, steel lunch boxes, glass straws, etc. We also make our own yoghurt, bread, vegan cheeses, nut butters and more.


    • I’m not sure why the supermarket one isn’t advertised more. Our local one does with the soft plastics as well, of I which I collect for, but it’s NEVER advertised and I wonder just how much they actually get.
      Good on you for doing all those other things in your share household though, there’s generally a trickle on effect, so keep…keeping on!


  6. Our butcher uses “butchers paper” (like the kids used to draw on in kinder) but does offer a plastic bag to put the wrapped meat in, if wanted. Not having a garbage pickup where we live, means being ultra careful about waste. After the dogs, chooks and worms get what they can eat from our food waste, there is not a great deal left. I use 2 plastic shopping bags per week to use in the kitchen waste bin; we dont buy daily newspapers so very little paper is available for wrapping.


  7. My new things were wooden toothpicks to replace floss-works surprisingly well, and bamboo cotton buds to replace plastic ones. I would love some steel containers, but man they’re expensive here in NZ.


  8. Glad you drew attention to this topic Brydie. We have been using recycled plastic toothbrushes for years – made from recycled yogurt cups. It’s not going to save the world, but all of the little things add up.


    • I reckon those toothbrushes should just be a given. Any plastic toothbrush should be made from recycled plastic. I don’t think we have anything like that in Australia…or if we do I’m yet to see them. Come Colgate, get your act together.


  9. Ohhhh yeah…. All excellent ideas lady, proud i can say i do a good chunk of them too, except the toothbrush one, that sounds scary. LOL! We have our weekday meals delivered via Hello Fresh, we repurpose the boxes, much of the packaging we reuse and the chiller boxes etc go back to the company to be reused too. Guess it is an awareness thing too huh? Every little bit counts. 🙂


  10. The top 4 are pretty easy to fulfil (but I guess that’s how we get lured in) but looking around my house there still seems a lot of plastic. I work on the principle that it’s better to keep using plastic containers but when they need replacing to buy something different. I make my own bread but am gulty of freezing it in plastic bags, though I do re-use them several times. Will have to look for an alternative, though I’m not sure what.


  11. I made bags out of an old see-through mesh curtain to take to the fruit and veg to put bulk things like apples, potatoes etc in that need to be kept together to be weighed at the checkout. These work well. Thanks for the other tips. The plastics collection at the supermarket was a big breakthrough for us and it seems to be well used around here.


    • Deirdre I’m curious about this one, is it advertised at all? While there is a bin for collection out the front of our local supermarket it’s pretty low key. The council also has drop off availability for any kinds of plastics for recycling, but it’s not advertised enough, people simply don’t know about it.


  12. Good idea about the butcher Brydie, we do most of these – we love our stainless steel lunch boxes and bees wax wraps – but will have to ask the butcher about bringing containers and also look at toothbrushes…
    I would also distinguish between disposable plastic containers/wrapping and the stuff you keep – I have (as do many people) tupperware et al that is decades old and going strong…


  13. This is really interesting, thank you.
    Our two big fails are plastic bags that we buy our oats in (porridge or home made muesli for breakfast every day), and the plastic bottles our milk comes in. I reuse the oat bags, and now resolve to find some we like that I can buy in bulk in my own container. But the milk bottle thing is a bigger challenge. We recycle them, but I’d love to find a way of buying milk without the plastic wrap in the first place. Any ideas? We’re in the UK.
    Keep up the good work, and thanks again, Deborah


    • Not sure Deborah for the UK. I know some countries have the milk vending machines, where you simply fill up your glass bottles with how much you want. Love this idea but Australia where I am, I can’t see embracing that one any time soon. Some supermarkets here are offering more milk sold in glass bottles, but again that’s a single use, and makes for a pretty expensive litre if you are going through a bit. Perhaps look into a cow share in your area, with the farmer providing milk to your group?


  14. This is something that I am so passionate about. I have taken my own containers to the butchers before but never made a habit of it. Need to change that. A couple of changes that I have made in the last year are making my own clothes and dishwasher detergent. I was refilling a 4L bottle at the health store but it was costing me a fortune. The ingredients for these two staples come in either a cardboard box or a plastic bag, but there is at least no plastic bottle involved. Also our milk comes in glass bottles which are collected, washed and reused – and we make our own yoghurt and kefir in reusable glass jars. Stainless steel lunch boxes and zero waste school lunches have been a given since my eldest started school, but my youngest son is starting to notice the differences between his lunch and everyone else’s and asking for something sweet and packaged. I appease him with a little glass jar full of homemade yoghurt and fresh, local blueberries or passionfruit. Keep up the good work, lady! x


    • Zero waste lunches is a big one Alison. As you’ll see from my comments with Sara above I was a little surprised to walk through our school recently and realise that so many kids still ate their daily food out of a plastic packet. It’s not that hard, really it isn’t, and I feel really strongly about this. My eldest is in Year 4, and I could count the times he’s had a packet to throw away (from someone else giving him something when it has been.) I know time is a factor but to make a batch of muffins and a tray of biscuits/muesli bars once a week isn’t crazy stuff, it’s easy, you just need to do it….sigh, sorry. I know I’m stepping up on a pedestal to the converted here. Just frustrating!


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  16. We’ve made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic but it’s still hard. Our local butcher claims the tare button on his scales doesn’t work and when we have asked to use our own container he just slaps the meat on the scales before putting it in the container – ew! We are on the hunt for a new butcher in the inner west. Luckily our fish shop gets the idea.


    • Kimberley I’m curious, what bothers you about slapping the meat on the scales? In my mind it’s all meat going on there, it’s not alternating with vegetables, and realistically out the back of the butchers they are going to be using the same table to chop up various meats? Hooray for reducing any plastics though, it’s a big one.


  17. Wonderful ideas! I stick to reducing plastic in my life and some of your tips really come in handy! I guess the butcher issue is because of the common surface – you don’t know what else has been put there as well.


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