Going Plastic Free this July? 5 tips to help you
Plastic Free July is nearly upon us so you may be gearing up for the challenge of reducing how much plastic you and your family use.
Plastic Free July focuses on avoiding single use plastics, which are things that are thrown away after one use. Plastic bottles, straws, and takeaway coffee cups all fall into this category, but one of the biggest culprits is plastic bags – both shopping bags and those flimsy bags we use for our fruit and vegetables.
Kiwis use over one billion lightweight shopping bags a year. As of 01 July plastic shopping bags will be banned so make sure to keep your reusable shopping bags in the back of your car. And why not choose to refuse all the other kinds of bags in your life? Use cottton produce bags for your fruit and vegetables, or pop them in a shopping basket. If you are wondering how you will line your rubbish bin without a plastic bag, then check out this video.
While plastic is very effective at lengthening the shelf life of your food, if you follow these handy tips you should be able to go plastic free this July without wasting any food.
Tip 1: Plan your meals and shopping
If you are going plastic free, you will need to be more prepared. You may need to visit more than one store to buy what you need and you will need to have your reusable bags and containers in the car. Make sure you know where the stores are in your town where you can buy items plastic free. Check out this handy regional shopping guide from Hannah and Liam of the Rubbish Trip. Once you have planned your meals, make a shopping list and include the containers that you will need to take if you are buying your food from a bulk food store.
Tip 2: Buy little and often
It’s not a great idea to buy in bulk if you are going plastic free as it may be hard to find containers large enough, so buying little and often works best. Take your measuring spoons and cups with you and only buy what you need for that meal. This works especially well if you are buying exotic herbs and spices or specialty items like polenta which you may not use very often.
Tip 3: Label everything
Make sure that you label all of your storage containers so you don’t accidentally reach for the baking soda when you are after the salt!
Tip 4: Make the most of what you already have
Plastic Free July is about sustainable living so if you already have a good collection of plastic airtight containers, continue to use them rather than tossing them out in favour of glass containers.
Glass jars are also a great storage solution and you can freeze food in them – just make sure you leave some empty space to allow for the food to expand when frozen. Raid your recycling bin for jars or scour op shops for them.
Tip 5: Know what to store where
If your food isn’t in plastic it may not last as long, so you’ll need to make sure that you are storing it in the right place. Keeping apples in the fridge makes them last 8 times longer, whereas nuts should be frozen to stop them going rancid. Check out more of our storage tips here.