As part of Plastic Free July, it’s a good opportunity to evaluate just how much plastic we are personally using. Recently, as part of a Brownie’s badge, my daughter had to do an audit on the household waste. It was shocking to see that in just 7 days, we had over 100 items in the recycling bin with a large proportion being plastic trays and containers. We are a family of 5 that has already taken steps to reduce our waste and this highlighted to us there is still things we can do to help with this global problem with plastic.
From my blog post on World Refil Day, of the issues with using plastic material for bottles is that although they are recyclable in theory, only a small proportion actually make it into the recycling process. This is either because they have not been put in a recycling bin in the first place, or that they have not been washed out and labels stripped properly so are contaminated and get rejected at the recycling facility. When recycling, it is important to make sure that we are doing all we can to recycle responsibly. This means following the instructions, like when it says to keep the cap on a bottle we do that.
Our family drinks a lot of cows milk, on cereals, in tea or in cooking recipes. A couple of years ago we swapped to using a milk man and in doing so, reduced the amount of plastic bottles we throwing away from supermarket bought milk. When our youngest was a baby, he was a real milk guzzler and at the time, as a family, were getting through a staggering 22 pints of milk a week. A few times, we joked that we might as well own a cow in our garden and milk it everyday, it would be cheaper for us! That milk was representing 6 large plastic bottles a week going in our recycling household bin that may or may not end up being recycled.
Using Milk & More, has probably been our biggest contributor to reducing our household plastic consumption. We now have a more average delivery of 3 or 4 pints three times a week to our doorstop. It is all managed online, where it is easy enough to make changes or pause a delivery. It is slightly more expensive than buying from a supermarket at 81p for each glass pint but we are buying with confidence of supporting local dairy farmers with a fair price and supporting the zero plastic. The empty glass bottle we leave outside and they are collected for reuse. It has certainly helped throughout this pandemic as we have not had to worry about having to dash out to the shop mid- week for fresh milk. Also on a practical note, a weeks worth of milk on the weekly food shop doesn’t actually fit in our fridge either so having a supply every few days really works for us.
In addition to milk. Milk & More offer offer other products too in glass bottles like fresh orange juice and yogurt. At the moment we just buy milk as the other items are quite expensive and might only be a treat item. They have veg boxes too which we might look into again at some point.
Whether you choose to switch to glass bottles or not, perhaps a challenge to do a recycling bin and waste plastic audit to just see what is thrown away. Them have a look at what our own contribution is is going to be to support Plastic Free July.