Plastic Free July – Our Successes & Failures

by Tammy Taylor~

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I’d never heard of plastic-Free July before, but I’m willing to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate as much extra plastic from our lives as possible.  Now I hate plastic and I shun it every day anyway.  But for me, it’s all about balance.  If I stumble I don’t obsess about it, life’s just too short.  But I’m usually pretty successful in eliminating lots of plastic with super-easy changes.  Come see ways I’ve been able to stop lots of plastic from coming into our home.  Maybe you can pick up a few tips.  We’d love to hear your tips too, be sure to share in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from previous posts I’ve written.  But links preceded with * are affiliate links.  If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a small commission.  But the price you pay will NOT change.  It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket.  So click often!  Thank you!)

Failures

Nope, this month hasn’t all been success and high-fives.  There are several times when I’ve fallen short of my goal.  I don’t beat myself up about it though.  I just take notes for next time and move on.

For instance, RancherMan & I were hosting out-of-town family over the weekend.  We all dined together at a delightful Chinese-food restaurant one night.  Since we weren’t in our car I didn’t have my Low-Waste Dining Kit with me as I typically do. Distracted by familial conversation, I didn’t tell the waiter in advance “No Straw” so I received one.  And the desired tartar sauce for the baked fish came in plastic packets.  Sigh…. But the plates & flatware were real so no trash there.  Partial win?

I also was disappointed to see that the *compostable disposable flatware I bought was shipped in plastic bags.  Ugh.  I love the concept & the price is right, but I’ll be sure to contact them & request more environmentally-friendly packaging options in the future.

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

And we were able to save good money by buying my coconut oil in a dual-pack, but it was only available online.  So we ordered & had it shipped to our local Wal-Mart.  Both containers of coconut oil were plopped into a zippered bag and placed in a shipping box surrounded by mountains of those little plastic air pillows.  (GRRRRR…)  I feel it’s important for me to vote my values with the dollars I spend.  So it’s worth a few more cents for me to just pick up at the store from now on.

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

Yeah, these failures stung just a bit, but like I said I’m not obsessing about it.  I’m making mental notes of how to make it better next time and moving on.  On a more positive note, there are LOTS of successes so far!

Store Leftovers In Repurposed Glass Jars

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

We have a few remaining plastic lidded storage containers.  But I’ve always hated how the containers & lids just seem to accumulate.  After a while you spend too much time trying to match this yogurt container or that plastic butter tub to the corresponding lid. I wrote an informative post on how to easily find free glass jars for your leftover food storage.  This not only helps us reduce food waste because we can actually SEE the food, but these containers are free!  Plus I much prefer storing our food in glass.

Yogurt Made From Scratch Using Reusable Glass Jelly Jars

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

I used to buy my yogurt from the store.  I hated the plastic tubs but I just couldn’t do without my favorite morning delight.  But once I found out how ridiculously easy it was to make yogurt I’ve never turned back.  Heat milk, cool milk, stir in yogurt starter, incubate 4 hours.  REALLY, it truly is that easy!  And since I make it in 1/2-pint jelly jars I still have single-serving convenience but NO PLASTIC!  If you want to start making your own homemade yogurt, be sure to check out my recipe. 15-20 minutes of hands-on time yields 1/2-gallon of homemade yogurt!

(NOTE: be sure to check my homemade Pumpkin Granola recipe too.  It’s delicious & there are no plastic bags with this healthy cereal option!)

Say “NO” To Plastic Shopping Bags

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

It’s not a new concept – reusable bags are a huge way to avoid single-use plastic bags.  But how do you remember them?  Check out how I Remember My Reusable Bags.

Replace Plastic Shopping Bags In STYLE!

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

I finally got a cute handmade wicker basket and I find I use it for oh-so-many-things.  But it’s made it super easy to replace plastic (and even reusable) shopping bags because of it’s size and the way the opening is fashioned.  If you hate to wrangle those reusable bags when shopping, check out my post about shopping with my Homemade Wicker Basket.  I get so many compliments on it!

Glass Water Bottle

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

I’ve refused plastic water bottles for years.  Now if I’m super thirsty at an unexpected trip out, I’ll stop & buy a bottle of water.  It’s healthier than the alternatives!  But I try to plan ahead.  I love my *EcoVessel glass water bottle.  I wrote about the benefits of my Glass Water Bottle (and a few drawbacks too).  Check it out.

Compostable Flatware

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

I always try to use my regular flatware when hosting parties.  But sometimes you need a disposable option if the party is outside or not in your home.  I recently wrote about a super cheap yet environmentally-friendly way to replace the dreaded disposable plastic utensils. We bought *Waxed Birchwood Forks that you can just toss into the composter.  Awesome!  They are helpful for backyard BBQ’s and even eco-friendly options at weddings!

Compostable Toothbrush

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

We’ve tested bamboo toothbrushes to replace our plastic ones.  There are benefits & drawbacks to these compostable options.  (Read my Bamboo Toothbrush Review Here)  Now that we’re raising bees I may coat the wooden back section of the toothbrush head with beeswax to offset the learning curve we needed for the feel of wood products in your mouth. I don’t think Woodzee makes compostable toothbrushes anymore but these *Bamboo Toothbrushes from Dr. Perfect look like a good option!

No Bags Of Mulch From The Big-Box Stores

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

Source your wood-chip mulch from tree trimming companies or utility companies.  I was surprised to find our own county has a huge pile of chipped-wood mulch that is FREE to their citizens.  Just load up as much as you want!  Good for the city to get rid of this byproduct.  Good for the bulging landfills to keep this precious resource from just being thrown away.  And very good for your garden and a water-conservation step too. Be sure to check with your extension agent if you get nowhere with the utility companies.  (Read my post about our difficulties with Locating Free Wood Mulch)

There are many more ways to reduce plastic in your home.  We all have a different perspective that perhaps others have never even thought of.  Share & let’s inspire each other!

~TMH~

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea.  There are lots of good folks sharing!  And you can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus.

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2 thoughts on “Plastic Free July – Our Successes & Failures

  1. ColleenB.

    Wonderful suggestions and tips. Not a big fan of plastic either. Any and all plastic bags that we do end up getting are all taken to Target or WalMart and thrown in their recycling bin. We recycle all what we can from metal, plastics of all sorts, glass, etc. Even our printer ink cartridges; all taken to Target or to Best Buy to dispose of in their recycling bins located inside their stores. Paper /cardboard products of all kinds; dumped in recycling bins that are around town in several different locations. Noticed that you have a plastic tortilla bag. I used to have them as well until I started to make my own tortillas. I do use and have several of the cloth bags of which are all folded down and all stored inside one bag and kept in our truck so when I go to the grocery store, they are always handy and taken in the store with me. If at anytime I send a boxed package in the mail; packing material is normally shredded paper or the cardboard egg cartons along with note inside to please recycle / or reuse the paper / cardboard products. Fluorescent light tubes from shop lights – taken to Home Depot or Lowes to have them recycled.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ve tried and failed many times to make flour tortillas Colleen. I do make some pretty awesome mix-n-pour tortillas but their texture is more suited for rolling around some delicious filling & enjoying – not really feasible for using with casseroles, etc (just a little too bready for that) When I do buy tortillas I’m sure to reuse the bags for dividing up main dish cook-once eat-twice meals for the freezer before they’re finally thrown away. plastic bags are the hardest for companies to actually recycle and even though they’re sent off for recycling they often end up in the landfill instead. It sounds like you’re doing so much for the environment Colleen, love it. I especially love that you put a note inside your packages requesting the recipient recycle the packaging! We typically reuse materials from packages we receive when we must send something out. And I often rip up & toss cardboard & such into the composter to add to my ‘browns’, so precious little paper actually needs to be recycled here. I don’t bring in plastic bags at all – my small trash-can liner is typically a carefully cut & removed plastic wrapping from family-packs of bathroom tissue. I love plastic-free July, it’s a great opportunity to stretch yourself & gain ideas from others. Thanks for your tips! Stay cool today, sweet girl. It’s gonna be a hot one again! ~TMH~

      Reply

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