sustainability through science & innovation

Plastic Free July update

01 Aug 2017

As July came to a close and we crossed the finish line on our plastic free challenge, one thing was clearer than ever to all of us - we are living in a plastic world!

Our homes and offices are literally filled with the stuff. Plastic is in our appliances, furniture, kitchenware and electronic gadgets. It makes up our storage containers, kids’ toys and a multitude of other items. Stepping outside to get ourselves from A to B invariably involves plastic, from the parts in vehicles to the inner soles of our shoes. And then, of course, there is the most prolific polluter of them all - single-use plastic. We buy our food in it, eat and drink from it and dispose of our waste with it – over and over and over again. Imagine more plastic in our oceans than fish. It’s not an image from a dystopian novel, but the prediction for 2050 if we don’t manage to stem the tsunami of plastic rubbish entering our waterways.    

Plastic is so pervasive within our society that avoiding it, even on purpose, is not easily done. We discovered that doing so requires awareness, time, careful planning and a willingness to forego some of our favourite junk foods. This was especially the case when we were travelling or out and about.

What plastic reducing hacks did we pick up along the way?

  • Reusable shopping bags and keep cups (of course!).
  • Buy in bulk where possible.
  • Try to shop at local butchers, greengrocers, delis and markets etc. to cut down on plastic packaging. Some shops will let you bring your own container.
  • Keep a supply of reusable containers and cutlery at work for takeaway lunches.
  • If you are caught short without a reusable bag, use an empty cardboard box from the shop shelves instead of plastic bags.
  • Ask shop assistants not to package your purchase in plastic.
  • Compost food scraps to cut down on bin liner usage. Ask your workplace if onsite composting facilities can be made available.
  • Buy plastic-free bin liners.
  • Takeaway food and snacks are the (plastic) devil! Sometimes you just have to forego that sugar craving.

What ideas do we plan to try in the future?

  • Growing our own herbs and fresh greens.
  • Workplace bulk cooking food exchange.

Eating healthier and less ‘plastically’ - less meat and processed foods, more fresh or whole foods.


One month's worth of household plastic waste for a couple during the Plastic Free July challenge.