I haven’t blogged in a while. Truthfully, I’ve had a bit of a plastic-free wobble. It’s not the first and I’m sure it’s not going to be the last, but it was the biggest one yet.
Attempting to live without single-use plastic just felt incredibly difficult over the Summer and I found myself questioning whether it was all too much to stick to it.
Work was busy, my boys were home and wanting to enjoy the holidays, we were preparing my eldest for secondary school and I was struggling to juggle it all, let alone the added time needed to nip out to farm shops and elsewhere to find plastic-free goods. We were out of any regular rhythm and that made life tricky.
No matter how you go about it, feeding the kids without buying any single-use plastic does take more time. It means choosing different shops, a whole lot of baking and cooking, planning ahead and growing our own. What’s more, keeping up with daily plastic-free packed lunches for three endlessly-hungry boys to take to camp can be exhausting.
The upshot of that was that I was noticeably less successful in our quest to be plastic-free this Summer than I wanted to be. And I hated that!
While my enthusiasm was undimmed, I found myself questioning what right I have to blog about plastic-free living when I’m still buying tubes of Colgate? When I’m still struggling to find a longer-term workable solution for shampoo (yes, I know there are some lovely shampoo bars out there, but it turns out that they don’t agree with my skin over the long-term) and there were other plastic-free fails too.
Although it’s true that sometimes it is harder to fit everything in, this just goes to show the plastic-free journey is just that – a journey – and we are far from the finish line.
And yet, having heard myself telling friends how brilliant it is that they have made just a small change to cut down plastic on the back of conversations we’ve had, and that they should be proud of every step they take, I’ve been reminded of how far we’ve come.
From a family who bought the large majority of our food on a weekly basis from the supermarket, almost all of which was plastic-wrapped, we’ve gone to one whose supermarket shopping is minimal and – usually – plastic free. It consists mainly of wine and beer, with some flour, glass bottled ketchup, pasta boxes and chocolate for good measure. Almost all of our fresh produce is brought locally, plastic-free, made or grown, while other household goods (cleaning products etc) we manage to mixed success.
I wish we could be doing this better, but I’ve come to accept that aiming for 100% success in a busy family of five hasn’t been realistic, and that our current level of success (probably closer to 80-90%) really is okay for now.
I’m finding new solutions all the time – although this doesn’t yet include a non-plastic packaged toothpaste that my children will willingly use – some of those are easier and cheaper than you might expect. So I’m back on it with renewed vigour, I’m looking forward to sharing our tips in the hope that it might help others on their journey too.
Let me know if you’ve got any questions or plastic-free dilemmas along the way.