Wins And Fails From Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is done and dusted for another year. So how did the team at 1 Million Women go? We'll let you be the judge. Here are our wins and fails from Plastic Free July.

Eva, Content Creator (me, hey! 👋)

Wins: Making my own deodorant and realising that it ACTUALLY works was my number one win! Also realising you can buy oats, bicarb, sugar, flour and rice plastic free from the supermarket was a bonus.

Fails: I'm ashamed to say I caved after a big night out and got a pide in a styrofoam box. Apart from that there were a few accidental plastic uses such as clothing tags and plastic lids on glass bottles.

What I Learned: Going plastic free is HARD. Plastic is just so pervasive in our lives it's so hard to escape and it requires energy and effort to avoid it. But on the other hand, Going plastic free forced me to find alternatives that are actually quite easy, I just never thought to look (like peas in a can instead of frozen in a plastic bag - who knew?!??!). I'm looking forward to taking my plastic free habits and my DIY deodorant well into the future!

Grace, Social Media Coordinator

Wins: My biggest win was probably how easy I found it overall. I didn't actually end up going to a bulk store, managing to buy all my groceries plastic free. I think I sort of cheated though, because I buy a lot of meals out (so I get to feed whatever cravings I'm missing out on that I didn't get through in my grocery shop).

Fails: There were a lot. On the second night I ordered a drink out, and the bartender was about to put the straw in when I was like "oh wait no straw!" but the bartender just threw it on the ground instead of putting it back with the others. It hadn't actually touched the drink yet. That sucked. I started getting around that by just avoiding drinks that I knew came without straws, but sometimes I'd end up with a straw when I just wasn't expecting it to come with one.

Also, plastic free drink mixers do not exist. Even the (very expensive) juices that don't go with what you're drinking have plastic in the lids.

What I Learned: I learnt that rubbing a lemon on your underarms is a viable alternative to deodorant -which is what I was most worried about going into this. And how to make spray on deo, so that it's not a bicarb paste with coconut oil like the usual recipes. I also learnt that going plastic free is a lot more palatable for some of my friends and family than doing other things for the environment like going vegetarian or going to marches and protests.

Tessa, Content Creator

Wins: I used shampoo and conditioner bars for the first time ever and was instantly converted. Using bars instead of bottles has vastly reduced the clutter in my bathroom and makes my hair feel really nice. Also, I was not handed one plastic straw the entire month. I was almost certain that plastic straws would be my downfall, but I was vigilant in asking for straw-free drinks at bars (prior to the drink being made).

Fails: Unfortunately I did fail on the 1st July. I was on my way to a 'Christmas in July' party and I was at the shops hastily searching for a last minute Kris Kringle gift. After finding an unpackaged plastic-free gift, I gave myself a good ol' pat on the back and rushed to the check out. After purchasing the gift, I noticed that I had ignored the plastic zip tie connecting the price-tag to the gift. This was the first of a few slip ups throughout the month, including the acquisition of a plastic disposable cup, a plastic bag and a bubble wrapped parcel.

What I Learned: Preparation is crucial. You can't just go about your day as per usual and be able to avoid plastic. Plastic is literally everywhere. So although I 'failed' on the first day, I don't really see it as a failure anymore because I have learnt from the experience. I have learnt that in order to continue this plastic-free habit (which I do intend to do) I need to think ahead and plan everything I do around avoiding plastic.

Bronte, Digital Specialist

Wins: My biggest win was making my own skincare products all month from things I had already had at home. It's amazing the DIY products you can make with the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard, or by using up bits of food that might of been thrown away (coffee grounds, orange peels etc.) I also feel proud that my partner started to avoid single use plastic bags where before he didn't try very hard.

Fails: My biggest fail was buying organic beetroots that were on special BUT wrapped in unnecessary plastic :( I was buying them to cook for my 12 month old daughter to try and so I was concerned with them being organic. To be honest, this was a pretty big fail on my part. I could have simply cooked something else that day as it's not like my daughter was begging me to eat beetroot. I think I just saw the special and then justified it in my mind because the produce was organic. I know we will all slip up occasionally but I'm normally pretty good in the supermarket at avoiding plastic so I was self aware that I was turning a blind eye.

What I Learned: I learnt that if you make a mistake be honest to yourself about it and try to think how you could do things better next time or plan ahead to stop yourself from failing. Planning seems to be key when trying to avoid plastic altogether.

Read this next: Are Plastic Free Organics Possible? This Supermarket Proves That They Are.

We're in a climate emergency and it's going to take all of us to get out of it. That's why 1 Million Women is building a global community of women committed to fighting climate change with our daily actions. To join the (free) movement just click the button below!

Eva Davis-Boermans Former Events & Partnerships Coordinator Suggest an article Send us an email

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