Plastic-free July – what I did (and didn’t do)

Reading various blog and twitter posts on ‘plastic-free July’ spurred me on to complete several things I’ve been meaning or trying to do for a while. Small changes, but like everything else, if we all make small changes the cumulative effect is great.  So in July (and August) I:

  • knitted my dishcloths while away on holiday.  Such a brilliantly portable project.  They have now replaced the microfibre cloths we’ve used for years

  • began buying milk in glass bottles instead of plastic.  I drink a lot of milk (too much, but I’m finding it hard to cut it down. Still trying….).  The saving here is easy to compute: 2 large (4 pint) bottles each week, so 104 of these each year.  Scary.
  • found and fitted a refill converter for my fountain pen, instead of using plastic cartridges.  Oddly, having searched fruitlessly for one that would fit my pen, I literally found the right one in the waste bin in our house.  You would think that Malcolm and I never speak to each other (not true!): at the same time I was looking, he found one he’d had for years and never used, and put it in the bin.  As I already have 3 (glass) bottles of ink, this will last me a long time.  I don’t use ‘disposable’ pens (other than to use up those already in the house), and I carry a refillable pen with me at all times.
  • What I didn’t do was – get rid of plastic from my life for the sake of it.  I am puzzled by people who use ‘plastic free’ as an opportunity to buy more stuff, when they already have plastic things that do the job perfectly well.  They already exist, the damage is done: let’s use them till they can be no longer be used.
  • What I didn’t do was – buy any more acrylic yarn for crochet.  Much as I have loved using this (somewhat to my surprise), continuing to buy it isn’t consistent with my commitment to taking steps to counter the climate emergency.   I will use what I already have, along with any additional oddments I am given.  I have switched for now to using only natural fibres (though I will continue to use sock yarn with some percentage of acrylic in it – this makes the wool content much more hard-wearing, important for socks).


About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
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8 Responses to Plastic-free July – what I did (and didn’t do)

  1. Marian says:

    Hi Deborah!
    Your dish cloths are beautiful, and I’m with you on the natural fibres. I, too, will continue to use a nylon blend for socks, though. I learned the hard way that 100% wool for socks isn’t very durable. I’ve been thinking about getting a fountain pen too. The number of disposable pens I’ve gone through since I began journaling last fall has been ridiculous.

    I agree with you—our small changes add up, and it’s been great to see what you’ve been doing to reduce your use of plastic 🙂 . My big one this year was to eliminate boxed spinach. It’s more work to wash and chop our greens, but I love having less to put out for “recycling.” (Recycling in quotation marks because we all know it’s unlikely it’s actually happening.)


    • Yes, that whole ‘recycling’ thing is such a con it turns out.
      I’d definitely recommend investing in a fountain pen if you can. Mine is a thing of beauty (to me at least). I bought it with some money my mum gave me when I got my Masters degree (as a mature adult). I love using it, and I’ve noticed that for several decades when I used it in work meetings I was regarded as a bit of a throwback, now I’m right on trend! (ahead of the game….)


  2. Love your dishcloths! My mom makes them for me 🙂 I so agree – whatever plastic I already own, I will continue using until the bitter end! I have a plastic ice cream container that I use to take food scraps outside to the compost bin. It has lasted about 3 years. I would love to get rid of it and buy something nice but I will wait until it fails (splits)! And even then, I probably have something else I could use. I also agree about the sock yarn. I buy synthetic workout clothes because natural fabrics just don’t wick the same way. I try not to overbuy. I don’t care who at the gym notices that I don’t have a huge wardrobe of workout gear! (I go 3 days a week so I have 3 outfits).


    • All good stuff! I guess the more of us that are doing these things (and others pick up the habits from us), the better. Though some days I despair. Maybe today more than most, what with Parliament being suspended and all.


  3. Anne Wheaton says:

    I totally agree with your not getting rid of plastic for the sake of it. I don’t understand why people do that and what do they do with their useful plastic things?
    How do you get on with your fountain pen filler? I always got on fine with the sort of rubber balloon that you pressed in and out but my newer pens have a sort of twiddly screw mechanism (like an auger) which I find particularly inefficient. Perhaps I use it wrongly.


    • Yes mine’s the screw down kind as well. It wouldn’t be mu first choice, but I’m finding it works ok providing I keep the whole nib section well under the ink, and screw slowly and firmly. If that makes sense. Also, the amount of ink sucked in isn’t as much as in a cartridge – I try to avoid running out in meetings by getting in the habit of refilling before I go out, as part of the ‘packing my bag’ routine.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a useful reminder to use what we already have. I knit some washcloths for facial use but, can you believe it, it didn’t dawn on me to knit some for using in the kitchen. Duh!


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