I’m looking at the plastic that is still ending up in our recycling bin and I have a dilemma.

We purposefully buy locally produced milk and orange juice and both come in plastic bottles. We could buy them in tetra pak cartons, but then the food miles is a huge compromise and we are not supporting our local Tasmanian economy. I was surprised to see one carton of juice on the shelf with this labelling.

We need to find a butcher in our new suburb. We have taken the convenient option and been buying prepacked meat from the supermarket. That needs to change.

Another dilemma is soft fruit and cherry tomatoes, that are packed in plastic boxes. Raspberries and blueberries are a favourite with my breakfast cereal or porridge. Small tomatoes are sweet and an easy option with my packed lunch. So far I haven’t given up these favoured healthy foods. I have frozen blueberries in the freezer but they are a “Product of Chile”. So more food miles and still in plastic packaging. I plan to grow tomatoes so that will be a seasonal solution. Perhaps I could plant some raspberry canes too.

This month I have only really tackled our food shopping. Cleaning products and toiletries are a whole different quandary.

#plasticfreejuly is just the beginning ……

Although our council collects recycling rubbish each fortnight, there are concerns where our plastics go when they are out of our vicinity, out of sight. Australia has a big problem. Two years ago, China stopped taking our recycled products. Now, Indonesia is returning several shipping containers of “contaminated waste”.

There are companies here making products from recycled plastic. The reusable produce bags I purchased, street furniture, public benches, bollards. Some councils are resurfacing roads with a plastic by-product. I have pencils and a rain jacket made from recycled plastics. But so much more needs to be done on a national level as well as local and individual scale.

Tasmanian beaches are generally rubbish free, but I have picked up some bottles and the plastic rings from bottle tops. I now purposely cut the plastic rings before I put any in our recycling bin, so they can’t strangle a bird or animal if they end up somewhere unexpected.