10 July 2018

Plastic Free July - Week 1

Plastic Free July - Week 1

From Summer Holidays to Daily Grocery Shopping

One week into Plastic Free July, and as you imagine, it's hasn't been so easy. I guess that's what a challenge is all about!

The VOICE team have fully embraced Plastic Free July, living life as usual but trying to avoid single use plastics and seeking out plastic alternatives where possible.

Here's how we got on during our first week!

Many of us are spending Plastic Free July on our Summer Holidays, some might say this is an additional challenge but it's been quite interesting to see how life without plastic can be in other countries. 

First off, it helps to be prepared. Make sure you have a reusable on you, whether it's your coffee cup or your water bottle. Both can be used for any beverage while travelling. There really is no need to buy single use plastic bottles in airports nowadays when you can get a refill at drinking fountains or at the numerous cafe's and restaurants. 

One in three plastic bottles go unrecycled in Ireland because of the lack of recycling bins in public places and on-street, that's nearly 1 million bottles a day!


While over in Edinburgh, Claudia came across a great coffee spot at a farmers market. Steampunk, a transportable coffee van, is truly championing reuse and efficiency. They are not only selling resuables and giving a whopping 50p discount to those who choose to reuse - they offer ceramic cups that can be used for a £1 deposit, when you bring back your cup you get your money back, it gets washed and used again. Genius! And to top it off - the coffee was delicious!


While we're on the topic of coffee, we've spotted some really great alternatives to single use. Grove Road, an independent cafe in Rathmines, has some great options available for home brewing. Here at the VOICE office we use a cafetiere which can make about four cups, we're also a fan of the aeropress for single cup. One downfall is the coffee packaging, we haven't found any plastic free as the bags are generally mixed materials so they can't even be recycled. Though, Tad did manage to get his local cafe to grind the coffee straight into his coffee jar - so where there's a will, there's a way!


Home espresso machines tend to get a bad name because of the single use non recyclable coffee pods, but thankfully there is now reusable options available. Check out this demo below on how they work - thanks to our supporter Johnny for sending it in!

It's amazing what you find when you're on the look out!

Marion has been sharing plastic free updates all the way from California where she's originally from. Many of us have heard of the famous 'Whloefoods' bulk store famed by Zero Waste lifestyle guru Bea Johnson. At Wholefoods you can buy almost any grain and fresh produce package free, you can also get nut butters pressed straight into your own jars. Marion found a plastic free bamboo and steel razor in the mens section, unfortunately there was no such option in the women's, but sure who says women can't use a man's razor!


Wholefoods haven't yet made it to 100% package free with the likes of berrries, herbs and salad still in plastic. However, Marion did manage to find plastic free berries and herbs at a local farmers market.


Back at home, many supermarkets are making improvements, but there is still much more to be done to eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging. Claudia found a great selection of plastic free at Evergreen on Wexford St in Dublin and Suzie got lucky at her local Lidl in Wicklow. As you can see we had some luck, but some things like plastic packaged salad and vacuum packed cucumbers remain in almost every green grocer and supermarket. 


So you win some and you loose some (see image below), but we are all determined to follow through and continue the search for plastic alternatives and refuse single use plastics where we can.


If you're taking on the Plastic Free July challenge, let us know how you're getting on!
Share your ups and downs with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram by tagging us and using the hashtags #PlasticFreeJuly and #SickOfPlastic

Awards and Recognition

WINNER - Green NGO of the Year 2019
ll Ireland Community and Council Awards 2019