This is a guest post by NQCC's current secretary, Priscilla Peto. Priscilla took up the challenge of "Plastic Free July" three years ago and shares with us her experiences and lessons since her last blog post two years ago. The views expressed in this post are the author's and not necessarily those of NQCC.
It's been a good three years of trying to reduce plastic in my life, and two years since I wrote about it with NQCC to mark Plastic Free July - an initiative founded in Perth by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz.
To my delight, I've found the practice has become quite widespread with my friends, family, and colleagues. Especially since the plastic bag ban was implemented in July 2017. It's been great to see individual efforts increase, but we must not forget our job in pressuring our Local, State and Federal Governments to legislate real change.
I'll recap some of the initiatives I introduced in my life. I still buy all my tissues, toilet paper and paper towels from "Who Gives a Crap", which you can buy from Sprout and Family Life Organics, two Townsville local businesses, and avoid the shipping costs. These days there are other brands out there and much more choice at your local IGA, Woolies and Coles which is great to see.
Toothpaste - this one is tricky for me, and I know not everyone loves fluoride, but I can't easily source plastic free toothpowder with flouride, so I'm currently still using paste in plastic. There are a heap of options on floraandfauna.com.au for those who don't want fluoride and probably at the stores mentioned above too.
A few months ago I started experimenting with soap nuts for laundry detergent. I am half a fan of these and use them in conjunction with vinegar and at 40 degrees. They make my clothes smell nice, or just not smell at all. However, it does not remove light dirt stains, even if they would usually be easy to remove by normal laundry powder. So what I might do is buy some laundry powder, and only use it occasionally along side soap nuts.
Other things I continue to do is line my bin with paper. I use the paper wrapped around the toilet paper or even chocolate family blocks! I've heard some people say it's a waste of paper to do that, but if you're really keen, why not tip your rubbish in the kerbside bin and keep the dirty paper for your compost?
What I stopped doing was using bar shampoo, I honestly can't find one that works for my hair the way I'd like it to. Fortunately The Source Bulk Foods does sell shampoo and conditioner that you can put into your own container. I haven't actually tried this yet, but I will when I run out of the bottles old housemates have left me!
I really don't eat a lot of meat these days, at least not at home, but if you do. I know Angliss Meats will allow you to use your own containers if you ask them. Make sure they don't use a glove or plastic bag to grab them. They can simply wash their hands before and after, which the do frequently already!
Remember that if you do purchase products packaged in single use plastics, to save them and recycle them at Woolworths and Coles. Sometimes you might have to ask where the bin is, because they put it out of sight, but it's usually at the front end near the checkouts.
It's great to see businesses slowly but surely catching on, lucky for us, it's in fashion to be sustainable!
You can read Priscilla's original blog post from two years ago here.