January challenge- ditch the plastic bag

Instead of a New Years resolution, each month I’m setting myself a challenge to become more environmentally conscious. January was reduce the plastic bag. The convenient carrier that now is charged at 5p a go- so we’re saving money too by doing this- but totally unnecessary. My aim was to not pay for a plastic bag this month and to refuse all free ones, even if that means I end up juggling a load of shopping, a toddler and a baby.

Well, I did it. I did have some interesting dashes from supermarkets and had to bribe the toddler to carry more than she was probably properly able to but we all survived and it ingrained into me more to take a bag with me. I often have them in the car but remembering to take them in is the struggle.

I also tried to bulk buy more and meal plan to reduce purchase packaging. With a baby and a toddler this isn’t always possible just yet for me but I’m working on it. Shoving a bag of crisps or a pre packaged cereal bar in my bag as I attempt to dash out the door to gymnastics or an appointment because predictably it’s taken 5 hours to prep to get out the door is easier than finding a snack bag, portioning off something into it, finding it squashed at the bottom (probably because I’ve packed my change bag full of tins of beans as I’ve forgotten my carrier bag) but we had fun baking when we could, and I was more mindful of it. Pasta comes in 5kg bags, the dog food if I buy smaller bags as them the packaging is compostable and I asked my online shopping to be bag free (still working on that one. Not sure how it’s so difficult).

Sadly often cost is often prohibitive. A plastic net of six or so oranges was £1, yet to buy three oranges loose was £1.50. I’d happily get milk delivered but it would cost me over double (and likely get nicked from the doorstep) to do so. Luckily meat is cheaper the more you get so we’ve been bulk buying and freezing, just defrosting what we need. Most of my shopping comes on a big truck delivered to home as we don’t have local independents close by and I need a shop with a good range of allergy friendly products.

Still a work in progress, especially persuading husband to jump on board but I’m hoping by instilling changes slowly and over a while and it will just become habit. He’s already a little better at remembering a bag. Honestly, I wish they’d put the price up again for them. I think hitting the pockets of those who are less inclined rather than those trying to do better- make reusable bags much cheaper or more readily available, use paper bags were possible.

I just remember the phrase ‘we don’t own the planet, we’re borrowing it from our children, our nieces, our nephews, our grandchildren, their children’.

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