One week into the pledge I made with my children to not buy anything in disposable plastic - it has really opened my eyes to how much waste we produce as a family of 5 (one being a very furry labradoodle).
Firstly confession time, I did still use disposable dog poo bags, they are biodegradable - but I still felt like I was cheating. I also still put the rubbish out in bin bags (again biodegradable) as I wasn't sure my lovely rubbish collectors would forgive me if I tipped all our waste on to the pavement.
My top tips in saving on plastic are not buying fruit and veg in bags pre-packed. Apples, pears, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, leeks, bananas etc - none of it in plastic.
Make your own Mylk, almond milk is so easy to make and I even found lose almonds in a greengrocers. You can order cows milk from a milkman (make sure they use glass bottles) and you are supporting a local family business too, which is always a bonus.
Bread, make your own (god I missed my husband this week as he makes sourdough for the children), the amount of ingredients in shop bought bread is frankly quite scary - don't even get me started on the gluten free alternatives (found a substance used in road tarmac in one loaf of bread!). Flour, water, yeast and a pinch of salt - making your own really helps you to control what you are eating.
I also realised I only buy what I need - 2 leeks instead of 3, so the third wasn't left languishing at the bottom of my vegetable box. I know I could order an organic fruit and vegetable box from one of the many farm companies around -but I wanted to check out what all of the big supermarkets had to offer too.
Even though I think buying meat this way is definitely more expensive, it helps me follow my ethos of a little meat, but the best quality you can buy. Which is just as well as 2 chicken thighs from the lovely organic butcher costs me more than the plastic packed packet of 8 thighs from the supermarket next door.
My daughter normally takes rice cakes or oat bars to school with some fruit for a snack so we baked flapjacks for home and oat and honey cookies to go to school in little Tupperware boxes.
The only problem was they were left in the cake tin, not in handy packets of two, so they only lasted 24 hours, so more baking to be done.
I had the girls over for drinks, I would normally buy olives and peppers from the deli counter (all come in plastic pots) I had to persuade the lady to weigh them in my own glass jar and pop a label on the top so I could scan them. She thought I was mad, but was happy to oblige.
Take your own net bags with you for when you buy lose fruit and vegetables, as the market stall holders only had blue plastic bags. Rwanda, banned the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and packaging materials in 2008. It does beg the question why the UK does not follow suit?
All cleaning products come in plastic boxes or bottles; cereal (apart from some oats) comes in a cardboard boxes have a plastic bag inside the box. It is really quite frightening when you look into it. So we are eating eggs or porridge for breakfast with homemade smoothies and bread. Only buying fruit and vegetables that are not pre-packed in plastic (no cucumbers then!) and we have just ordered some shampoo bars to cut down on our bathroom plastics too.
There are some great shops popping up, The source in Battersea and Chiswick is great. The idea is that you take your own boxes and bottles and fill them up http://thesourcebulkfoods.co.uk