Plastic-free July – saving the planet, one brownie at a time

So, it’s that time of year when the team at FRM give a little insight into resource management at a personal level. We do like to practice good resource efficiency at home, or at least try to…

I was spurred into motion a month or so ago by my youngest daughter’s class doing Plastic Free July posters to put up for a trail around the town’s shops. Having made several changes emerging from last year’s Plastic Free July pledges - like others in our team, continuing to use refillable toiletries and household goods, cutting down on clingfilm use, etc – I was quite excited for a new challenge. I boldly I declared that I would do more baking to replace the single-wrapped sweet goodies that go into three lunchboxes on a daily basis. I love baking, this was going to be a doddle!


Artwork by Josephine Whiteman, Much Wenlock Primary School

So, fast-forward several weeks later, I mentioned it again over a family dinner with the response: “well, mum, you’ve not done much”. Hmmm how very true. How very disappointing. How very surprising! Life has been busy this last month, with work, social life, never-ending household renovations and vague attempts at parenting competing for top billing. Yes, we have done plenty of baking as usual, but the home-baked delights don’t ever seem to get as far as the lunchboxes, so the reliance on shop-bought stuff has continued.

I like to think I’m fairly organised, but struggling for time and balance is a common theme in busy households. It begs the question of how do busy people move away from convenience, even if the nemesis of single-use packaging makes your blood boil? After all, the emergence of plastic products in the 60s and 70s coincided with a trend towards the busier lives of today, not that this is a justification for our resource-led lives. Married women were “freed” from the confines of housekeeping, if they wish, making it difficult to shop daily for fresh goods; fast retail and the “need” for the latest new thing; and a move away from the ability (and desire) to make do and mend, has resulted in the need for convenience for many of our day-to-day products. Clearly the circular economy drive, extended producer responsibility legislation and the growing sustainability of major brands, coupled with the saddening state of the cost of living, will play a part in redressing our throwaway culture, but on a practical and personal level, how can the busy person adapt?

Sadly, I don’t have the answer, other than planning ahead and batch-cooking. Even as a waste and resource management professional, I couldn’t even keep a pledge that involves doing something I really enjoy, simply because of the pressures of a busy modern life. I do have a number of friends who somehow manage to live like an earth mother while holding down demanding jobs, raising decent (and clean) children and having fantastic social lives. Perhaps they don’t sleep? Anyway, this is important to me, so I will continue to make small contributions to our circular economy – I will bake for enjoyment, continue to cook from scratch and get down the refill shop as much as my purse will allow. I am not quite sure that every homemade brownie saves a turtle, but it is a tiny step in the right direction.

Frith Resource Management provides bespoke technical advice on waste and resource management. Contact us for more information by email or call 01746 552423.