So, now a year in, I’m providing you with another update on my family’s journey ongoing plastic-free. I decided to write this post as SWOT (Strenght, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.
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Strengths on going plastic-free
Here is what is working well in our household:
We do a really great job of bringing our reusable grocery bags when doing our weekly shop. And if by chance, I didn’t bring enough with me, I ask for a paper bag instead of a plastic one. Farm Boy does carry them but you might have to ask.
A point to note that when COVID first hit, stores were not allowing us to bring in reusable bags, so we were set back for a while, but we are now allowed again.
We are also getting in the habit of bringing reusable produce bags. Not all grocery stores are on board. Currently, I buy all my produce at our new Farm Boy location here in St. Catharines and they do allow it.
I’m happy to report that it’s been about two years since we’ve bought plastic wrap and at least 1 year since I’ve bought any plastic baggies. I made the switch to beeswax wrap and silicone baggies and we haven’t looked back!
I found that store-bought beeswax wraps are quite expensive, so I started making my own, and selling extra to recoup the cost of the supplies. Check out my Beeswax Wrap Recipe and make your own. Tip: Save that post to Pinterest and come back to it later.
Also, when shopping the aisles through the grocery store, I make a point to look at the packaging and choosing options that are not packaged in plastic. I chose glass, metal or cardboard over plastic.
And for our final strength, I can boast that we’ve been good at making our own snacks for packed lunches in lieu of pre-packaged bars. My boys love a muffin in their lunch, even if it’s healthy blueberry bran or carrot muffins. They also enjoy whole food snacks, like apples and oranges.
Looking for a zero-waste snack? I’ve got you covered in this blog post zero-waste snack ideas for school or lunch.
Weaknesses of plastic reduction #Fail
Although I’ve been doing well with the no plastic bags, using produce bags and removing plastic cling wrap and bagies out of my life, there are still areas we need to work harder to reduce our use of plastic.
Bread and cheese constitute a large part of my family’s diet and both come wrapped in plastic. I’ve failed to source out alternative sources during this pandemic because truthfully, sticking to one grocery store is just easier at the moment to reduce exposure.
Also, another weakness in our grocery shopping is a large amount of yogurt we buy in plastic containers. Preferably, we buy from a big container and decanter to smaller containers for lunches, however, my two-year-old loves the individual cups, and we sometimes buy those for convenience’s sake.
Opportunities on going plastic-free
I’m trying to get my family on board to make some of our meals meatless. This would be a great way to reduce our eco-footprint as well as our use of plastic and styrofoam, both of which our meat comes in.
Sourcing out our meat from a local farm might also be a great opportunity for us to reduce our use of plastic.
Although I’ve sourced out a great local eco-shop where I buy our bamboo toothbrushes from, we need to make a point to buy more of our health, beauty and home supplies from them as well. Changes takes time, but we are getting there.
Threats on going plastic-free
Our biggest threat to going plastic-free this year has definitely been this pandemic. The fear of exposure has really set us back in so many ways.
My husband and I have reduced our trips out to the community as much as possible. What used to be a family event, grocery shopping is now a solo mission, where we try and keep it short and visit the least stores possible.
Before Covid-19 hit us, I was doing well with shopping at Bulk Barn and bringing my reusable containers. It was eco-friendly and economical. Unfortunately, they have discontinued this program during this pandemic.
To Sum things up…
My list of strengths is longer than the others, which is encouraging to see. I also see lots of opportunities where my family and I can improve on going plastic-free.
If you need inspiration on reducing waste, please skip over to read The L’Oven Life, where Jackie Lane, a fellow Canadian living in our wonderful Captial shows off her family’s 2020 Waste Audit. You will be in awe, it’s simply amazing!
And, on a final note: We don’t need a few people doing going plastic-free perfectly, we need everyone to go plastic-free imperfectly to make a difference.