A Recap: Plastic Free July

 
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It's officially the end of Plastic Free July! 

This past month has definitely been a challenge for me in being intentional about reducing single-use plastic in my life. This sustainable lifestyle is definitely still a work in progress but I thought I'd share some of my challenges I encountered and how I overcame them. Living in a predominantly Asian suburb of Toronto, I found that there were a lot of food related challenges as well as some simple changes that have happened in the city, but not in more suburban areas yet. Read all about my experiences below!

Challenge 1: 

One of the biggest culprits of single use plastic are those pesky plastic produce bags. I purchased amazing Simple Ecology produce bags hoping to use them on my grocery trips. The three big grocery stores I shop at are No Frills, Loblaws, and Whole Foods. The reason I list Whole Foods is because it is the only grocery store I can use the produce bags properly. My husband and I attempted to use the produce bags at Loblaws and we were told that they weren't able to tare the bags properly. Luckily we only buy produce for the two of us, so they were able to take the fruits/veggies out and weigh them separately before placing them in the bag. This works for us at times, however, I'm hoping that grocery stores will make the change soon! I loved my experience of buying produce from Whole Foods because they could properly weigh the produce in the cloth bags I shopped with, and it sparked a conversation about sustainability! 

The way we combat this little hurdle, is to shop from produce at Whole Foods or try to avoid using the plastic bags (which means we buy a smaller amount each time).

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Challenge 2:

Plastic straws are a huge challenge to overcome when eating at Asian restaurants, specifically Hong Kong style cafes. There is usually the option of having a hot or cold drink with your meal. A cold drink means it automatically comes with a plastic straw, and sometimes in a plastic cup with a plastic lid! Early on in the month I completely forgot about the challenge and ordered a cold drink. As I mentioned earlier, it's still a work in progress for me. 

Now when I eat at Hong Kong style cafes, I try to order a hot drink or bring my own straw. By the way, I did not drink bubble tea at all this month - I'm sure you can understand why haha!

challenge 3:

Plastic cutlery was also something I worked hard to get rid of this past month. Food courts are big culprits for producing a lot of waste. This past July I made it a habit to bring my own utensils whenever I went to the local Asian food court. It hasn't sparked a conversation yet, but it sure does spark smiles! 

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challenge 4:

Take away coffee cups! This was one challenge that wasn't too difficult for me and is always an encouragement for me in this journey. It's so simple to start the habit of bringing a reusable cup and it's also great for starting conversations!  

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So what kind of changes have you made in your life? How have you been living more sustainably? Has Plastic Free July created any new habits? Let me know down below!