Plastic-Free July in Croydon

Gearing up for the challenge

Posted by Kake on 25 May 2014

July is approaching rapidly, so it's time to think carefully about how I'll survive it without using single-use plastic.

Building up a list of options

I've actually been planning to do the Plastic-Free July challenge for nearly a year now, since reading Kate Griffin's excellent series of articles on the Sustainable Witney blog. Her writing not only prompted me to try the challenge myself; it also inspired me to blog about it in a Croydon-specific way while doing it. If I can build up a list of plastic-free options in Croydon, that'll be useful well beyond the month of the challenge itself.

Finding support both locally and on the internet

Doing this all on my own would be quite daunting, but luckily there's plenty of support and interest out there to help me along. Andrew Dickinson of Green Croydon has been very helpful and encouraging — check out his radio show on Croydon Radio tomorrow evening at 6pm for a section on Plastic-Free July. I'll be in the Shoutbox if you have any questions.

Further afield, there are other bloggers taking the challenge, such as Westy Writes and Eco Thrifty Living.

Unpackaged fruit and vegetables on display on London Road, November 2012.

Talking to retailers

Croydon has an amazing variety of small independent shops, so I'm hopeful that some of their proprietors will be interested in helping me along with the challenge.

Focusing attention on this issue could also lead to other Croydon producers and retailers rethinking their packaging choices and creating even more plastic-free options. As Kate says in her wrap-up post from last year, we live in “a system that makes it almost impossible to live a normal life without buying and discarding at least some single-use plastic”. She points out that “We need companies to start actually making plastic-free options for us to buy. Which means it’s time for supermarkets and other retailers to do their bit – because they have a hell of a lot more buying power than we do.”

So during Plastic-Free July I'm going to be talking to Croydon retailers about why I'm saying “no” to that carrier bag, why I'm bringing my own refillable container rather than taking yet another disposable one, and why I'm choosing to buy loose products rather than prepackaged. I did this for the first time yesterday, while buying bread at the Coughlans counter in North End Mall, and got a positive response from the staff member there — so I'm currently feeling very enthusiastic about the challenge!

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