How one family gave up plastic for a week – inews how long to cook turkey bacon in oven

Britons work their way through an astonishing 13bn plastic bottles and 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year – many of which end up in the sea.

But while the scale of our plastic habit is truly alarming people are waking up to the damage it is wreaking on nature and many are asking what they can do to help.

The junipers, from hampton on the outskirts of london, are one such family. Chris and anna juniper and their three sons have just given up plastic for a week to see what it’s like and how they can cut down in the future.

And to their amazement they pretty much managed it – with just two exceptions – finding it tough but not nearly so tough as they had expected. The juniper family had to miss out on their favourite cereals to avoid single-use plastic

“we couldn’t have sliced bread bread because that’s wrapped in plastic, so we had to slice our own – and they were like doorsteps,” said anna.


Less food waste

And they discovered new local shops, cafes and a great burrito place – having more conversations with staff than is possible at busy supermarkets in the process.Plastic free

On the downside, they missed out on some food they enjoyed – the whole family missed yoghurt and cereals, the boys in particular, as they switched to cardboard-packaged porridge.

They also ended up spending a good deal more time and money shopping – which over the course of the week added £50 and an hour and a quarter shopping time to the family’s food bill, as they could rely less on cheap supermarkets.

“the convenience factor of buying things completely gets thrown out of the window. If you’re not concerned about plastic you can just go to a supermarket and pretty much get everything you need there,” said chris, an IT analyst.

“but if you are worried about plastic there’s hardly anything you can buy so you’re stuffed,” added chris, who had to go to three shops to get things he needed for the family’s saturday fry up. Will change her plastic behaviour

Anna said that going plastic-free for a week was an interesting experience that will make her use plastic more sparingly in the future.Plastic free but there’s no chance of her continuing to go without altogether unless the system changes.

“the boys really missed yoghurts and cereals. For a week I could cope without having those things but I couldn’t cope forever and I certainly couldn’t cope with the children not being allowed to have those things,” she said.

“from the outset we knew it was going to be tough. After our photography session for the i this morning I went to waitrose to get some food for the weekend.

“as plastic was on the mind it was immediately evident that the moment you walk into a supermarket, you are confronted by a sea of plastic for drinks, sandwiches and everything else.

“the children agreed that we would go without the normal cereal that they love – shreddies, rice krispies – because of the plastic contained within the boxes.

“I was looking for things for a cooked breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, mushrooms and baked beans. The juniper’s three-shop breakfast.Plastic free

“I found loose mushrooms but had to ask for the paper bags for them which were subsequently provided. A good start! Sausages. I found some at the meat counter.

“beans were in a can, so that was fine and I found porridge in a paper bag. All good. However bread, bacon were all in packaging that were off limits.

“we took a couple of the metal water canisters so that we could have some water so we didn’t go thirsty and we had brunch so we didn’t need to buy any food at the ground which may of contained plastic!” mum anna on making the evening meal:

“in the evening we had friends coming over with their kids so we did an easy meal of spaghetti bolognaise. Chris had bought the mince at the butchers so was wrapped in a grease proof paper.

“we bought a loose lettuce and made a salad (usually I probably would have gone for the pre-made salad in a bag just for ease). The loose salad was cheaper and probably tastier – it also only took a couple of minutes to make so no problems there.Pretty much

“instead we bought a nice baguette, a loose garlic and made our own – way nicer and so easy – I will definitely be doing this again. The only part I struggled with was the spaghetti there was no where close I could find that sold pasta not in plastic!”

We ended up having to buy a candle in a metal container which was about the only think in the whole place that didn’t contain plastic! We did however find milk in this shop in glass bottles so we bought about 8 pints to keep us going for the week.

We couldn’t control what food we ate on that day but discussed what we were doing and if we could avoid anything that looked like it was plastic based we would.

I was at home today so popped to the shop to get cheese as we had run out. Rather than go to the small supermarket I had to drive to a larger one which I knew would have a cheese counter where I could buy cheese not wrapped in plastic!

We hadn’t done a big shop so I thought ‘lets be resourceful and make something out of what we had’ – so we made a sausage casserole as had a few sausages left from the weekend.Plastic free

I needed to get a few more and the butcher was shut so at the supermarket I went to the counter and asked them to put in a paper bag – the guy behind the counter wasn’t very happy but I pretty much said if you can’t I can’t buy them as I am trying to go plastic free.

Went to work in the afternoon and picked up some lunch from the local shop, wrap it up in st james’s. Mexican burrito all wrapped in foil and with a paper bag and can of coke, going well.

Decanted porridge in to reusable container and took it to work. Had to use milk which I have just realised was in a plastic container – that’s all we had at work!

After school snacks are often in plastic so the boys had fruit yesterday and today I treated them to a cake in the bakery as needed to get another loaf of bread.

I had to go to a meeting early evening and by the time I got back was too late to think about what was plastic and what wasn’t so we had takeaway pizza on this day, coming in a cardboard box!Plastic free

Risotto for dinner thought it was just a cardboard box but it was vacuum-packed with plastic. Disappointed but it’s becoming fully apparent that to preserve food for longer and transportation purposes, these products require plastic. Or do they? Is there something else that can do the same job?

Louis came back from school today. ‘I am sorry I failed they only had plastic knives and forks at school today,’ he said. I explained if they were reused that was probably ok but that would be better if they used all metal ones.

Milk – I was going to get a milk man but left it too late to be on list. When I looked at an alternative provider they delivered plastic bottles – aaaagghh!! Thankfully when we visited chris’ parents we found some glass bottles of milk in a farm shop so stocked up!

Dinner – we may have normally have had some fresh pasta but all were in plastic. I noticed that the lasagne sheets in the supermarket were just wrapped in cardboard so that made up my mind for dinner.Plastic free sauces and tin tomatoes were free from plastic and I just needed to make a trip to the butchers for mince.

We had also ran out of our usual dishwasher tablet which until then I hadn’t thought were wrapped in a plastic film so I checked and I bought ecover ones which they did have in waitrose.

I looked at the options on offer for toothpaste but the only thing I could find was make your own from baking soda and salt tooth powder – I am afraid this I couldn’t do not with three children, a husband and a puppy! Also the only toothbrush without plastic was pig hair – yuk!

Deoderant was the other one I would have really struggled with if I would have had to buy a new on during this week. And we went without fabric cleaner this week!

My conclusion would definitely be that supermarkets don’t make it easy to buy quickly and efficiently whilst at the same time going plastic free.

I did enjoy buying from independent traders more and realised that it is probably slightly more expensive but you are probably getting better quality and able to have a choice into wrapping and wastage.Plastic free

The juniper family went plastic free as part of the sky ocean rescue’s #passonplastic campaign which calls on people to make a personal pledge to reduce their single-use plastic usage. Cara delevigne, ronnie wood, ben fogle and georgina may jagger are among the celebrities that have signed up so far – while 115 mps have also pledged their support.

Fiona ball, head of sky ocean rescue, said: “the juniper’s have shown that it can be done – but not without its challenges. That’s why sky ocean rescue is encouraging people to make simple everyday changes that together will have a big impact.”