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Plastic-free July in Oxford

Thanks to campaigns by the likes of David Attenborough and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and the harnessed power of social media, there is a growing awareness about the enviornmental disaster that is plastic pollution. We believe that a change in attitude from large companies and politicians is needed, and you can help make these changes come about by adding your voice to campaigns by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, but you can also make a difference by avoiding buying plastic. Read on for our guest blogger Emma Burnett's advice on how to do just that.

If you’re game for challenges then here’s one for you: it’s Plastic Free July! (there’s a hashtag and everything, so you know it’s legit).

You can get general information about how to go plastic-free from the website, and Google, and your grandma. But if you live in Oxford, you might wonder where exactly to get the things you need to eat, clean, and be happy. Here are a few practical ways you can reduce your plastic use this month (and maybe forevermore!).

Use a refill station for your household goods. These include cleaning products and dry goods. There are a few that might be convenient to you, depending where you live. Here are some options:
SESI – These guys are all over Oxford anywhere that there’s a market, but the best time to use them is at the East Oxford Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, 10am-1pm (3 Collins Street, OX4 1XS). It’s where you’ll find the widest range of products, including every cleaning thing ever, and lots of great dry goods. Here’s the list of all the things they stock (and you can always check with them on Facebook to see if they have it in stock before you head down).
Scoop Zero Waste – Scoop do pop-up shops all over the place, not just central Oxford. Follow them on Facebook to find out when and where they’ll be, and check the website for ideas on reducing waste in other ways.
Waitrose – the Botley Road branch is running an Unpacked trial until the 18th August. The more people use it, and give feedback, the more likely it is to continue. Bring your own containers, weigh them, fill them, pay for what you put in. Also, the fruit is in cardboard if it has to be in anything, and the staff are sweet and helpful. If you’re a big chain user rather than a small indy user, this is the way to go.

Remember to bring your empty boxes and bottles for filling up! This includes spray bottles and soap dispensers. (PS: if you need loo roll, try these guys. Not Oxford-based, but cool peeps).

You might also consider joining a box scheme to reduce the amount of plastic on fruit and veg, and to support the local economy. Cultivate is one option – you can pick and choose what you want and have it delivered anywhere in Oxford, which means you don’t have to get it every week if you don’t want, and you only get what you want to eat!

If your household goes through a lot of milk, you might consider switching to North Aston Dairy (limited delivery range, but super people), or Milk&More for glass bottles that you can put out for collection. They get used, and used, and used again. They deliver to most areas, and are pretty good about punctuality (early morning deliveries). If you’re worried about theft, you can ask the milkman to leave bottles in a safe place (if you have one).

If you are taking up the plastic challenge, remember to:
• refuse things that are wrapped in plastic;
• remind people you don’t need things (like a little baggie for a pastry, especially if you’re going to eat it immediately);
• engage others in conversation about it! Share your tips, tricks, and hacks.

See our Ethical Oxford guide for more Oxford-specific advice on shrinking your carbon footprint

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