Plastic Free July: One Week In

Lucinda attempts Plastic Free July: Reflections on Week 1

We can’t escape the noise around plastic. From David Attenborough’s rallying cries in Blue Planet II, to images of seahorses carrying pink earbuds, it’s rising on the agenda, and a recent study we completed showed that for young women, it is the second most important societal issue to them after gender equality (beating Brexit, property prices and diversity).

That might be why Plastic Free July has attracted over 2 million participants across 159 countries, with people taking on the the challenge to #choosetorefuse and avoid all single-use plastic for the month. In the face of certain inconvenience and almost definite failure, I have decided to challenge myself to vastly reduce, if not eliminate, the number of plastic-packaged products I buy over the next month.

Over the next month, I will be sharing some key observations from my attempts at #plasticfreejuly, and drawing learnings from the brands shaking up the space.

Plastic Palaces: The Supermarket Shop

One week in and I can already see that precisely because this is such a difficult challenge, there is an enormous opportunity for brands to innovate and help customers help the planet by driving positive change in this space.

Outrageous images of double and triple wrapped cauliflowers are nothing new, but it isn’t until bright-eyes and bushy tailed on July 2nd I tried to do an entirely plastic-free shop that I realised that supermarkets are palaces of plastic.

With some supermarkets hinting last year at plastic-free fruit & veg aisles, this was the only section of my local supermarket that truly allowed a packaging-free shop. Even then, choices were limited to the fruit and veg in stock and available loose. Shopping for items such as chocolate (an essential) proved slightly easier by way of cardboard-wrapped bars, but when it came to buying a pot of hummus, my only choice was tinned chickpeas and Googling ‘quick hummus recipe’ the moment I got in.

My shop proved one thing to me: consumers looking to shop plastic packaging free are doing all the leg work themselves. There is a huge opportunity for brands to give eco-shoppers what they are looking for, and be active contributors in the plastic conversa

From providing non-plastic wrappings to innovating in product delivery, could your brand drive positive change by creating eco-friendly alternatives to much-loved packaged items?

By: The Value Engineers

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