Not Quite Plastic Free July

2 minute beach clean for not quite Plastic Free July

I’m not perfect and I know it.  I won’t go into my many and varied imperfections but I will tell you about one of the ways we fail to reduce our plastic consumption and what we do about it.  (In case you missed it, it’s Plastic Free July so I’ll be talking a bit this month on how our family keeps our plastic use under control, sort of Not Quite Plastic Free July.)

Not Quite Plastic Free July - How one Exeter Family is reducing their use of plastic and off setting by planting trees

We have a lot of guests over the summer.  It’s the joy of living in Exeter, in such a beautiful part of the country.

But we get through a lot of bread.  We do bake several times a week but we just can’t keep up.  So that means we buy a lot of bread.  Which means a lot of plastic film that can’t be recycled.


Not Quite Plastic Free July

So we compensate in other ways.  We do 2 minute beach cleans every time we go to the sea.  And 2 minute moor cleans every time we go to Dartmoor.  That’s a LOT of plastic that we take home and prevent entering our beautiful rivers and seas.

2 minute beach clean for not quite Plastic Free July

But the big thing we do is to plant trees.  We’ve ‘planted’ hundreds of trees in woodlands in the UK and rain forests in far flung places.

We’ve also planted real live, you can come and look at them, trees in our garden in St Thomas.

Before our row of houses was built, there used to be an orchard where our gardens are.  We had one old and gnarled pear left; our neighbour, a handful of much better condition trees.

We’ve begun to add some of the biodiversity back into the area, by planting 11 new trees since we moved in.  Some fruit trees, some wild species such as willow and hazel.

When they are fully grown, they’ll absorb over 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and will go a little way towards improving the air quality right here in Exeter.

Plant trees to off set plastic free July

We’re in the process of adding a small wildflower garden around the trees too, so within a couple of years, there’ll be a whole host of new plants for the bees and insects, birds and even grass snakes that we find in our garden.  We also have a rather handsome fox that comes a visiting, though sadly our chickens didn’t find him so friendly.  Boo.

So it’s not perfect.  It’s not the answer.  But it is one way in which our family is conscious of its footprint and makes adjustments so we can live our fun, hectic, joyful lives and still tread lightly on the planet.

A little list of links

2 minute beach clean

Plastic free July

Book Cycle/Tree Cycle

Woodland Trust

One community that has come together to tackle this issue head on is the residents of the Rame Peninsular – follow them on Facebook and see how vast the plastic problem is and how it affects OUR BEACHES in the South West.  Rame Peninsula Beach Care.

If you’d like to talk to your children about some of these issues, RAMM in Exeter have a fantastic exhibition on at the moment called Sea Life which has displays about beach cleans and the damage caused by plastic nurdles.

Sea Life Exhibition RAMM - how to reduce your plastic use for Plastic Free July

2 minute beach clean at RAMM


Rubbish left on Dartmoor - 2 minute moor clear for Plastic Free July

2 minute Dartmoor clean

Arabella Greatorex, Editor of Exeter Baby Activities. The ultimate guide to family life in Exeter

2 Comments on “Not Quite Plastic Free July”

  1. The beach and moor cleans sound like a great compromise. We don’t live near the sea, but my kids (especially) my youngest, is always coming up to me with grubby bits of plastic and wanting to put them in the bin. I think kids naturally want a clean natural environment (if only they could translate that to our living room…!!!) Keep up the good work!

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