It’s 8.30am on Day 1 of the challenge and I’m already stumped. I dropped the dish cloth onto the floor and into the “biohazard zone” under the high-chair, so it’s now residing in the washing machine. I automatically peered into the cupboard under the sink for a new one and…oh…we’ve run out. So, my first challenge of the day is: Where on earth do I find dish cloths not wrapped in plastic? Until I work out the answer to this question or think of a suitable alternative, the kitchen table is left un-wiped.


I am going to admit that whilst I have pre-prepared a number of plastic-free alternatives for this month, I felt it would be ridiculously wasteful and prohibitively costly to throw out things already opened and in use. As a consequence, I’ve been running things down in preparation (as the dish cloth scenario proves!) and my plan is to replace items with single-use-plastic free alternatives as they are used up or as I spot them in the shops. As I’m also inflicting the Plastic Challenge on my partner and toddler, they will both, no doubt be happy to mop up any hint of packaged food on my behalf.


At lunchtime I headed for our local, large organic veg shop with the aim of stocking up on all kinds of goodies: unpackaged fresh fruit and veg at very least. I had my old takeaway tubs in the car at the ready as I was determined to come back with berries of some sort, and as it’s an organic shop, I hoped they wouldn’t think I was entirely mad for taking my own containers (I’m easing myself in gently before facing the high street).

Whilst I managed a good crop of plastic-free shopping which should keep us going for a few days (hooray for brown paper bags which not only contain your vegetables but slow their inevitable demise), I failed completely on the berries. The strawberries were in plastic punnets (no lids) and the blueberries were in plastic punnets with lids. Undeterred, I put them in my trolley knowing that I had my handy takeaway tubs ready for them to be decanted into at the checkout. However, when I asked if they would re-use the containers I was greeted with a mumble about how legislation regarding re-using food packaging is very strict and they couldn’t possibly change the way they operate for the odd person like me. People like me? Odd! A customer who cares about the environment shopping at an organic store you mean? Hmphhh. Then I asked when the neighbouring Pick Your Own would be open and received a grumble about how they spray their crops. Yes, I said, but they will let me use my own containers…I feel a stern email to the shop manager coming on.

On the up side, I did manage to get most things on the list and was able to buy a slice of double chocolate cake packaged in only a brown paper bag. Now, I really do need to find something to replace that dish cloth!


  1. Well done on Day 1! I always use my own containers for pick your own. And as for dishcloths, I am in a FB group Eco Living in Munich and this was mentioned a few days ago. These were suggested. . . Remember those old Granny dishcloths? Yep, a modern version:

    “One of the best changes I made last year from regular to sustainable: Knit dish clothes by Danish company Solwang. Was tired of the regular ones made from cellulose that are in theory machine washable but start to reek after a while even when freshly washed so you throw them out after a bit to buy new ones. Now our family enjoys these forever-and-ever-lasting ones that 1. are odor-less. guaranteed. period. whether freshly machine-washed or having been used for days. (The upside of it: Now my daughter who due to an over-sensitivity when it comes to odor has no excuse to clean!) 2. are absolutely pretty and come in many colors 3. make a great gift idea. Everyone LOVES them. The daughter of a friend moved out for college this year and claimed she can’t start her own household without them”

    Good luck!


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