July is Plastic Free month, when households around the world are challenged to live more sustainably by refusing single-use plastic.
If your family decides to take up the challenge, the plasticfreejuly.org website has tips to get you through the month, and maybe even kick that plastic habit for good, such as avoiding pre-packaged food, buying in bulk wherever possible and taking your own bags if you want to separate fruit and vegetables at the market.
But did you know that we can also reduce plastic in our gardens? Here are some ways:
– instead of buying seedlings in plastic punnets and pots, plant your own seeds in egg cartons. When the seedling is ready to be planted out, separate its section and bury directly into the soil to break down and ‘feed’ the growing plant;
– if you buy plants in plastic pots, save the pots for re-use or pass them on to another avid gardener (if you don’t know one, take them to the local markets and offer them to a plant seller there);
– choose metal and wooden (or second-hand) tools and gear over plastic ones, which are quite likely to break or wear out in a few months;
– cardboard makes excellent weed matting, as it allows moisture to reach roots, breaks down over time and improves the soil.
A study published this week has revealed a surprising amount of plastic in our gardens from commercially-made mulches and compost products. If possible, make your own compost and mulch so that you can take greater control over the soil in which you are growing your own food.