Kate Rau

Kate Rau is the manager of Flow Communications' Cape Town office. Flow are our e-commerce and digital service providers, and we've been working with them for more than six years now. We love it when the people we work with go with our "flow"...

I've been following the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Plastic Free July posts and have been trying to have a plastic-free July too, but some things haven't been easy. For one, it is near impossible to find crackers or rice cakes that don't come in plastic.

I don't buy cheese or meat, so I avoided that plastic trap, but here are some of the challenges I found difficult (peppered with a few solutions):

Breakfast in a jar: chia, seeds and nuts. Just add water.
  • Fresh fruit and veg: I order weekly from Wild Organics. I mailed them and asked them not to include packaging, and I go collect on my way home on Wednesdays. Otherwise I head to the Tamboerskloof market on a Sunday and fetch other bits (in my own bags, straight from the ground).
  • Peanut butter (for my rice cakes): Buy in glass - Black Cat makes a palm oil-free, sugar-free, salt-free peanut butter that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, or I buy the OH Mega variety.
  • Hummus: I live on the stuff, so I make my own. I bought chick peas in a can – not ideal, I know.
  • Toothpaste: I made my own with coconut oil, salt, peppermint oil and baking soda. 
  • Toothbrush: Try the bamboo ones from Faithful to Nature
  • Toilet paper: Irritating! I had to buy single rolls wrapped in paper.
  • Popcorn, lentils, chick peas, polenta: all grains I use a lot, all come in plastic. That’s until I found Goodness Me – GMO-free and made in SA!
  • Sanitary pads: Or, shall we say, “landfill nightmare”. I bought fabric ones a few months ago and they are great. I'm a convert.
  • Cleaning products: What a palaver! For floors and surfaces I use hot water and lemon juice. For the rest I just use any products that are BWC (Beauty Without Cruelty), but often come in hard plastic.
Goodness Me: No plastic! 

Things I've discovered

  • Quorn makes a vegan schnitzel with spinach on top that is in a box and delicious.
  • Matzos! But wrapped in cellophane.
  • Fry's vegan pies (I’m hating the soy).
  • Food Lovers Market lunch (in biodegradable lunch boxes! Yay!)
  • Soup from Crave (in biodegradable cups - I walk carefully back to the office with no lid.)
Lunch is soup in a cup with no lid, and bread
  • Lasagne sheets and canneloni rolls from pukka Italian places. Butternut and spinach lasagne anyone?
  • Chocolate - thank you Honest Chocolate, I love you. Dairy free, plastic free and local.

Things I need to work out

I have spent a lot of time eating out to avoid buying food. I've found a great selection of spots that offer yum veggie and vegan food, but they are usually full of sugar and salt and preservatives and corn syrup and palm fruit everything. So my next mission is to try and balance the healthy food choices with the non-plastic food choices.

I don't usually eat bread, but since I could easily source baked goods in paper, rolls became a staple. And now I'm not feeling so good about having to look for new jeans.

Jokes aside, I need to work on balancing my ideals of planet health with my own ideals of body health. (And mind health, too. If there is no option, I guess I'll have to buy the thing and just get over it.)

Things that keep me up at night

  • Cat food (HOW? It all comes in plastic)
  • Cat litter (as above)
  • Milk - or milk alternatives - all have plastic tabs. Gone are the days of just a box of milk. One rice powder comes in a glass, but I had to sell a kidney to buy it.
  • Laundry detergent. Trying Triple Orange Bio Detergent but the jury is still out.

And so much more.

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