The easiest place to shop during Plastic Free July is your local farmers’ market, where plastic-free shopping is no big deal. Regular shoppers have been practising Plastic Free July every month for years, before KeepCups were even a thing. They’ve developed all manner of creative ways to carry their (locally-produced and sustainably-grown) produce, from woven baskets and hessian sacks to boxes, string, hand-made wraps, and in true Mullum style – even a recycled bath on wheels!
Just a stroll around the markets shows how many stalls have eliminated plastic entirely, and many also offer a popular return system where bottles and glass jars are returned and refilled at a reduced cost.
Byron Bay Milk, who offer only plant-based milks, have recently phased out plastic completely, because the demand just wasn’t there. Now you purchase a bottle and return it for a replacement on your next visit. Similarly, Bay Smokehouse have made a concerted effort to avoid cryovac packaging and offer glass jars, or will hand over your fish fillets in impressive, time-honoured paper wrap.
There are plenty of unpackaged fresh fruit and vegetables, straight from the soil, washed, into the van and off to the market, available to carry away in brown paper or compostable bags – if you need to wrap the produce at all.
There are on-site wash stations where stallholders can wash their cups and cutlery to be re-used, and all stallholders with return options have commercial washing facilities back at HQ (their farm sheds) and you can purchase reusable bags if you forget your own.
Plastic Free July is a global movement to see our world freed of plastic waste. The project was an Australian initiative and is now one of the most influential and recognisable environmental campaigns worldwide with millions taking part every year.
New Brighton Farmers Market is on Tuesdays from 7–11am.