The Rodale challenge has three rules for their plastic free month:
1. No buying or acquiring new plastic.
2: No cooking with plastic or storing food in plastic.
3: Minimize all other plastic use.
It'll be hard not to store food in plastic, but I think I can manage to use canning jars instead (despite the super minimal plastic on their lids). Not buying or acquiring plastic will be difficult, however. Plastic is in everything, and it's nearly impossible to buy anything without plastic packaging these days.
A big problem that I'm going to have with the plastic free month is that I really cannot avoid plastic in some aspects of my life, especially where the farm animals are concerned. While I can avoid plastic in the things I purchase and use myself, I have lives that depend on me and those lives often depend on things that come packaged in plastic. I have horses eating grain from plastic feed bags, and sheep/ducks/horses all eat hay and straw that, while it usually comes with natural twine, once in a while is baled with plastic twine. I would love to feed real food like Lisa and Frank over at Mack Hill Farm, but at this point that's kind of unrealistic for me as we have no connections and no truck. Boo.
I have therefore added a fourth rule for myself. When rules 1, 2 or 3 are broken, I will do everything within my power to reuse or upcycle the plastic I use in February. Any foodsafe plastic container will become a seed starting tray, every plastic feed bag will be reused to line seed starting shelves or upcycled into something else, plastic twine will be knit/crocheted into produce bags (see future blogposts for some of these - I've got some great ideas, including how to make reusable grocery bags from feed bags!)
Hard plastic that is harder to reassign can be cut up and used to mark seed starting pots, and at the very worst (as with things like toilet paper packaging) I will buy only things packaged in recycled or recyclable plastic. I will also make a point to go to the small mom-and-pop hardware stores to purchase farm hardware necessities (hinges, screws, nails, etc) that come packaging free and in bulk.
Plastic containers like these milkshake cups (which contain 100% natural and local dairy) will have new lives as seed starting containers.
Hopefully this won't become too much of a stress for me. I have a feeling I'll be toting around a sizable knapsack this month to house my reusable bags, glass takeout containers and probably even a set of silverware to use if we go out to eat. I may look like a crazy person, but I'm okay with that (and kind of used to it!)