A Guide To An Oxford Plastic Free July

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July is Plastic Free Month. To help us all reduce the amount of plastic we use, Cultivate Co-Founder Emma Burnett has written a blog with some helpful tips and advice for a plastic free life in Oxford!

If you’re game for challenges then here’s one for you: it’s Plastic Free July! (there’s a hashtag and everything, so you know it’s legit).

You can get general information about how to go plastic-free from the website, and google, and your grandma. But if you live in Oxford, you might wonder where exactly to get the things you need to eat, clean, and be happy. Here are a few practical ways you can reduce your plastic use this month (and maybe forever more!).

Cultivate is a great option to reduce the amount of plastic on fruit and veg, and to support the local economy – you can pick and choose what you want and have it delivered anywhere in Oxford, which means you only get what you want to eat!

At Cultivate we are striving to be 0% waste and are constantly striving to make sure our veg boxes are the greenest around (in both senses!) We encourage all our customers to leave out our cardboard veg boxes, and any packaging, so that we can collect them and reuse them as many times as possible. We also take veg crates and sacks to a small holding near Farringdon for them to be reused, and even take back plastic change bags to our bank, the Co-Op, for them to reuse.

Alongside that, we work with a whole bunch of awesome suppliers that promote plastic free living. Here are some of the awesome products and businesses that we work with that can help you to reduce the amount of plastic that comes into your home:


SESI is a whole foods distributer that uses non-plastic packaging and makes its own line of detergents and cleaning liquids provided in reusable packaging, just leave it to be collected and reused when it’s empty, or bring it along to our stall at the Summertown Farmers’ Market every Sunday to refill. Based in Littlemore, SESI are a social enterprise, which supplies whole foods, sustainable detergents and refill stations to help people reduce their packaging waste and the need to recycle, with the aim of promoting a circular economy.

Since becoming established in 2006, they have refilled more than 100,000 plastic bottles. As a social enterprise, they re-inject funds into broadening their product list.

SESI Oxford

Fork To Plate Veg!

Not only does eating local mean your food has a lower carbon foot print, but it also isn’t wrapped in plastic either! All our local veg is harvested and collected fresh every week from producers like Sandy Lane, North Aston, Blacklands, Rectory Farm and Oxford Garden Farm. We use minimal packaging in our veg boxes so most of your veg is loose in the box, with things like salad in plastic bags as this is the only way to keep it from wilting, but we encourage customers to leave these out with the boxes so we can reuse them again.

Sandy Lane Farm Oxfordshire


Ermana is a range of natural skincare products, created in Oxfordshire, made from a blend of botanicals, plant based butters and oils, new to Cultivate this year. As many skincare products in today’s market contain some rather questionable ingredients, Ermana saw the need to create natural skincare products. Founder Claire, doesn’t use parabens, SLS or any artificial fragrances or colourings. This fabulous natural skincare range is kind on the environment and your skin, and each product comes in glass packaging.

Ermana Refresh Wash

The Natural Bread Company

The Natural Bread Company, based in Botley, are a local family business that uses locally milled organic flour to produce some of the best sourdough, yeasted bread and pastries around. The company was started in 2006 by Claire Véry and her late husband William Black, inspired by a shared love of food. Claire continues to own and run the company today fueled by her passion for natural home-made food and in particular for making bread without anything added remains as strong as ever. Their bread and pastries are delivered to us the organic flour sacks, and wrapped in tissue paper, no clam shell plastic boxes here!

natural bread Oxford


Ogglio is owner Giuseppe lives and works in Oxford but is still connected to his roots in Sicily. This organic extra virgin olive oil is produced in the Belice Valley in Sicily from olives grown, harvested, and pressed locally, on the same day of picking, within a five-mile radius from the grove. The olive trees are of the Nocellara cultivar, arguably one of the world’s finest varieties, were planted more than a century ago, and are still tended organically today without the use of any pesticides or artificial irrigation systems. Every year, the olives are harvested entirely by hand and collected early in the picking season when they are greener and not fully ripe, thus yielding a smaller quantity of oil, which as a result is more intense in flavour. Ogglio Olive Oil is stored in metal tanks, and sent out to customers in glass bottles.

Team Tea

Team Tea, founded by Valerie Diederichs who is based in Jericho, supplies of some of the finest teas around! From beautifully fragrant and delicious jasmine balls to rich dark organic black teas, they are well worth checking out if you’re into tea. Valerie only supplies loose leaf tea, and uses metal tins, so no teabags with hidden plastic or plastic wrappers.

Team Tea Oxford

Tiddly Pommes

Tiddly Pommes, founded by Rupert Griffin based in Cutteslowe, is a local apple juicer who collects local surplus apples from back gardens and orchards. He presses and pasteurises the apples, then sells the delicious juice in glass bottles. You can pick up a variety of juices both from our Summertown Farmers’ Market stall and in our Cultivate online shop which is open from 4 pm Thursday to 11 am Tuesday each week. Although not certified, most, if not all, of the trees he collects from are chemical free.

If you are taking up the plastic challenge, remember to:

  • refuse things that are wrapped in plastic;
  • remind people you don’t need things (like a little baggie for a pastry, especially if you’re going to eat it immediately);
  • engage others in conversation about it! Share your tips, tricks, and hacks.

We’d love to hear your plastic free tips so please feel free to share yours in the comments below, or join in the conversation by tagging us on our social channels using #plasticfreejuly – Cultivate Instagram, Cultivate Facebook and Cultivate Twitter.

Any questions about our veg boxes, please do get in touch – info@cultivateoxford.org

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