I thought they might, somehow.
I moved swiftly to implement the ban, partly because I nearly always favour the bull-in-a-china-shop approach to life, but also because I felt that if I prepared for it, I would cheat. I chose 60 days, because it is long enough for me to run out of things like pasta, shampoo and floor cleaner - had I given myself a little more notice I might have felt tempted to do a little stocking up since the ban does not include using up existing plastic-packaged commodities.
Unfortunately, the first thing I ran out of was rubbish bags. Since they come in black plastic or, er, black plastic, I bowed to the inevitable and bought the most environmentally friendly sacks I could find. But I still felt cross. I comforted myself by noticing that the wrapper around them was paper. So in a very disingenuous way, I didn't completely flout the terms of my ban. Although, of course, I did really.
Next up was the very thing I thought would be one of the most problematic: milk. At first, I thought I had found an absurdly easy solution. Our village shop stocks organic milk provided courtesy of the cows of Riverford Dairy in Totnes, which comes in cardboard cartons.
But then I became suspicious about how the cartons fail to become soggy. So I rang up Riverford and discovered the cartons have a very fine film of plastic on the inside. They are fully recyclable, but don't quite fulfil the terms of my ban.
But disaster struck on day two. I discovered we had run out of milk while actually in the process of making tea - actually in the process, mark you. I sent the girl child to the shop but she came back empty handed because all the cartons had gone. I gazed in panic at the the five cups lined up on the work surface. Some households run by clockwork and on organisation - ours runs on tea. I was due to leave the house for several hours and couldn't begin to contemplate how ugly the mood would turn if I left it milkless.
'That's plastic,' said Sam at the shop as I sheepishly bought some semi-skimmed. 'I know,' I said in anguish 'it's an emergency.' Later, I headed for a supermarket where I was sure I had seen old-fashioned glass bottles of milk. There were indeed bottles that resembled such a thing, but when I reached for one I discovered it was plastic, as was everything else on the milk shelf.
I gave up.
The next day I knocked on the door of a village farm to ask if they would sell me a jug of milk. 'Not any more,' said the farmer's wife regretfully. 'It's illegal now.' She and her husband, it turned out, started selling milk in 1946. It didn't surprise me; you can't move in this village for sprightly octo- and nonogenarians. She explained that they gave up dairy farming years ago - partly because the price of milk made it uneconomical, but also because of the ever growing list of regulations.
This was confirmed by Frances, a local dairy farmer. 'To sell green-top [unpasteurised] milk, you have to jump through hoops and more hoops,' she said. 'What if I can find someone who pasteurises it on the their farm,' I asked. 'You can try,' she said, 'but they will probably bottle it in plastic.'
'What if I take my own container along,' I asked. 'Well,' she said doubtfully 'there are all sorts of health and safety rules around containers.'
'Oh, for pity's sake,' I said 'surely if I want to live dangerously by using my own jug, I should be allowed to.'
'Where do you get your milk,' I asked Frances. 'Straight from the cow.' she said with a grin.
Well, I guess that cuts out the bloody plastic.