I have been on a quest to reduce the amount of plastic I use and throw away (see What’s your plastic footprint?).
If anyone needs a reminder why, then may I invite you to watch this 2 minute clip from the recent BBC documentary Drowning in Plastic?
I am sorry that this clip is distressing. I hope that you are distressed though, because this is a distressing problem. We have got to stop mindlessly consuming plastic.
If you want to watch the whole documentary, and I really hope that you do, then you can find it on BBC iPlayer here.
So what am I doing? Since my last post, these are the changes I have made.
We are getting milk delivered to our door in ‘rinse-and-return’ glass bottles. This is a lovely nostalgic return to how we always used to consume milk. I have rediscovered the sensory pleasure of pushing down on a foil lid and getting the cream from the top!
2. Fruit and Veg
We have subscribed to a fruit and veg box each week. Any cardboard trays or plastic bags are returned with the box and are re-used. I am really enjoying cooking with some weird and wonderful veg, like Romanesco cauliflower and Spaghetti squash. This has in turn reduced our meat consumption.
4. Period Products
May I introduce Thinx underwear or Organicup? The average woman will use 11,000 tampons in their lifetime, many of which end up in the sea. They also contain plastic (something I only learnt this week!)
5. Washing Up
My new washing up brush and scouring pads are made from coir coconut fibre and have wooden handles. As we speak I am waiting for a delivery of Castile soap so that I can make up homemade cleaning products along with white vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. And soapnut shells for the laundry. I will report back shortly!
6. Packed Lunches and Leftovers
I am wrapping my sandwiches in a reuseable bag and using plates or a reuseable cloth to cover food. I have stopped buying cartons of soup and am making a batch on the weekend (making use of my weird veg!)
Our loo roll, kitchen roll and tissues now come from Who gives a cr*p? Toilet rolls are often wrapped in many layers of plastic on the palette in supermarkets. Not only are these rolls wrapped in paper, but the 50% of the company’s profits goes into building safe toilets in the developing world.
I’m using solid shampoo and deodorant and now prefer these to my old products. The solid shampoo lasts for AGES (90 washes and counting for a Lush bar that is guaranteed for 80 washes). The deodorant smells divine (lemongrass and teatree) and is every bit as effective as my old roll-on.
I have noticed a pattern when I raise concerns with supermarket staff about plastic packaging. The initial reaction is that it has to be wrapped in plastic in order to transport it and store it. This is what our Sainsbury’s delivery person said. I pointed to our cardboard trays of undamaged fruit from Abel and Cole. He seemed surprised, and maybe a little bit impressed? Maybe it can be done differently?
Food doesn’t have to be wrapped in plastic. Toiletries and loo roll don’t have to come in plastic packaging. We have just become used to plastic because it is easy. And cheap. I realise that some of these solutions are not cheap. They involve an initial outlay. But if you can afford it, or you can make sacrifices elsewhere, shouldn’t you try?
The image of that baby bird vomiting broken bits of plastic makes me want to try.
Will you join me in my Utterly Fantastic, Drastic and Enthusiastic, Reduction in Plastic?
Please share your own experiences, views and tips in the comments below. It is only by talking about this with work colleagues that I found out about some of the products mentioned above.
To sign a Greenpeace petition asking big corporations to rethink plastic, click here.
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