I’ve been meaning to write this post for eons, but finally getting round to it today now that I’ve set myself some targets to make little changes in 2020.
You’d need to be a hermit, living on Mars or just a complete tool not to realise the catastrophic impact excess plastic is having on the planet. Films of beautiful tropical beaches awash with the detritus of mass consumerism and a rampant throw away culture. We’re all guilty of it to a greater or lesser degree. In the vein of its better for a million people to do something imperfectly than 1 person being perfect, for the last few months I’ve really tried to reduce my plastic consumption. I’m definitely not perfect and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I’ve made a few changes. I’m keen for tips on how to make another step change (other than just saying ‘don’t buy it’, that bit I understand). So here are some of the changes I’ve made:
- Using bars of soap for hand washing and in the shower instead of shower gel
- Using shampoo bars to wash my hair
- I bought a traditional razor with refillable razor blades to shave my legs instead of disposable razors
- I use washable cloths to wash dishes instead of sponges
- I’ve gone back to washing powder that I can buy in a cardboard box
- Using tea leaves to reduce teabag use
- Try to buy coffee beans in paper bags, but these are often hard to find
- I only buy veggies that aren’t wrapped in plastic. I have to say most supermarkets are really, really shit in terms of packaging. I try to use a local greengrocer to avoid this when I can as they’re much better
- I take containers to supermarkets for meat – this is where they’re doing much better, allowing this almost everywhere now
- Use refillable water bottle and coffee cup for takeout coffee. If I buy a drink out I’ll go for a can which is more easily recyclable
- Predominantly cook all my own food but if I do buy a ready meal I look for a metal container that I can recycle
- If I need a packaged food I’ll go for glass, tins or cardboard over plastic, but sometimes cardboard stuff has plastic inside which is a pisser
- I have shopping bags in the car/handbag to use at supermarkets to save buying new ones
- I’ve got toothpaste that’s in a glass jar (it tastes like shit but hey ho!)
- I buy tooth floss made of silk instead of plastic
- I use Koh cleaning products are much less toxic. There’s still plastic in the big 4L wine-box style of liquid, but that first one I bought lasted over 8 months and I’ve only just replaced it
- I use baking soda and vinegar for drain blockages etc. instead of really toxic chemicals
- I reuse old plastic take out containers for freezing food etc., but also bought more glass containers
- Beeswax wraps are good for storing cheese etc. I’ve stopped using cling film. Well in should say I still have some that moved with me from Southampton but I’m not using it and it’s just sitting there as I don’t know what to do with it!!
- I’m trying to buy degradable bin bags but that’s not always easy. I have food recycling bags that I can use but they’re not huge. Loads of stuff is recycled from home (I have six different recycling bins, including food recycling. Much better here than it was in Southampton). Ultimately I’m trying to have less to throw out.
On balance it doesn’t feel like much, but every time I buy anything now all I can see if fucking plastic everywhere, it’s frustrating. As I said, I’m FAR from perfect, some food shopping still is in plastic containers, but I’m minimising this as much as possible. I’m planning to redouble efforts from now on though – an additional benefit is eating much more healthily as it means fresh meat, fish and veggies are about all you can buy, lol.
I still have lots of plastic around though – I’m using up all my toiletries/razors that I’ve collected over the years and not replacing them. The only stuff I do buy new now is skincare products (I’ve used Dermalogica for years), but I only need to buy products twice a year as they last so long, and I recycle the containers.
Next targets are loo roll – going to buy online from What The Crap or similar which is paper wrapped – and washable sanitary products. I should have done the latter one years ago, but better late than never.
I would love lots of other suggestions though, so please let me know what else I could be doing to make better choices. There are probably some easy wins I’ve not even considered.
Thanks in advance!