Reducing our plastic consumption is something I’ve been considering for a little while now, and when a friend at ‘Peterborough Environment City Trust’ (PECT) mentioned that BBC Look East were looking for a family to try being plastic free for a week, I jumped at the chance. Sadly for me, I didn’t realise that this meant being filmed LIVE on tv! Needless to say, I won’t be pursuing an acting career as a result of my tv appearance! Having watched the BBC documentary ‘Drowning in Plastic‘ a few weeks, I was absolutely horrified at the sheer scale of devastation plastic is having on our planet. Something needs to be done, and I for one am going to try my utmost to reduce our plastic contribution to landfill….
Having attempted a plastic free week, I’d say that time, I don’t think our family could manage being totally plastic free just yet. It is astonishing just how many things we buy are wrapped in plastic: vegetables, pasta, fruit, confectionary and many many more, To become totally plastic free, the supermarket chains need to stop wrapping everything in plastic just for the ease of adding a barcode. Something else I have found strange during our plastic free week was how much recycling centres vary across the country. My parents can’t recycle half of what we can. For the UK to cut down on its plastic consumption, what can and can’t be recycled needs to be standardised across the country and the information needs to be readily available QUICKLY.
So, what can you do to reduce your plastic consumption and help our planet?
Cling film: I’m not sure how I didn’t know this, but tin foil is a recyclable provided it is mostly clean. Next on my purchase list are some beeswax wraps. These do come across as a little pricey, but they have longevity in them and ultimately better for the environment. Places I am currently looking to purchase from are the ‘Beeswax Wrap Co‘ and ‘Low Tox Box‘.
Plastic bottles: whilst most of these are recyclable, a significant portion of them end up in landfill. We love our water bottles in this house. My current bottle has been on the go for over a year, as have the children’s’. My children love their Sistema water bottles, but they can start to get smelly despite constant washing, so once the time has come to get rid of your water bottle, these plastic ones are recyclable!
Straws: single use plastic straws are terrible. We have reusable plastic straws in our house that we have had for over a year, which get washed in the dishwasher. But if you are considering upgrading, there are some excellent metal ones on the market.
Takeaway coffee: whilst these cups may look recyclable, the inner coating is actually plastic! A simple solution is a reusable coffee/tea cup. I LOVE my Bodum one as it keeps my tea hot for hours! However, it can be irritating to carry around for the day. I have since found these ones which are great for travelling as they collapse!
Carrier bags: most stores now have a 5p charge for a single use carrier bag. I am usually carrying a backpack which I use as my bag, or when supermarket shopping I use reusable bags. Try to keep a reusable bag in your handbag or car for those emergencies.
Wipes: these aren’t very environmentally friendly and should never be flushed down the toilet. I no longer use wipes within my household, I have an army of microfibre cloths for washing dishes and cleaning with. But should I have my time again with my babies (or perhaps there will be a Raitt £3), I would love to get my hands on some reusable wipes. ‘Cheeky Wipes‘ seem to offer the best ones, and there are often some good deals to be had on second hand ones. As we still use some wipes, I am going to stop buying them and use a face cloth which I have cut into four pieces.
Sanitary products: Whilst I realise that this may not be everyones cup of tea (no pun intended!), but I have switched from the usual tampons and towels to a ‘menstrual cup‘ and I love it. After a bit of trial and error in the beginning, it really is great and it Is pleasing to know that I’m not contributing so much waster to landfill each month.
Moving forward as a family, I am altering the way I think about waste. Things I would like to do:
- Use the greengrocers and butchers more.
- Limit the number of packaged goods we buy such as biscuits, cheese, and yoghurts.
- Ditch cling film.
- Halve the amount of waste that goes into my refuse bin.
For those of you who were fortunate enough to miss our tv debut, here are some awkward screenshots!