Welcome back to my wee series on plastic! If you haven’t read the previous posts there are only two of them so won’t take long to catch up.
So we’ve covered a basic overview of the topic of plastic and the problems associated with so much plastic use. Now on to solutions.
I’ll start with some changes I have made – some date back a few years while others are more recent ones that I have made as a result of blogging about my own plastic use.
To be honest the biggest change so far has been in my thinking. In my awareness of my plastic usage and trying to make conscientious choices as a result. I still find myself having bought something and then begin like Doh!! oh no it’s PLASTIC!! Rubbish.
My flatmate and I have recently switched to plastic free toilet paper. As demonstrated above by my wonderful cat Tigger (cause Tiggers are wonderful things!). This brand delivers to your door, in a box, the toilet paper is wrapped in paper not plastic and (an added non-plastic related bonus) is made from recycled paper. As if that is not enough 50% of their profits go to non-profit organisations working to improve access to hygiene, water and basic sanitation in developing countries. Win, win & win in my opinion!
I have and will keep trying to remember to take my own reusable water bottle and travel mug when out and about. This not only reduces plastic bottle and disposable cup wastage but is cheaper. Some coffee shops will even give you extra stamps or incentives to bring your own mug for takeaway purchases.
I have started to choose loose fruit and vegetables over the packaged ones in the shop. And if there is not a loose option I ask myself if I can get it elsewhere or do without it. I just take my veg and fruit home loose and do NOT use the little plastic bags provided (Lidl seems happy to weight and pay for these without bag).
I also started growing my own herbs. This way I don’t have to buy them in small amounts wrapped in plastic every time I want to herb up.
For a while now I have used shampoo bars from Lush – just because I like them! They do an ever increasing range. They lather up loverly, last ages and are also super practical if flying with hand luggage only. Lush in general offer great non plastic options (my flatmate has just started using their toothpaste and deodorant).
Now I am not gonna pretend I am a plastic free guru or anything. I still have loads of plastic and use loads of plastic. I do however hope to keep learning and consciously changing my personal consumer habits.
Another thing I realised through doing this was how many tubs, tubes and bottles I had of half finished stuff. SO ridiculous. Its not as if I live in the middle of nowhere and would actually run out of and be without anything. Everyday I have the opportunity to pop to the shop to get something (which I find a scary thought in and of itself). So I have spent the past month or so using stuff up and not replacing it till it is actually finished. As in NO more left. None. Maybe I should take it a step further. Try go without that thing… just for a day. Hmmm.
The way I see it there are three options open to you when embarking on this, lets call it “say no to plastic” quest, depending on what level of commitment you are up for:
Simple changes – these include general reduce, reuse, recycle principles such as taking your own reusable (preferably non-plastic) shopping bag, water bottle and/or travel mug. Choosing glass bottled goods over plastic and looking for alternative paper / cardboard packaging options. Also limiting your consumption of one use disposable plastic goods. And of course recycling all you can (I found a cool UK site where you can search for local recycling options for all sort of goods not just plastic – Recyclenow).
Bigger changes – these would involve changing brand or supplier to support companies that are environmentally conscientious. This might take a bit more effort – doing your research and going a bit further out of your way or spending a bit more on products and goods you believe in. This could also include signing petitions or getting involved with environmental campaigns (some examples of what this can achieve here).
Go all out – go zero waste. Not for the faint-hearted or non-committal types. This involves serious lifestyle changes which in some parts of the world are easier than others and a lot of which comes down to what options are available to you on your door step. Zero waste goes beyond just plastic and aims to use up and/or reuse all you consume so that nothing is thrown away. ZERO waste. Surprisingly!
Most of our decisions around consumer issues like these come down to instant vs delayed gratification. Let’s not just put our money where our mouths are – in the here and now often hungry for immediate satisfaction. Let’s put our money where our hearts are and make decisions to make us and future generations proud.
Whatever you decide I wish you all the best. Don’t give up. A small change can make a huge difference.
And please don’t become one of those “I hate you cause you don’t care about the environment” types. Our care and respect of our world has to start with care and respect for each other. There is no point saving the plant only to find we all hate each other and can’t enjoy it together!