I've always been driven in reducing waste in our household and be as eco-friendly as possible. My kids wore washable nappies, we used washable wipes, reusable coffee cups, I use recycled cotton rope at my workshops, and we are big into recycling. However, like most of you, we didn't know that the majority the plastic we leave in the green bins each week actually ends up in the land field or the sea.
Last year I took part to #plasticfreejuly, this year I started following @Plasticfreemeorg and #plasticfreeparent ; as a family we decided to try and reduce our plastic use by 50%.
I would love to think that we could go plastic free, but the reality is that plastic is everywhere! The ice cream wrapping, the colour pencils, the yogurt pots, the cereals bag, the gloves for the washing up, the list goes on.....honestly, I don't think you can be plastic free until renewable or compostable materials are used for packaging as an alternative to plastic as a standard. However, I strongly believe that we can reduce the usage of plastic by changing our habits and mindsets.
Here the 13 simple steps we took, to help reduce plastic in our household:
1- The milkman is back
About 3 months ago, we said goodbye to our plastic milk bottles. We now get our milk delivered to our front door twice a week in glass bottles.
(3 plastic bottles x 52 weeks= 156 fewer milk bottles)
2- We are not buying any more single usage plastic items
No more straws, plastic cutlery, plates, cups for picnic or parties. Not even balloons!
(2 birthday party per year x 30 people= 60 straws+ 120 cuttlery+ 60 plates+ 60 cups+30 balloons= 330 fewer pieces of plastic)
3- A paper bag made from a newspaper for the bin
This is an easy way to replace your plastic bag in the bathroom with a paper bag made out of old newspaper. You can find the tutorial here @zerowastechica
(2 plastic bags X 52 weeks=104 fewer plastic bins)
4- Reusable coffee cups
I started using these more than a year ago! You can get them made from glass, bamboo, corn or recycled plastic. Most coffee shops will give you a discount if you bring your own cup.
(10 cups X 52 weeks= 520 fewer cups and leads)
5- Bamboo toothbrushes, solid toothpaste & biodegradable dental floss
These are items we use every day that have plastic! On this online shop www.noplasticshop.co.uk I found bamboo toothbrushes, solid toothpaste (no more plastic tubes) & biodegradable dental floss in a glass container. They also have solid shampoo and conditioner that I want to try soon.
Waitrose, Boots & Holland&Barrett also sell bamboo toothbrushes.
(the kids use 1 toothbrush per month, adult 1 every 3 months, 1 toothpaste every 4 months and 1 dental floss pack every 4 months= 38 fewer pieces of plastic)
6- Bulk shopping
It's very simple, you keep refilling the same containers with pasta, rice, beans, cereals, flour, coffee etc.
It is much easier if you are in London because you have a with a variety of shops and markets to chose from, however, here you can find a list of all the bulk shops in the UK and hopefully you will find one not too far away.
If you are not in the UK, you can google 'bulk shops' or 'plastic free shops'.
(I go there once a month on average I refill 10 containers =120 fewer plastic packaging)
7- No prepackaged fruits and veggies, reusable cotton bags instead
Most of the fruit is prepackaged in plastic bags and boxes, but luckily we can still buy most of the fruits and veggies lose and have access to local markets. Get yourself few reusable cotton bags and fill them up with hand-picked-by-you products. You can check my shop for naturally dyed reusable cotton bags in two sizes.
(10 fruit and veggies x52= 520 fewer plastic packaging)
8- Only natural sponges
I didn't even know what loofah or luffa was till 4 weeks ago, find out more here! It's a plant from the cucumber family and the vegetable once it's harvest and peeled becomes a sponge that can be used in the bathroom, kitchen or as an body exfoliating.
I ordered a whole piece and I've sliced it to make out 5 pieces to be used in my kitchen.
(1 sponge per month = 12 fewer sponges)
9- Reusable shopping bags
Since they don't give free shopping bags anymore, in the UK, we are all more accustomed to bringing our own bags, make sure you have few in your bag and car.
(5 single used bags x 52=260 fewer shopping bags)
10- Cling film
I haven't been using cling film for a few years now, we use tape wears. Another good alternative is beeswax food wrap. I found some from Abeego on Babipur.co.uk also in UK I recommend www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk. There are many company that offer this product that can be bought from Amazon, John Lewis etc.
(2 rolls fewer per year)
11- Savon du Marseille to replace washing up liquid
This is one of my favorite! This soap has been around for ages and is fantastic to use for everything, laundry, dishes, shower....
(3 container fewer per year)
12- Water bomb balloons
These are brilliant! Perfect for the hot summer! Reusable Water Balloons, hand made by a mum.
We have two and my daughters love them.
(30 balloons fewer per year)
13- Period Knickers
@shethinx have invented these knickers that can replace tampons, sanitary pants and period cup! I just bought one pair to try and I have to say they are brilliant! I used them at the end of my period and the first few days to back up the tampon when my flow is heavier.
(average 6 less tampons and liner per month x 12= 72 fewer plastic wrapping)
If you stick to these 13 easy steps for whole year, you would use 2167 fewer pieces of plastic.
2167 fewer plastic in the land field and sea
2167 fewer pieces of plastic in our world,
in just one year.
This is to show that we can make a difference, easily! We can make a change one bag at the time, with little effort we can make this world better for our children and educate them to respect it and protect it.
Are you ready to start making a change? Let me know below. If you have more suggestions, please leave a comment.