So, we are now 16 days into 2017 and my vow to reduce my usage of plastic is proving harder than I thought. I simply never realised just how much stuff is made from plastic.
Now I’ve been looking into it a bit more, I’ve realised that the health benefits I suspect might come from using less plastic are out weighed by the benefits to the planet. 8 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, and of that most of it is for things used only once. Only 5% of plastic made is recycled with the rest ended up in landfill or in the ocean. This in turn leads to one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals being killed every year. I also remain concerned that this is leading to chemicals from the plastic entering the water cycle and having negative impacts on our health, in particular in relation to hormones.
My first step was to get rid of the plastic chopping boards and replace them with wood. I got rid of all the plastic bowls and cutlery lurking around the house. I replaced the plastic toothbrush holder with a glass jar painted by my friends Ceira, which actually looks much nicer. Then the hard stuff started. After an effort I located some stainless steel straws, which take some getting used to, but I think are a nice alternative to disposal ones. I used some glass jars to store some Christmas leftovers in the freezer, but I’m finding it impossible to replace all the plastic in the fridge and freezer because there is just so much of it. I’m now really noticing that every single thing in the fridge and freezer is in a plastic container, from ice cubes to frozen packs of peas to meat from the butchers stored in cling film. I’m trying to look for alternatives but it is proving very difficult.
In the kitchen I am using glass or metal for storage of sugars and that sort of thing. I’ve banned the buying of wipes and have got washable cloth and which I dip in a lemon/vinegar solution I make. I’m looking for a nice bit of fabric I can use under the (metal) cat bowls instead of the plastic mat.
I had already invested in a moon/diva cup as a replacement for tampons (see previous blog), which saves on all the wrapper waste, but does leave the question about whether silicone is a good material to have for this – still I don’t think I could be persuaded to give it up.
I have a nice collection of little fabric bags given to me by my friend Sonal which I have replaced my pencil case and make up bag with. I’m keeping some aside as I think I’ll soon find other things to put in them. I’ve also ordered a bamboo toothbrush and will see how I find it.
I’m looking round at everything else in the house made of plastic and am looking for alternatives. I’m finding food packaging the biggest challenge, but the truth is plastic is absolutely everywhere. I’m determined to continue, at least cutting back. All tips gratefully received.