The plastic dilemma- Reducing what we use


Plastic use seems to be big news at the moment. It seems to hit the headlines on an almost daily basis and we are now being told that a lot of single use plastics are going to be banned. It looks like we’re even going to have to pay a deposit whenever we buy a plastic bottle now. I do admire the fact that the government are trying to do something to reduce that amount of plastic we use as a country. The problem is that I’m more than a little sceptical about the impact it’s likely to have.

I care about the environment, and I’m making a real effort to reduce my carbon footprint. I hate knowing that the plastic we use either ends up in landfill where it won’t decompose or it ends up in the oceans where it can damage coral reefs and kill marine life. It doesn’t seem to me that it’s sustainable to continue the way we are going. It is going to reach crisis point at some time in the near future. Heck, it must be close if even our government are trying to get something sorted to fix the problem!

As a family we try to recycle everything we can. I walk to a lot of places rather than use the car and we only buy brand new when we have to. But I seem to be unable to reduce the amount of plastic that comes in to the house. It really is on everything. All the meat we buy comes in plastic, most of the foods we eat seem to come in plastic, although I do try to buy loose fruit and vegetables and foods in glass wherever possible. We even have a milkman so that milk comes in a glass bottle. My dairy free milk unfortunately comes in a carton but I do recycle them.

Here are things I have done to make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic in our life:

  1. Use a reusable bottle and thermos flask at work. I rarely go to coffee shops, and if I do it’s a treat so I sit in. However, work provide disposable cups so I use my own. It does have the advantage of keeping my tea warmer for longer as well!
  2. Take my own shopping bags with me when out and about. This is a no brainer really, especially when you consider the fact that a plastic bag now costs you 5p each time you have one. Not only are you saving the planet by using your own, you are also saving cash as well.
  3. Try to buy foods with minimal plastic packaging. This is easier said than done but I do now try to look for foods in glass jars rather than plastic. I also try to buy loose products where I can. I now make my own bread a lot of the time as bread is wrapped in plastic. Homemade bread tastes amazing too and makes the house smell so good while it’s baking!
  4. Use home made cleaning products where possible in reusable containers. I like making my own cleaning products actually. I use vinegar a lot, zoflora which I dilute into a spray, oil and bicarbonate of soda. Old style cleaning is better for the planet (and actually a lot cheaper too!). Less nasty chemicals in the house and it isn’t dirty or smelly either.

I think I’m in the process of becoming a bit of an eco-warrior much to my husbands disgust. Firstly I began recycling, then ditched the car as often as I could, then I started making my own cleaning products and now I’m trying to go as plastic free as possible.


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