Plastic free wannabe

Don't get me wrong... I don't hate plastic. Plastic is indeed a very useful thing. It is a fabulous invention. I am not about to go and carve my son a car seat out of wood! 

However, what I do despise of is how plastic is used everywhere. In incereasingly ever more wasteful and unnessecary ways. This bothers me.  It bothers me because it is harmful to the planet and its wildlife. Every bit of plastic I have ever used is still out there somewhere and will take centuries to decompose. My plastic consumption will forever be imprinted on the poor planet.

Single use items also use up precious finite natural resources. For what?! For a plastic spoon or straw that we can just use once and chuck away. Do you realise how much energy goes in to making single use disposable plastic items? Too bloody much!! My eyes were opened a little wider when I watched this short video about the life of a plastic fork....Doesn't it just feel so ridiculously pointless? Especially when there are easily accessible reusable alternatives to almost all single use plastic items. Gah!

I am edging very slowly and sustainably towards a more zero waste life. Here are some of the things I've been working on over the last year or so...

Shopping bags - Since the 5p charged was introduced I am now much more reliable at remembering to take my own bags! There is no excuse not to use reusable cotton or jute bags. They are available everywhere.

Water bottle - I got myself a stainless steel bottle and try to resist buying bottles of drink out. This has saved me money too. I choose one by Lifesky which is insulated so it keeps the contents hot or cold and doesn't drip condensation over all of my other stuff.

Tea bags - these have a thin plastic mesh in them to allow them to be heat sealed shut. I didn't realise this until I noticed that here were always loads of them in our compost. They never rot! I have a bulk load of clipper teabags to use up and then I will be switching to loose leaf tea in a good old teapot. Ah the nostalgia. :) If you don't want loose tea but don't want to be dunking plastic in your cuppa either, then as a rule of thumb if the bag is stapled to a string it is usually plastic free as it is not heat sealed. 

Straws - I've switched to stainless steel and they are brilliant. I doubt I'll ever need to buy another straw in my lifetime. What I need to get in the habit of it taking one with me when I go out places. 

Washing powder - I've been buying a powdered one in a cardboard box (Ecover) rather an liquid in a plastic bottle or plastic tub.

Produce - Supermarket fresh food is an absolute nightmare for single use plastic. I must have bought thousands of punnets and bags of fruit, veg and salads over the years :/ I started by trying to buy more loose produce and taking my own bags to put it in. The trouble is there is virtually no loose organic fruit and veg in my local supermarkets. So now I have switched from the supermarket to an organic veg box scheme that uses significantly less plastic. Most of it comes in cardboard boxes, paper bags, or cardboard punnets.  Only the leaves and chillies have come in a plastic bag, which you can return in the box for recycling.

Cat food - I switched to buying the dry food in cardboard boxes rather than a plastic bag, and weaned her off the non-recyclable foil pouches. She wasn't that impressed by that, but seems to have forgiven me. I still give her tinned fish occasionally so please don't worry. :) 

Washing up sponges and cloths - I now use a loofah for washing up. They are awesome on tea stains, grow on trees and are compostable. For cleaning cloths I still have some microfibres cloths which are plastic, but as they die off I will replace them with 100% cotton cloths that I will be able to chuck on the compost when they go manky.

Clothes - I am not buying new clothes at the moment but if I do in the future I will look out for natural fibres. 

Sanitary towels - I've switched from the plastic chemical over perfumed ones to washable pads and I am super impressed with them. They are very easy to use. See my other post.

Wow I've actually done more than I thought!! There is still a way to go... I am struggling to find alternatives to some things (crisps, my favourite pre-packaged lunch at work, convenience foods for when I am running late or taking picnic foods to friend's houses) but I am pleased with where I am at and the direction I am going.