Everywhere you turn these days there’s a statistic on plastic staring you in the face. It appears to be a huge issue for the planet but also seemingly, an absolute nightmare to tackle ourselves. Plastic is everywhere, packaging everything we buy and it’s such a convenient material – So how on earth are we supposed to make even a drop of change in the ocean of catastrophe?
Well you’re in luck because this gal has started on her ditch-as-much-plastic-as-possible mission and am here to tell you of the small changes I’ve made, that if we all start to adopt, could make a massive difference in the long term.
I’ve always known plastic was an issue. We’ve been bombarded for years with awful pictures of turtles strangled by those beer things. But I’ve batted these negative images away with a “well what can I do abut it, I’m only one person”. More recently however, I have started to realise that actually I can make a difference and the little changes I make can end up having a much larger impact ecologically.
What really kick started this movement for me was the debrief podcast (I know I keep mentioning them but jeez do they get my brain whirring!) and their episode on “how to look after the environment” – in particular their comment on every plastic straw that has ever existed, still existing, mainly at the bottom of the ocean. I was shocked and immediately opened the Amazon tab on my phone to order some stainless steel straws (but lets not jump ahead eh).
So what simple changes can we make to help the planet?
Re-usable non plastic bottles / cups.
I bought myself a glass water bottle (with silicone case). Not only are you doing a good deed in using it but the water actually tastes WAY better out of glass. I was an avid plastic bottle user, I even used them at home (having sensitive teeth and preferring really cold water do not go hand in hand) but I honestly don’t remember the last time I bought one now. I use my gorge glass water bottle when out and about and have a large glass bottle of water in the fridge at home which I pour into my mason jar glass to enjoy with a stainless steel straw. (Also makes you feel super extra which I am here for!)
I don’t drink coffee but think of this in the same way. A lot of places actually offer discounts if you bring your own cup (I know Pret is one such place) – win win!
Stainless steel re-usable straws
As mentioned above, the debrief podcast literally shocked me into panic buying these metal straws and I have to say, I’m glad I made the change. Not only do they match my bar cart which makes me all kinds of happy, they again make my drink taste fresher. They’re also easy to clean and come with a handy brush. It baffles me that I used to use and throw away so many plastic straws unnecessarily – like honestly think about how many straws you’ve used in your life time and that’s just one person!
I’ve also started asking for no plastic in my drink when I’m out. Top tip here though is to catch the bar tender before they pick up any plastic to put in your drink because once it’s in their hand it will end up in the bin regardless. But why stop there – if you get a chance, start up the conversation with an employee of the bar and make some alternative suggestions for them – being eco is a massive thing these days and it would serve business’ well to make these changes now and be ahead of the game.
This is one I keep forgetting to do and absolutely kick myself when it comes to reaching the check out. Alternatively, when I do have them with me, I feel SOOOO smug haha. Tote bags are great, more heavy duty than your average plastic bag, usually carry more and can be folded up into your everyday bag (without being all rustley and annoying). You can also get some pretty cool ones – I highly suggest checking Etsy out and supporting a small business while your saving the planet 🙂 However, all the totes I’ve got were actually freebies from events (they make great goodie bags – the gift that keeps on giving).
Loose fruits / vegetables
Try and pick up the fruits and veggies that aren’t wrapped in plastic. In fact this goes for all food products really – try to make your choices as ethical as possible. Obviously this isn’t always easy but if there’s an option, choose the plasticless one (is that a word? Plasticless – should it be two words?!)
A note to be made here though; I recently saw something on twitter about pre chopped fruits and veggies (which usually come in plastic) and whilst they may seem lazy to most of us, they’re actually a complete life saver for those with certain disabilities. This hadn’t even crossed my mind so I’m glad that I came across the tweet. I wonder though if there is a more sustainable packaging that can be used for these items that shops should invest in – what do you think?
Alternative period products
I’ve written about the Mooncup before and I promise you I’m not lying when I say it’s changed my life! It’s not going to be for everyone and that’s totally fair but I urge you to give it a go because my only regret is that I didn’t use one sooner. If however you decide this isn’t for you, don’t fret, as Mooncups are not the only ethical option available. There are reusable pads and Thinx pants to name a few – Do your research and find what fits best with your lifestyle.
If you’re still not convinced by my words here or my previous post maybe some maths will change your mind. The average woman will have 450 periods in her lifetime and let’s say you use one pack of your preferred sanitary product per period. That’s 450 boxes of tampons/packs of sanitary towels and approximately £1800. Compare this to the Mooncup (I actually have an Organi cup) which should last around 10 years, so say you have to buy 4 in your lifetime, that’s like £80. A saving of £1720!
Don’t let your periods skint you! (I mean it’s bloody ridiculous that we have to pay for this stuff in the first place but whatever – pun not intended).
There are still so many changes I could make to reduce my plastic use (like remembering that freakin tote bag!) and hope to implement more as time goes on. At the moment I’m looking into switching up my Tupperware choices. There’s obviously those beaut bamboo lunch boxes made by Leon which I’d love to invest in but I tend to be using more than one Tupperware at a time, with leftovers and prepped lunches filling my fridge (sometimes – let’s not paint me out to be some sort of food prep guru). Any suggestions here would be great 🙂 I’m considering going full mason/kilner jar but I’m not sure how practical this is for certain meals.
Another thing I’d like to try is a safety razor – I hadn’t even considered that these were a thing until I read Laila’s blog (if you’re not following her Green series you need to be!) It makes me a bit nervy as I’m SO clumsy but it also makes a massive amount of sense ecologically and the shave is deemed to be a lot better – where are the cons here? (Aside from possible leg massacre of course).
If you have any top tips of your own then please send me all the eco inspo!