REDUCE. Everyday plastic we CAN live without.

Plastic. Plastic. Plastic. I’m looking at my dressing table, the bathroom, the kitchen. How much of this stuff is going to end up burning on a roadside in Turkey or choking a river somewhere else? It’s time to do something different. Recycling doesn’t work well enough and can encourage manufacturers to keep using the same indestructible materials. Covid has added so much to the plastic mountain with products which are truly hard to avoid. Let’s try to find alternatives to everyday plastics which find their way into land fill or the environment where we can.

512px Albatross at Midway Atoll Refuge 8080507529

 The unaltered stomach contents of a dead albatross chick photographed on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific in September 2009 include plastic marine debris fed the chick by its parents.  Photo: Chris Jordan (via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) / CC BY 2.0, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

So what about… the toothbrush – plastic in plastic and card packaging? Some sources say a plastic toothbrush can take over 400 years to break down and we average 300 in our life time. Well, next time I’ll go for bamboo – and the box it comes in is card too. There’s also dental floss - Better Eco do one. It comes in a tiny glass bottle, with metal cutter lid; it’s refillable and you can see when it’s running out. Shampoo in a plastic bottle – there are a good range of shampoo bars now (in card boxes) – I’ll try one. Simple things like a bar of soap instead of a plastic bottle of liquid soap keep a few more tons of plastic out of circulation. Deodorant – currently plastic, in future a preparation in a small metal tub that you apply with your finger tips – worth a go surely. Lip-salve – plastic tube – or neat metal box which lasts at least 3 times as long?

‘Plastic’ wipes or dish-cloth? I changed to a roll of bamboo cloths two years ago and am still on my first roll – they go in the washing machine and seem indestructible! Scouring pads – I used to get through so many of those plastic foam ones with the green scourer on one side – they were all heading for land-fill. Now I’m trying a cotton dish cloth and a coconut fibre brush. I’ve considered growing my own loofah, but luckily you can buy a loofah scourer. Growing them sounds an interesting challenge and a great thing to do with the kids. If you want something to do during an evening in front of the TV or soaking up the sun in the garden how about knitting or crocheting your own cotton dishcloth – or your own net shopping bag  – and they don’t have to be boring white!

Everyday items like this are now much easier to find – Reno Wholefoods in Wymondham stock a good range (as well as offering a re-fill service for goods from pasta to laundry liquid). And on-line there are so many options – have a look at Friends of the Earth’s ideas.  Choices like this do make a difference and trying out new things can be fascinating. Do give it a whirl.

June 2021



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