Is Plastic Fantastic?

Plastic is amazing. It’s so versatile and can be really hard-wearing, but this also means it takes hundreds of years to deteriorate and break down. This can result in the clogging up of landfills and can seriously affect wildlife, and many items will degrade into microplastics which end up getting washed into the ocean and killing sea creatures and birds, and can even end up in the food we eat.

But plastic isn’t always the enemy, for example, there is nothing wrong with using plastic Tupperware to pack your lunch in or having a plastic general waste bin, as these things will be used thousands of times before they deteriorate and may never need to be replaced. The trouble lies with our attitudes, and the way we so readily use single-use and disposable products made of plastic; think milk cartons, ready meal packaging and baby wipes.

It’s been estimated that 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced since 1950, and even more worryingly, 6.3 billion metric tons of that has thought to become plastic waste. Every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists to this day, so before buying a disposable plastic item ask yourself if you really need it, and if it can be replaced with a non-plastic version or a reusable product.

Below are some of the plastic-free swaps I have made over the last 10 months:

  • I either opt for no straw or take a metal straw out with me
  • I take my own canvas bag with me to the shops so as not to use single-use plastic carrier bags
  • I have a reusable Chilly’s bottle with me whenever I leave the house so I never have to buy a single-use plastic one
  • I stopped using face wipes and started using a flannel and coconut oil or warm soapy water
  • I switched my shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles, to plastic-free bars from Lush
  • I use a plastic-free deodorant stick
  • I use a metal safety razor instead of disposable plastic razors
  • I use a bamboo toothbrush and bought toothpaste in a glass jar instead of a plastic tube
  • I go plastic-free with my fruit and veg, buying loose instead and opting to use paper bags
  • I buy products (such as tomato sauce and peanut butter) in glass jars instead of plastic ones
  • If I buy a drink from the shop I will opt for a glass bottle or aluminium can, and make sure it goes in the correct recycling bin
  • I have decided to do plastic-free Christmas presents for my friends and family, and in return asked for no plastic items, and am favouring experiences and vouchers over physical objects
  • If plastic is necessary then I opt for recyclable, and always reuse as many times as possible

Some other changes that I aim to make in the future include:

  • going to zero waste stores to buy dry goods such as pasta, rice, and beans
  • create my own cleaner from natural products to stop the need for buying cleaning products in plastic bottles (and reducing the number of harmful chemicals getting flushed into our waterways)
  • growing some of my own fruit and veg
  • buying washing-up brushes and sponges made of natural fibres
  • reduce the already small amount of crisps and snacks I eat to reduce plastic wrappers
  • buy bread in paper bags from the bakery counter instead of in plastic from the self

Hopefully, some of these changes will inspire you to look more into how you can adopt a reduced plastic and reduced waste lifestyle. If you are feeling inspired, there are some great blogs to follow on Instagram and Pinterest! Just search #plasticfree or #zerowaste to get started…