Out with the pesky plastics!

It seems plastic is haunting us all nowadays. There isn’t a day goes by with out some nasty story about it sneaking up on us. The latest to catch my eye was the tea bag and micro plastics revelation. Who would have thought it? That one, at least, is relatively easy to sort out. Loose tea in the caddy – just like granny used to!

It got me thinking about some of the very obvious plastic around the house and I decided it was time to make some changes…

For years – well, let’s be honest, decades – I’ve been using a rather posh line of cosmetics which comes in plastic type containers that are difficult to recycle. They have no labels on them to help you decide where they should go after use, so they get put in landfill. Most of the time, the bottles came in unnecessary cardboard packaging. I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable about this so I researched some alternatively packaged cleansers and came across just the thing, in a local organic shop, in a brown glass bottle. It’s a relief, too, that I can pass the bottles on to a neighbour who is even more dedicated than I am about green cosmetics – she makes her own!

The next product I looked at was shampoo. Again, after a lifetime of throwing away plastic bottles I discovered, at the local farmer’s market, a stall that offered refillable, organic shampoo. Okay, I still need one plastic bottle but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And the bonus is the shampoo is kinder for the environment. We use a liquid soap in the kitchen and it comes out of a plastic dispenser. Another obvious one – I replaced it with a bar of soap and used a large scallop shell as a soap dish. Then, I noticed the cleaning sponges I use for washing up dishes. They always land in the blue bin. Turns out they can easily be replaced by a wooden bristle brush which is just as efficient. The other great spin off to all these changes is that all the replacements work out significantly cheaper than the original product.

By now, feeling virtuous and getting into the swing of things, I looked in the cupboard I keep our cleaning products…and promptly closed it again.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions doing it imperfectly”. I like this quote because I’m not very good at doing things perfectly – see above! It doesn’t let me off the hook but it means that for the moment I’m doing my best and tomorrow I will tackle that cleaning cupboard. And if you have any suggestions or recommendations on how to do that, please let me know.

(PS I’m not allowed to mention brand names in my blog but if anyone is interested in the products I have swapped, I can pass the details on to you.)

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