One Day at a Time: Plastics part one
Continuing on from last week’s blog, where I suggested you could think about using up food, rather than buying new, this week’s blog is about plastics. Plastic is now seen by many as something to avoid at all costs, but it’s actually a very useful material.
How can you reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home, and how can you reuse, recycle, or upcycle the plastic that you already have? Although many plastics can now be recycled, the process of recycling itself uses up resources, and plastic can only be recycled a limited number of times. Therefore, it’s better to reuse items as much as possible, before recycling or throwing it away.
Plastic is a big topic, so this week’s blog will cover reducing and reusing plastic, and next week’s blog will cover recycling and upcycling plastic.
Reducing Plastic – some tips:
Instead of buying a new bottle of washing up liquid/ hand soap/ shampoo, etc, each time you run out, consider buying a refill pack, or a large refill bottle, which use less plastic. These are often available in supermarkets or online.
There are cleaning product sachets available (e.g. Iron & Velvet), which can be used to refill cleaning bottles – just add water; and some laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets are plastic free (e.g. SMOL).
Try using shampoo/conditioner soap bars, rather than bottles.
Buy toilet rolls in bulk, from companies that don’t use plastic wrap. The Ethical Consumer online have written a useful report on Eco-friendly Toilet Paper.
Use washable cotton bags, or wax-coated wraps, instead of cling film or plastic containers.
If you forget to take a reusable bag to the shops, take one of the thin plastic bags (which use less plastic), rather than a long-life bag. Otherwise, if you do this regularly, you end up with lots of non-recyclable long-life bags.
My previous blog posts on reducing waste: Becoming More Eco-friendly: Reduce: Part 1
Reusing Plastic – some tips:
Rather than buying food bags and containers to put your packed lunches or leftovers in, you can reuse containers you already have. For example, you can wash and reuse the plastic packaging that your food comes in (e.g. veg bags, cereal bags, yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs, etc).
Have an area in your kitchen where you can hang plastic bags to dry after washing them. For example, I peg reusable plastic bags to a piece of string next to my sink.
Pringles lids can be reused as lids for other containers (e.g. they fit perfectly on the little glass pots that Gu puddings come in).
If you get a takeaway coffee or meal, take your own container to reuse, rather than getting a disposable one.
Many towns in the UK now have Zero Waste shops, where you can refill containers – everything from washing up liquid, and cleaning products, to nuts, pasta and even chocolate.
My previous blog posts on reusing things: