Since the new year, I have been making some changes in our home to make sure that we are using less waste. Food waste has been a big one for us, but I have become more and more concerned about the plastic waste that we are throwing out. We were doing our recycling as much as the next person, and have a compost for the right kind of food waste and grass cuttings. But in reality, there is so much that can’t be recycled.
I’d check the label on packaging and it would say ‘not currently recyclable’ when I would have just presumed that it would be. And if I put that in our plastic waste bin, it will likely mean that a whole heap won’t get recycled by the local council. The list goes on!
With World Environment Day (5th June) which is focusing on beating plastic pollution, and with large companies like Waitrose doing their bit, I knew I had to be doing more in our home. One thing I have been doing is reducing the number of plastic bottles that we use. We have been pretty big bottled water people, but it is using so much plastic, as we’d go through around seven or eight 500ml bottles a day between us all. Crazy.
- For my birthday I got a Chillys water bottle for my birthday (because I asked for one – I appreciate that it quite random gift), as it helps to keep cold water cool for 24 hours, and hot drinks warm for 12 hours. So it works for making drinking water nicer for me, reduces the plastic I use, and stops the need of disposable hot drinks cups when I’m out and about too.
- Another thing that I hadn’t even thought of before was the plastic toothbrushes that we have at home. With it recommended to change your toothbrush every three months, according to dental professionals, that is a heck of a lot of toothbrushes doing the rounds. And if they’re the plastic ones, then they’re literally just going straight to landfill. We are only a family of four, but in twenty years, that would be 320 toothbrushes just sent straight off to landfill. Think of how many that is when you think of the world’s population.
National Smile Month (began 14th May) is a time to promote good oral health. But how can we do that but reduce how much plastic we use? The Pearly White Club is the UK’s first bamboo toothbrush subscription service that addresses the plastic toothbrushes being thrown away by each of us every few months.
The Pearly White Club offers:
- A new toothbrush every 6 weeks, prices starting from £2.50
- Compostable bamboo handle
- Stylish and colourful design
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Different coloured brush for each member of the family
- Sizes suitable for children
- Different firmness from soft to medium
- 100% vegan-friendly
- FSC regulated bamboo which doesn’t damage panda habitats
- Bristles made from BPA-free Nylon 6
- A toothbrush donated to the homeless with each subscription
The kids and I have been using a bamboo toothbrush over the past couple of weeks, and it does just the same as a regular toothbrush, but just without the need of the plastic. So it really is an easy switch for everyone. You may not feel like you need a subscription, but it getting a bamboo toothbrush is an easy win and a simple way to reduce your own plastic pollution. Not sure I’ll ever go back now!
Here are some other ways that we’re cutting done the plastic in our house:
- Saying no to straws. Paper ones only
- Choose the loose unpackaged fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. Use your own bags to fill them up, or use paper bags if the supermarket have them.
- On a similar note, take your own shopping bags to the supermarket, rather than buying the 5p ones each time.
- Look for buying things in boxes rather than plastic bottles – so things like laundry powder, or dishwashing tablets. Cardboard is much easier to recycle or reuse compared to plastic.
- Kilner jars are your new best friend. Use them for things that you make yourself like granola, jam, applesauce, or nut butter. Glass is better for you health-wise, as well as for the environment.
- Clean in a more green way. The plastic bottles of cleaner don’t last long, and you can end up throwing out quite a few each month. Just use one or two and make your own cleaning products, using things like white vinegar and essential oils.
- Avoid the pre-prepared foods. Apple slices in a little plastic bag can be quick to buy from the supermarket. But why not just get a loose apple instead?
Is there anything else that you would add to the list? One step at a time though, right?