Saturday, 5 August 2017

Plastic- Not Fantastic

We had never heard of Plastic Free July until we were about 5 days in to the month.
Similarly to Veganuary, Stoptober etc, it is an initiative to help us look at the way we live, the impact it is having on the environment, or our health, and help us change towards a better way of living. Reducing plastic use is something we have always been conscious of but it has never featured too highly on our minds day to day. We are majoritively vegan, we use cloth nappies, we recycle as much as we can, but like most people have never stopped to think about the plastic we use, and throw away, each and every day.

I guess the first thing to think about is why this month even exists. Surely plastic is just a part of every day life? Well yes, it is. Our modern life style revolves around the use of plastic, it is in our homes, our cars, we wrap our food in it, a lot of children's toys are made from it.
 But, a substance that we once believed we could use and throw away without any impact at all on the environment is now becoming quite a problem in our world. Our oceans are becoming clogged with plastic. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. Whales are ending up with tummies full of plastic carrier bags, and plastic bottles, plastic ends up getting caught around the feet, beaks and more of our marine life, and in addition to that, it is sitting in our landfills, unable to biodegrade. Did you know that every piece of plastic ever made still exists? That was quite a shock to me when I found out. I guess I'd just never stopped to consider it.
Countries such as Norway have schemes where a deposit of around 15p is paid on plastic bottles, refundable when the bottle is dropped into a recycling bank. As a result, only 1 in 6 bottles washed up on Norwegian shores is from Norway.
The UK is very slow to make changes, but they are happening, such as the 5p bag charge, and coffee shops beginning to offer discounts to people with reusable cups. Supermarket in Brighton HiSbe sell dry food  from large dispensers, and our local vegan shop has also adopted this policy - we really hope it catches on.

So throughout the month we have been thinking about, talking about and making changes to the way we use plastic in our lives, and in every possible area we can, we have reduced or stopped using it. By sharing here we hope to inspire others to do the same.

  • Plastic bottles
They are everywhere, and an accepted part of every day life. Plastic bottles of water, of fizzy drinks, of cleaning materials, they line our supermarket shelves and fill our cupboards. So in a bid to stop using so many, we bought some reusable, stainless steel, water bottles. One for each of us, including Oskar, which now go out and about with us wherever we go. Sarah also takes hers to work. We fill them up before we leave, and if they need refilling when out, you can usually find somewhere happy to do this for you, like a local Starbucks, or other cafe. We even saw that there is a water fountain in Waterloo station now, to encourage people to reuse and not re-buy plastic bottles. Hopefully it'll be the start of more to come.  


Bottles from Babipur and The Wise House
  • Plastic bags
The government have helped us out with one with the 5p carrier bag charge, and I have to say we are pretty good at remembering to take reusable fabric bags out with us. There is one in the changing bag, and two in the car, so the chance of us needing to buy a plastic bag is fairly slim.      

Bag from The Vegan Kind                                                                                                                         
  • Toys
As we have previously written, we have a preference for wooden toys over plastic anyway. But if you are wondering where to start with replacing your plastic toys with wooden, then we would encourage you to recycle your plastic toys instead of throwing them away - donating them to a toy library or charity shop. Children don't care if their toys are second hand, they are still new to them, so give them a spruce up and donate them on, don't let all that plastic go to landfill.  
Wooden toys from Babipur                                                                                                                         
  • Toothbrushes 
Did you know that after nappies, toothbrushes are one of the biggest contributors to the plastics that end up in landfill? There is a simple solution, buy a wooden one! Bamboo toothbrushes are a sustainable and eco friendly alternative to plastic toothbrushes.  
Toothbrush from HumbleBrush
  • Nappies, wipes & pads
We have written in the past about us using and enjoying using cloth nappies and wipes, we also use cloth wipes to wipe Oskar's hand and face after meals. Reusable nappies, are adorable, better for your baby's skin, and much better for the planet - around 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away ever day in the UK - around 3% of all household waste. We have used cloth nappies and wipes on Oskar since he was two weeks old, and have tried most types and brands, so are always happy to give advice on anyone needing cloth nappy help! 
We also recently tried cloth sanitary towels from Bloom & Nora - although sceptic in the past we were amazed how discreet, reliable, and comfortable they were, as well as saving lots of plastic going in to landfill.

CSP from Bloom & Nora, nappies from TotsBots
  • Dinnerware 
We originally had bought plastic plates and cutlery for Oskar but when we needed to purchase more, we went for these beautiful bamboo ones. As well as being beautiful, the are 100% biodegradable.

Plate from Sweetness & Pea
  • Cling film / food storage
Most food storage is plastic, not to mention cling film, which as well as being non recyclable, also poses a problem to wildlife if not disposed of carefully. We hadn't really heard of any alternatives until recently, when we discovered fabric food pouches, and wax fabric food wraps. We even made our own wax food wraps, which was great as we now have a variety of different sizes that can be used as covers, wraps, or folded into pouches. 

Keep Leaf wrap from Babipur, others hand made by us!
We got some great ideas from Plastic Free July, and hope this post has given you ideas you may not have thought of too! If you would like more information on reducing your use of plastic, the following sites are really informative

A Reusable Life - our friend Heathers blog containing lots of eco friendly info
Babipur and The Wise House are great online stores for eco friendly items
There are lots of organisations who campaign to reduce plastic use, such as Surfers Against Sewage, Beach Clean, and Green Education Foundation 

This post is not sponsored, brands are mentioned just because we love them!

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