I am becoming ever concerned about the amount of plastic we use. Iin our everyday lives, we get through tons of waste and plastic is one of the worst culprits when it comes to harming the environment. This is coming from me a person who is a self-confessed consumer, shopaholic and at times extremely materialistic. But since having kids I’ve becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the impact our actions have on the environment.
Why is plastic a problem?
* Plastic was thought of as a ‘wonder’ material when it was first invented in 1869 as a substitute for ivory. Since then 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced, and because it takes up to 400 yeas to degrade, most of this still exists in some form.
* From shampoo to sanitary ware, teabags to takeaway coffee cups and crisp packets to cigarette filters, plastic is now almost everywhere you look.
Reducing plastic as a family
Charity Hubbub has written these tips for our readers on how to reduce plastic as a family:
* For storing and preserving food, you can use beeswax reusable wraps, Tupperware and repurposed jam jars.
* Bamboo straws and reusable water bottles can replace the plastic variety and there are plenty of fun colourful options for children.
* When food shopping, take reusable shopping bags to the supermarket. Try to buy from butchers, bakers and vegetable markets instead of buying pre-packaged goods from supermarket shelves.
* Opt for loose leaf tea, or teabag brands that don’t contain plastic.
* Buying larger packs of baby food to portion up at home, rather than individually packaged portions, avoids a lot of single-use and non-recyclable plastic waste. * Shampoo and soap bars such as those made by Hebden Bridge-based Friendly Soap are a great alternative to care products that contain silicone.
* For baby care, try reusable or biodegradable nappies.
* When it comes to children’s toys, choose wooden or fabric toys where possible – and have a look in charity shops where there are often some great bargains.
* Set up a toy swap with other parents.
* Coconut fibre scourers and wooden scrubbing brushes work just as well as dishwashing sponges that contain plastic.
* Local refill shops stock plenty of refillable cleaning products.
* When doing the laundry, try to wash at 30 degrees and follow your clothing care label instructions, to avoid plastic microfibres shedding from your clothes and ending up in the waterways.
* It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but if you follow Hubbub’s four R’s you can’t go too far wrong: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Responsible use.