*AD – please note the Sodastream featured in this post was gifted
11 Easy Plastic Swaps That I Have Made and 10 I am Planning To Do
I am not going to admit to being a total eco-warrior. I am still using disposable nappies as I just can’t face the volume of washing they bring (I did use them for Aria). I also still use a lot of food pouches for Bo which I know isn’t great and why I try to line dry as much as possible I do have a tumble drier. But I do believe we all have a responsibility to look at the destruction we are reaping on our planet. The images of plastic in our seas and beaches I don’t think can fail to move you and I think we must act and make changes now before we irrevocably destroy the world we want our children to grow up in.
Deciding to make changes and actually making them is a different story. A friend said to me concentrate on what you can do and not what you can’t and the changes will soon make a difference. So I just started by changing one thing at a time. Trying them and changing habits and when this was done, moving on to the next thing. Here are eleven swaps I have made already and ten I am planning to make in the future.
1. Reusable Bags
First and foremost we really need to abolish the single use plastic bag, we do reuse a lot as bin liners in our house, but if you think about litter and damage to the environment how many plastic bags do you see everywhere?
It’s so easy to buy reusable ones, they’re everywhere and there are some pretty funky designs too. The fold-up bags are great for keeping in your handbag, coat pocket or car, so you always have one on you.
2. Water Bottle
Bottled water really is another thing we need to drastically reduce. For Christmas my husband bought me a really lovely Chilly’s water bottle. One of the things I really like about it, which you can’t get with a plastic bottle is that it keeps water cold for 24 hours which is fab. And it looks super pretty too (mine is covered in flowers). More than 480 billion plastic water bottles were sold worldwide in 2016, just think about that statistic for a minute and the impact it must be having on the environment. If everyone tried where possible to carry a water bottle with them wherever they went this could have a massive impact.
3. Make Up Remover Pads
I absolutely love my make up remover pads and wish I had swapped to the sooner. I used to use the disposable make up remover wipes for years… when I think about the amount of waste I must have generated with them now. I got mine from Cheeky Wipes and they’re lovely and soft and a really good size too. I just have a mesh bag in the bathroom and put the dirty ones in there which I just put in the washing machine when it’s getting full. They wash up really well too, no make up stains after washing so far.
4. Milk Bottles
I was indecisive about this one as it does cost more money to buy milk from the milk man. Of course you are getting it delivered straight to your door rather than having to go out and buy it, so there is a service factor to the cost. But we decided to give it a try and haven’t looked back really. I find it easier to keep on top of our milk consumption as I can amend the order up to midnight the night before the delivery and can add more or take some off as required. The dirty milk bottles just go in the dishwasher when they’re finished and then back out to be reused for another day.
5. Menstrual Cup
I have thought about getting a menstrual cup for years, I’ve read about them thought they were too icky and held off. Several of my friends have recommended them to me though. The tipping point however was since my periods returned after Bodhi was born, they have been really heavy. I had the same after Aria and had scans to check and it just seems to be a hormonal thing for me. On the worst day I can go through a tampon and pad every 1-2 hours. I actually worry about going out and leakages. So when I heard a menstrual cup can hold 20ml of blood versus the 5ml a tampon holds I decided it can only make my life easier. I’ve used one for 2 cycles now and I can honestly say there is no way I am going back to tampons. It has changed my period! It’s so much more comfortable, you have to change it less often, no flooding. I think I may write a separate post on this as I really wasn’t sure about this myself and now I am a complete convert. Also it’s saving me so much money.
6. Child’s Face Wipes
I’m really not sure about washable wipes for nappy changes. Surely that’s a lot of poop to be putting in your washing machine! But, when it comes to meal time my little one likes to get in a great deal of mess. I’ve tried flannels before but I seem to need a new one every meal time which wasn’t quite working, so then I would end up using wipes. However, Cheeky Wipes have one again come to the rescue with their face wipes pack. They are small flannels that come in a multipack. You keep them in a tub which they come with which you put a little bit of water and oil in, so they are wet and ready to wipe and when you have finished just pop them into a bag ready to chuck in the wash. They’re great and so much better than baby wipes too!
I do like fizzy drinks, we don’t drink a lot of alcohol in our house, so we do tend to drink a lot of sparkling drinks. While the cans are more recyclable, plastic bottles for soft drinks are as bad as water bottles and cans they often come shrink wrapped in plastic too. An alternative to this is the good old SodaStream machine.
The gas comes in metal canisters which can just be posted back to SodaStream to be reused and can make 60 litres of sparkling water. Yes, the flavours do come in plastic bottles, which I hope SodaStream will change in the future, but they do make 9 litres of drink which is a lot more than you would get if you even bought a large bottle of soda. Plus, they are super fun to make too.
8. Recyclable Wrapping Paper
At Christmas I made the conscious decision to purchase brown gift wrapping paper or checking that the paper I was buying was 100% recyclable. There is no need for gift wrap to have plastic in and just makes an incredible amount of waste if it can’t be recycled. So from now on, every gift wrap I buy will be brown paper or 100% recyclable or I won’t be buying it.
9. Sandwich Boxes and Pots
Whenever I make up a picnic or packed lunch I no longer use clingfilm or foil for anything I make. I have little pots for sandwiches, fruit, cakes or whatever we take with us. These pots can then be washed up and reused ready for the next time creating waste.
10. Reusable Straws
Plastic straws are up there with plastic bags with one of the worst plastic pollutants. And they are so easy to change you can buy metal ones or even hard plastic ones that are reusable very cheaply and easily. According to National Geographic in the US alone 500 million plastic straws are used every day. Honestly find this number unfathomable, and just think of the waste it creates and energy used to make and distribute them.
I agree the paper ones you now get in restaurants are awful and go soggy, so why not pop a reusable one in your bag next time you go out to solve the problem?
11. Washable Breast Pads
As a still breastfeeding Mum I find that I still need to use breast pads. With my daughter I decided to look into reusable breast pads. The cost and waste being the main reason behind the decision. I have now had my pads for two babies and they are so much more comfortable than the disposable ones. I am using the Little Lamb disposable pads and they have got better with each wash.
10 Things that I am Plan to Swap Next
So above is 10 things I have already swapped, there are so many more things that I can do but I find it so much more doable taking one thing at a time. Below is the 10 things I am planning to swap over next.
- Recycled and paper wrapped toilet roll (I have been looking at Who Gives a Crap)
- Natural scourers and scrubbing brushes for the kitchen
- Research some alternatives to cling film – washable food bags and silicone pot and bowl covers
- Washable sanitary products – not sure how I feel about this but I usually use some sanitary towels as well as tampons, so I may order a couple of trial items and see how I get on. Again the ick factor is putting me off a bit, but I also need to consider over the course of my life how much plastic these create and how much landfill
- Alternative ways to purchase our fruit and veg as at the moment all of it comes on our weekly shop from Ocado and all of it comes wrapped in plastic which is just wasteful and unnecessary
- Replacing all liquid hand soaps in the bathrooms with soap dishes and bars of soap
- Look into using silicone mats instead of baking parchment for cooking
- Switch from plastic condiment bottles to glass jars
- Change to a metal razor rather than a plastic one
- Change tea bags to either loose tea or Tea Pigs which are made without plastic in them and no plastic packaging
Are you trying to replace single use plastic in your home, how are you doing? Are there any items you think would be easy to switch that I have missed?