Whilst we would all love to say we will never use plastic ever again it is not really possible at the moment as there are not a great number if useable alternatives. We can however, aim to give up disposable or single use plastics. These plastics are made from fossil fuels, have a huge carbon footprint, are not really recycled, pollute our oceans and will still be here in hundreds of years.
Thankfully the UK has already made a start towards this by charging for plastic bags and plans to ban the use of plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers by 2020 but there is still a long way to go.
What can we do to reduce disposable/single use plastics?
The great news is that there are lots of alternatives to single use plastics out there now that are more affordable and available to us all. Below are some hints and tips of the small changes that can be made so that our daily lives are that little bit greener.
- Reusable coffee cups – most coffee shops will offer a discount for customers with a reusable cup.
- Reusable water bottles – fill them up before you go out but also check refill.org.uk or download their app to see where you can top up your bottles when out and about.
- Reusable shopping bags – either reuse all those old plastic bags that clog up the cupboard under the sink or use a cloth bag.
- Reusable straws and cutlery sets – say no to plastic straws or buy some metal or bamboo ones to take with you; reusable cutlery sets are also available in handy boxes that will just slip into a bag for when they might be needed.
- Drink loose leaf tea (believe it or not the majority of tea bags in the UK contain a thin layer of polypropylene plastic) or look for a tea bag that states they are plastic free.
- Use beeswax food wraps or vegan wax wraps to keep food fresh in the fridge rather than clingfilm.
- Shampoo bars and natural deodorants – these cut down on plastic bottles and are great for travel as there is no chance of any leaks.
- Soap Nuts – these replace your washing powder, naturally sourced, no plastic and once used 100% biodegradable.
- Period pants/menstrual cups/reusable sanitary pads – there are many versions of these now, which are environmentally friendly and also more cost effective in the long run.
- Go paperless for your house hold bill and get shops to email receipts to you.
- Buy local produce or should you feel green fingered grow vegetables and fruit at home.
- Take your own containers to the supermarket to buy fruit and vegetables.
- Try and find your local packaging free/refill business – these are springing up all over the UK. They sell dry good such as pasta, rice, pulses, flour, nuts, tea, coffee etc you take your own containers to fill and pay by weight.
- Use cloth or eco-nappies and wipes – normal disposable nappies and wipes are made of polyester which is a plastic derivative, this means that every single nappy used is still in existence and will be for the next few hundred years. A startling thought when on average 8 million nappies a day are used in the UK.
The thought of all the plastic we use can be very overwhelming and horrifying but even if we implement just one or two small changes it can make a difference and be the start of bigger changes. Some things will work for us and some won’t, but it is about finding a balance.
At Mama Bamboo we hope to be able to give parents more choice by providing award winning eco-friendly nappies and wipes that are super soft, absorbent, naturally antibacterial, breathable and sustainable. We want to achieve a balance through our 3 key values: Best for Baby, Best for You, Best for Mama Earth.
Jennie Potts a wife, mother and the other half of Mama Bamboo. Following a career break, she has jumped back in at the deep end: filling every role necessary for starting up a new company. When she is not investigating more sustainable living and more eco-friendly products she exercises to keep her sane; attempts to manage the 3 men in her life (her husband, her son and her dog) with limited success and on the rare occasion of a quiet moment can be found in the bath with a glass of wine and a good book.