Plastic-free Swaps to Save the Planet
If you’ve made it to the Kite Nest blog, it’s safe to say you haven’t been living under a rock. You know about the plastic problem facing the planet. There are many easy swaps to take and if we all changed even just a few things, it would add up to a whole lot of good plastic reduction.
This is how I started. I thought it would be helpful to share a few ideas of what we’ve successfully swapped as a small family trio. Perhaps it will spark some ways to reduce your own plastic reduction or re-fuel your promises if you’ve already started the process. One important thing to mention - we didn’t change everything overnight. Our plastic-free reduction has been a slow process of reducing bits one by one, but we’ve already noticed how quickly it adds up.
The first place we started. Cling film was a big bugbear of mine so that went first. Swiftly followed by food and freezer bags. Both were easily swapped for reusable tubs.
Shopping bags came next. We began recycling our shopping bags and replacing them with permanent bags. Most supermarkets have collection bins and Ocado even pays you to take them back off your hands (though not currently, due to the Coronavirus outbreak). Similarly, bread bags are collected at supermarkets in the bag recycling bins, so we started to save them up - alongside cereal liners, frozen food bags, and bubble wrap. You can read more here.
To avoid those pesky fruit and veg bags, most supermarkets now sell reusable fruit and veg bags near (you guessed it!), the fruit and veg aisle. This means we can pick everything loose with no plastic guilt. We picked up our cotton mesh bags from Lidl.
The Cleaning Cupboard
The easiest swap was ditching single-use wipes for antibacterial spray and washable cloths. We discovered a brand called Koh - an antibacterial all-purpose cleaner with reusable bottles and machine washable cloths.
Gone are our days of heading to the dustbin for non-recyclables. Instead, we now make an extra effort to recycle more using Terracycle for the plastics that are not collected. They take near to everything you can’t traditionally recycle: crisp packets, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, chocolate wrappers, sweet wrappers, soap dispenser triggers, cleaning bottle spray nozzles…the list goes on. To use Terracycle, you just need to find a local collector (which you can find via their website), deliver to them which they send on to Terracycle. Not only does more waste get recycled but also charities and schools can collect points to redeem for donations.
A cute cuddly baby comes with nappies, many nappies. While there are biodegradable alternatives on the market, there is a fairly large premium in price. We decided to go the full hog and use reusable nappies - saving 25 nappies from landfill every week. Especially given those 25 nappies would outlive our little one by at least 100 years. Similarly, you are a miracle worker if you aren’t going to go through what feels like a million baby wipes. When reusables are not as practical we use Boot’s fully biodegradable and plastic-free wipes, whilst Morrisons and Aldi have also started making their own plastic-free versions.
Then there’s food. If you find that food pouches are a handy lifesaver, Ella’s kitchen has joined forces with Terracycle. This program takes and recycles Ella’s baby food pouches and snack wrappers. Read about Ellacycle here.
Now that’s fewer things to worry about when changing nappies, running after a toddler who’s turning out to be a very fast crawler and hoping you can still get milk during self-isolation.
In the bathroom, the simplest switch is swapping out plastic bottled shower gels and shampoo for plastic-free alternatives. And what’s this… oh yes, Kite Nest. I have personally tried the activated charcoal soap from their store which has become an instant replacement. It has a gorgeous fresh spa-like scent. Not to forget their zesty lemon shampoo bars.
So there you have it. That’s over 20 different items of plastic now banished from our household. And guess what? We feel loads better for it. Hopefully, this has inspired you to make some switches too. Remember, it’s not about changing everything overnight. It’s about changing small habits over time.
Thanks for reading, if you would like to read more from me, I write a blog ‘The Adventures of Daddy and Munchkin’ which you can find on Wordpress here. I’ve also written another guest blog for KiteNest on tips to avoid the lockdown lows.