Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Update on trying to reduce my plastic use...

A while ago, I talked about how I was cutting down on plastics where possible and trying to move to plastic-free products. I'm still muddling along, trying to do my best... Today I want to share my successes and fails.

Let's do successes first.

1. Tea
I drink a gazillion cups of tea a year. I don't drink coffee. I use a teapot with a stainless steel inner (London Pottery Teapot) and loose tea. Finding plastic-free decaffeinated loose tea has been an uphill battle that I've not yet won, but I've gone for the least plastic to tea ratio I can in buying a 1 kg pack of Taylors of Harrogate tea. This gets decanted into airtight storage jars and I send the wrapper to be recycled via Walkers crisps (as it's the same construction). Not perfect. In an ideal world, I would be able to buy the tea wrapped in paper, but there's nowhere near here that does that. I buy Tesco's Scottish Blend loose leaf tea and it comes in a cardboard and paper pack - no silver paper/silver plastic bag around the tea. I suspect that there are more teabags available plastic-free than when I started doing this, but I've got used to making my tea like this and the used leaves are thrown on the garden so get incorporated into the soil.

2. Soap
About a year ago, I started to use soaps made by Friendly Soap Ltd. Not only are their soaps amazing, they're also vegan (if that matters to you), not tested on animals, are biodegradable, contain no palm oil... essentially, they tick all the right boxes, and their prices are sensible! I love them for my skin (but you'll see a fail a bit later in the post...)

3. Loo rolls
I'm still buying my loo rolls from Who Gives a Crap - I like the company ethos and the fact that 50% of their profits go to charities involved with clean water and sanitation. I've moved from the recycled paper loo rolls to the bamboo ones - partly because the bamboo is nicer, but also because I read that some recycled paper can get contaminated with plastic if it's not sorted properly and I was concerned that I was flushing microplstics into the water system.

If you'd like to try Who Gives a Crap, you can get £5 off your first order by following this link: https://www.talkable.com/x/seofIR You could get 48 rolls of the bamboo toilet paper for £35 with free delivery using the link. Of course, they also do tissues and kitchen roll and stuff too!

Okay, so what's not worked?

1. Shampoo bar
I desperately wanted this to work, but I don't know if it's the soap, my hair or the water where we live, but it just turns my hair to straw. I used the Friendly Soap bar and I know others have sworn by it and have great responses, but not me. In fairness, I haven't tried any other brands. In the past, I used Lush, but they are so heavily scented and there's something in them that makes my eczema flare up. I'll keep trying, but that was not a success.

2. Grocery Shopping
We've definitely cut back - using our own paper bags and buying loose fruit and veg - but it's absolutely impossible to be completely plastic-free with the shops we have available here. What's worse, is that the plastic used is often non-recyclable too. I'm trying to console myself that at least we're cutting back and also have been putting pressure on the supermarkets to reduce their plastic (emails, customer satisfaction surveys, online protests etc.). But it's still a fail...

What tips do you have to help cut plastic use? I'm desperate to reduce my footprint on the planet!



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