Reducing Our Plastic Use As A Family

Reducing Our Plastic Use As A Family

Like an increasing number of families out there we are becoming more aware of the negative effects across the globe that our plastic use is having on the planet.  It’s estimated that at least 8.8 billion tonnes of plastic rubbish is floating about in our oceans.  This is not only bad for the wildlife but also ultimately puts human health at risk as well.  I’ve come hyperaware that the only way this is going to change is if we all make an effort to reduce our plastic consumption.  Manufactures have a lot of control over what items are packaged in but consumers are in a position of power too.  Simply by avoiding single use plastic brands and moving to companies with zero or recycled plastic will make other companies change too.

Our Current Plastic Use

I think with the current state of manufacture it would be impossible for our family to become plastic free.  Our best bet to begin with is to start by eliminating as much single use plastic as we can.  However there are even some single use plastic items that we cannot currently escape.

Medication

My eldest son Chase has to have 3 bottles of pediasure a day, attached to the bottle is a plastic straw.  Each of these plastic straws comes wrapped in more unrecyclable plastic.  We currently recycle the bottles and lids but the straws have to go in the bin.  Chase’s other required medication requires a syringe to administer it.  Although we clean and reuse the syringes as long as we can the numbers rub off very quickly.  This means we go through quite a few syringes month.

Nappies & Pads

For medical reasons Chase has to wear single use pads as a precaution. As an 8 year old boy I don’t think I can justify ever moving him over to cloth nappies – especially as he’s worked so hard to become continent over the past few years.  Harper however does have a massive stash of cloth nappies.  I’ve become lazy since she came out of her hip spica cast and need to get back in the swing of using cloth nappies with her.  

stack of colourful cloth nappies

Thanks to the wonders of the mini pill I no longer have use of tampons or pads which is one less single use disposable plastic to worry about.

Baby Wipes for bums, hands and face

One pack of baby wipes last us approximately 3 months – yes you read that correctly!  We always use cloth wipes for nappy changes at home and have a separate set for hands and faces which we simply wet as we need.  If i purchase a small double wet bag I could look to start taking cloth wipes with us when we go out too.  We currently use Cheeky wipes but you could simply purchase a pack of 10 baby washcloths from Ikea and a tupperware box to get you started!

Makeup, Skincare and Bodycare products

Well I’ve dumped this all into one section and I think this is going to be our problem section.  I currently have a HUGE amount of skincare and bodycare products only a teeny tiny amount could be considered low plastic or plastic friendly. Skincare and makeup I think will be harder to tackle than bodycare products as very few items I can think of come in either post recycled plastic or glass containers.  I seem to have a penchant for winning prizes within this range as well so I have a large stockpile to get through before I need to purchase anymore.

Toys

The amount of plastic toys we have quite frankly awful.  Although we do have some high quality wooden ones too.  Once a month I like to buy the kids a magazine each ( also so we can enter the competitions in them!) and they usually come with some ridiculously cheap plastic toys attached to the front cover.

Shopping Bags

I’m pleased to say I have a fab collection of canvas shopping bags, pretty much all of which I have won from various competitions.  I always take these shopping with me and keep some spare in the car in case of unexpected purchases.

plastic free - reusable shopping bags

Our Plastic Use Goal

As a Family the ultimate goal would be to eliminate all single plastic use items where possible.  For items which are only currently available in plastic I’d like them to be made from recycled plastic, and worst case I’d like the items to be able to be recycled.  The reality is I don’t think it will be possible for us to become a zero plastic family but there are definitely changes we can make to offset some of our unavoidable plastic uses.  I’ll also be making a concerted effort to recycle as much plastic as we can.  This may mean buying different items at the supermarket to make sure we actually can recycle it!

plastic free - soap

I’ve already made a few purchases in skincare and bodycare which are zero plastic which every single member of the family will be using.  I’ve also started looking at using more eco friendly cleaning products (which are often packaged in recycled plastic).  I’ll be updating the blog with the items I’ve purchased letting you all know which works brilliantly and if any are epic fails!

plastic free - soap on wooden soap dish and hessian bag

I’m not sure yet how I will combat the plastic toy disaster.  I will opt to buy wooden toys were possible and maybe look at second hand plastic toys.  I’m fortunate enough to win a lot of items for the household so maybe I should focus on making sure when I do have to purchase something it is always plastic free or already made from recycled plastic?

Are you hoping to reduce your families plastic use, if so what steps are you taking? I’d love to hear your tips for easily reducing plastic waste.

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14 Comments

  1. October 2, 2018 / 4:14 pm

    Wow what a fab post, loved reading this and I’m actually just about to catch up on last nights documentary ‘drowning in plastic’
    I have been so tempted to purchase cheeky wipes and reusable diapers. Are they fairly easy to use? Xx

    • October 2, 2018 / 4:26 pm

      Thanks for commenting! Cloth nappies can sometimes be difficult to navigate as there’s so many styles and types available, I will pop up a blog post at some point about the different types and what has worked best for us. I’d recommend seeing if you have a local nappy library (like a library but for cloth nappies!) as they can answer all your questions and let you try cloth nappies first before purchasing – failing that join some Facebook cloth bum groups!

      I wouldn’t be without my cheeky wipes, even if you don’t use cloth nappies they’re still easy to use – in-fact I’d say they’re better than baby wipes! If the idea of washing dirty cloths that have been used to wipe bums freaks you out a little then consider just trying them for hands and faces. Pro tip though don’t order microfibre wipes for hands and faces – they feel horrible IMO go for cotton instead 🙂

  2. Gabriela Kroh
    October 2, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    You are super! I don’t think I could ever be committed to cloth nappies.
    I tried the eco soap for laundry. But unfortunately my shirts came out smelly. I guess my transpiration is too strong for eco soap and needs more chemicals to disappear. I also stopped using softener in the laundry, I don’t miss it at all. One less bottle around the house. Toys, if they are nicely used, and pass them to other children, go to charity shops in the end of their life, I have the feeling they were somehow recycled.
    Also, you can take them to the recycle center, and they do accept them. Weird thing they don’t accept them in the clear bags with the regular garbage.

    • October 2, 2018 / 6:15 pm

      We’re so fortunate to be down the road from a huge recycling centre, makes it a lot easier to recycle a lot of otherwise awkward items. We ditched fabric softener a while back too! You can’t use them with cloth nappies (as it stops them from being absorbent) when I do a load that could do with softening I bung by of white vinegar in the softener drawer, which also helps clean the machine at the same time, win, win!

      • Gabriela
        October 2, 2018 / 7:20 pm

        What a secret! Had no idea about vinegar!

        • October 2, 2018 / 7:33 pm

          It has to be white vinegar though Gabriela, don’t go sticking in a load of brown vinegar 😂

  3. October 4, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    Watching this space to see how you get on- we’ve just about cracked the shopping bags, we use flannels for hands and faces and have ditched the cling film from our lunches but we need to get a lot better. I did do cloth nappies with my eldest but i struggle with keeping on top of laundry for five now i’m Back at work so I don’t think that would work for us. Our major source of pointless plastic is supermarket fruit and veg- it drives me mad!

    • October 4, 2018 / 1:24 pm

      I’ve started by just switching to cloth at night as that’s just one nappy a day to contend with and has a minimal impact on the washing routine!

      I’ve already tried some post consumer plastic recycled goods – with varying results! Hope to have these up on the blog soon 🙂 x

  4. Sarah
    October 4, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    My amazing friend, always inspiring and admirable. I’m sure your post will encourage others to see all changes big or small can make a difference no matter what your lifestyle situation is.
    Skincare wise I’ve found using straight up glass bottled coconut oil and a Muslim cloth works effectively.

    I’m going to be running a plastic free Christmas challenge this year so check out @balancedbodywellnessuk on Facebook if you fancy trying it out x x x

    • October 4, 2018 / 5:39 pm

      Can’t wait to see how your Christmas free plastic goes Sarah!

      I’ve tried coconut oil and a Muslin and coconut oil really doesn’t work well at all with my skin, because it’s comedogenic it clogs up my pores and over time caused spots as well as Milia – some of which I’m yet to get rid of 🙈 I’ve found a cleanser that works brilliantly that’s in recycled plastic that I’m going to post about – but have just heard they’ve made a solid plastic free version of it so will have to go and buy that when I finish up what I’m using 😊

  5. Ailsa
    November 3, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    I’ve tried and abandoned many things! Made my own soap which burnt my skin, dishwasher tablets which disintegrated and didn’t clean dishes, ketchup which nobody would eat and pasta sauce which was a huge amount of effort that everyone moaned about. I also recently purchase a shampoo bar which was great but we forgot about it and it melted into a puddle in the shower. We have made a body scrub and nail oil both of which I think are pretty fab. My daughter, Lara was going to become the next Liz Earle. That didn’t work either…, here is her post about it and how to make it https://laralalibela.wixsite.com/laraxox/blog

    • November 3, 2018 / 8:30 pm

      We’ve been really lucky with our low plastic and plastic free swaps so far – just got to right them up for the blog! Off to have a nose on your daughter’s blog 🙂

  6. joanne farman
    November 30, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    loving your ideas, fab read. We are taking small steps hopefully in the right direction, but it’s so difficult, plastic is just everywhere. we have swapped our shampoo and conditioner for bars instead of Bottle as we went through loads. Body washes were also a hugh issue so we all have our own soap in our own tupperware tubs now and i think its actually cheaper as before the kids would just squirt loads out , most going straight down the plug hole. we also used a lot of bought plastic bottles of water, but now we all have one big refillable bottle wash and again saving money. So so far i’m loving our changes, looking out for our next step, definatly inspired by you , fab write up.

    • November 30, 2018 / 7:08 pm

      That’s brilliant to hear Joanne, love hearing back from others making plastic changes too! I’ve found the most amazing makeup remover/cleansing combination that’s better for the environment, I’m going to post about that soon!

      Well done on making so many amazing changes!

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