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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.