plastic free

Inspired by nzecochick, who along with thousands of people in New Zealand, Australia and an increasing number of other countries, went plastic free in July.  I decided I would attempt to do the same in September.

I have given myself August to start planning and preparing.  This is an arbitrary and incomplete list of the plastic already in our house.

  1. pet food sacks
  2. toiletry containers
  3. cleaning product containers
  4. food wrapping
  5. toothbrushes
  6. hairbrushes
  7. food storage containers
  8. cd cases
  9. dvd cases
  10. bags
  11. freezer bags
  12. bin bags
  13. medicine bottles
  14. dairy cartons
  15. pencil cases
  16. junk mail/catalogue covers
  17. watering cans
  18. clothes pegs
  19. washing maching balls
  20. tumble drier balls
  21. chopping board
  22. kitchen sink plug
  23. fermenting bin
  24. parcel packaging
  25. wrapping tape
  26. folders
  27. meat baster
  28. shower cap
  29. razor
  30. clothes packaging (multibuy underwear, shirts etc)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist.  Suddenly it didn’t seem so easy after all.  Also with three teenage daughters and a husband who thinks that one can go too far and I am approaching that point, I am going to be flying solo.

Fortunately the plastic free movement is live and kicking.  There is a vast array of blogs and information sites on the internet:

Yesterday I walked around the house and looked at what I could change immediately.

  • stainless steel water bottles
  • enamel picnic ware
  • stainless steel straws
  • replace travel mugs (ours are falling apart)
  • bamboo  picnic cutlery
  • stainless steel lunchboxes
  • wooden chopping boards
  • clothes pegs
  • make own yoghurt
  • make own toiletries and cleaning products
  • use stainless steel containers for toiletries and cleaning products
  • download music
  • use DVD library and Netflix
  • cut up a loofah for a pan scrubber

Also I have discovered that there is a Food Weigh House in Gateshead and in Newcastle so I may just be able to buy bulk without packaging after all.  My wonderful butcher thinks I am bonkers but is happy to let me use my own containers and now I just have to have the same conversation with my very friendly fishmonger.  Fortunately the greengrocers are already quite happy for me to tip everything willy nilly into my bags.

Plastic free kitchen storage is going to be a problem.  I need big storage containers for flours, nuts, rice, etc.  I have found some good deals for 2 and 3 litre kilner jars but they are just too (1cm to be precise) tall for my pantry shelves.  I may be able to move some stuff around but this is going to be a more complex issue than just buying new jars.  If anyone knows of any wide & flatter glass storage containers, at least 2l in size please let me know.

So that’s the tip of the iceberg sorted.  Now for the rest.  What plastic can you exclude in September?

11 thoughts on “plastic free

  1. I collected a lot of glass jars in which I store dry products like beans and rice. I also use them to put partly-cut vegetables in them instead of using plastic wrap. I’ve also put vegetables in the glass jars and put them in the freezer.
    Wooden combs/hairbrushes are quite easy to find in normal stores 🙂 My wooden brush has pig-hair bristles.
    Bin bags are more difficult, but if you only put dry things in it you may not need a bin bag. As I haven’t been able to find plastic-free-packaged toilet paper here, I use the plastic toilet paper bags in my bins (also some other plastic bags, but I don’t want to buy bin bags anymore…).
    Metal/fabric pencil cases are easy to find, I think? Almost all of the pencil cases here are made of metal. Or you could make one out of fabric with a zipper.
    As for junk mail/catalogue covers, I just unsubscribed from everything (I changed to digital if possible). In the Netherlands you can also put a NO/NO sticker on your mailbox, so you don’t get junkmail.
    I have a lot of clothes pegs made of wood and metal, which I got from my grandmother. Ask around if (older) people still have them?
    …what do you use a tumbler drier ball for? I only have a washing machine ball :O
    Chopping board: it should be easy to find a wooden one, right? I only have wooden ones. In some stores they also sell them without plastic packaging.
    I wouldn’t replace my kitchen sink plug though 😛 But I rent my home so that might be a difference.
    Parcel packaging/wrapping tape: Can you find paper tape? It was hard to find here in the Netherlands, but I found some in an office supplies store which deliberately didn’t sell (new) plastic (so everything they have is recycled plastic or other materials like paper/wood/metal), and in the do-it-yourself store (for example painting tape).
    For clothing, secondhand or make your own? But if you make your own, you have the choice between polyester and cotton thread. Most thread you can buy is polyester, so you have to watch out if you want to buy cotton thread (personally I like cotton thread better because I sew a lot of cotton and linen).

    But to avoid putting all the plastic things you don’t want anymore into the garbage, try trading or just giving/selling the things to people who’d otherwise buy them new? And start with the easy things, as all little bits help 😛 I think plastic/oil could better be used for other things than throw-away packaging… That’s why I use as little as possible of it.

  2. This is great – I’d love to do this too. I will see how you get on and maybe think about it once I’ve reached a level of less stuff that I’m happy with. Looking forward to updates!

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