In preparation for the upcoming month, I’ve been busy thinking about the plastic use in my everyday life and whether there are non-plastic alternatives available. I’ve come to the conclusion that I encounter throw-away plastic in predominantly two main areas: the bathroom and the kitchen. Take a moment and think about it (or even wander to your bathroom to see what I mean): shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid hand soap, shaver. And then: deodorant, moisturiser, toothbrush, toothpaste tube and, hang on a sec, what’s that encasing the pack of 9 loo rolls? Yep, that’s right – plastic!
Now let’s go to the kitchen: water bottles, bin liners, scrubbing brush and a whole slew of cleaning products which can come in non-recyclable containers. Not to mention the biggest hurdle of them all: the weekly food shop – think about the packaging around crisps, biscuits, cereal, ready meals, and even lettuce. You get my point.
Much to my surprise and delight, I discovered that a lot of the stuff I’d previously thought of as non-recyclable, is now being collected in the recycling bins by the local council. Cambridge City Council have now listed the following items as being recyclable (on top of the usual lot):
- Plastic bags from breakfast cereals
- Plastic wrappers from multipacks of cans and plastic bottles
- Plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen towel
- Plastic wrappers from groceries
- Plastic freezer bags
- Plastic magazine and newspaper wrap
- Bubble wrap
- Clingfilm (clean)
These items were on my ‘avoidance’ lists as I thought they’d end up in landfill so I guess this shows something pretty common sense: actually look up first what can be recycled. The list keeps being updated as new technologies develop and the need to recycle becomes more urgent.
As part of the plastic challenge I haven’t written off recyclable plastic but I’m going to do my best to minimise plastic use because it’s often unnecessary. Also, any plastic, recyclable or not, which is single use (used only once and gets chucked) will be completely avoided.
So far I’ve mainly shopped for zero plastic bathroom alternatives. See if you can suss out my alternative solutions (detailed post coming soon)!