Why I’m still using plastic

September 4, 2019

You might be a bit surprised by the title of this blog post, given my recent passion for environmentally friendly swaps. You’ll know from my oversharing about my menstrual cup that I no longer use disposable period products, opting for the cup and period pants instead.

I’ve also bought Chilly’s bottles* for all of us (I LOVE these, and would highly recommend them!) and Matthew has a stainless steel lunch box* for work. I’ve also started using a shower gel block instead of bottled shower gel (more on that soon; I’ll write a review once I’ve had a chance to use it for a bit longer and can give it a full assessment!).

But I’m still using lots of plastic daily. Why? Well, because many of the plastics that we use aren’t single use, and it would be more harmful to the environment if we just shoved them in landfill now, without using them until the end of their lives. Or I melt them on the kettle. Believe it or not, that’s happened more than once!

All summer we’ve been picnicking with a mixture of stainless steel and plastic containers. Plastic tubs are so handy for transporting sandwiches, vegetable sticks, dips and fruit pieces. They’re leakproof and light to carry. I’m not concerned about other people judging my use of plastic, because I know that I’m making good use of the plastic that I already own, until it really can’t be used anymore.

Once my plastic products need replacing, I’ll look to making more sustainable purchases. And that means looking beyond the item itself. Too often products that market themselves as being eco friendly come packaged in masses of plastic, or are shipped from the other side of the world. I’m trying to think about where my purchases are coming from a bit more.

I still use Amazon a lot, but I’m encouraged by the fact that less and less plastic packaging is coming through my door from them. I also opt to have my order grouped into as few deliveries as possible, even if it means waiting a little longer for them. I then reuse and/or recycle the packaging wherever possible, whether it’s to post things things I’ve sold preloved to the people who’ve bought them, or by using them as part of a craft activity with the girls. They love a cardboard box far more than any of the plastic toys in their toy boxes.

That’s another thing; the girls do still have plastic toys. Admittedly, most of them were bought by other people or have been gifted to us to review here on the blog. But I’m learning to say no to things that I wouldn’t purchase myself now that we’re trying to be more sustainable, and that means no plastic. Hopefully, I’ve talked enough with friends and family about the changes that we’ve been making, so they will purchase more sustainable gifts for the girls in future. Once the girls have grown out of their plastic toys, I’ll sell them or send them to charity shops, so that others can get more use out of them.

Plastic bags also feature in my food shop, but rather than claiming my free replacement plastic ‘bag for life’ from the supermarket when my existing one gets a hole in it, I’m replacing it with a fabric bag instead. Because a ‘bag for life’ isn’t really for life at all, is it? It’s a few months in terms of its useful life, and then countless lifetimes in landfill before it even begins to degrade.

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

So, my mission is to keep on reusing all of the plastic I own until it’s completely unusable, or passing it on for others to use once we have no use for it. Then, I’ll be replacing it with something different, and more sustainable. Until then, I’ll keep being unfashionable with my plastic on display!

How about you? Are you trying to reduce the amount of plastic you’re using? Have you made any sustainable swaps? Tell me about them in the comments, I’d love some more ideas of how I can better look after our planet!

If you’re interested in reading more about my thoughts on sustainability, you might enjoy this post about reducing water use, and this post about why menstrual cups are awesome if you get your period while on holiday.

*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.

2 responses to “Why I’m still using plastic”

  1. Jane Willis says:

    At last, somebody who agrees with me that plastic isn’t necessarily the root of all evil! Plastic’s great advantage is its durability, which makes it a very poor choice for single use items but where durability is needed, as in things like toys and storage containers, it’s still a great choice. Look at Fisher Price toys – yes, they are made of plastic, but I know of many that are being played with now by the grandchildren of their original owners.
    The big problem is not with plastics per se, but with SINGLE USE plastics. Indeed, single use ANYTHING is a problem. Back in the 1980s we were all being told to stop using paper carrier bags to save trees, yet now plastic carriers are being replaced with paper ones when what we really need to be using is a durable shopping bag that will last for hundreds or thousands of uses.
    Instead of demonising one material, we need to take a long, hard look at the current throwaway culture and do everything we can to minimise single use products of all types.

    • Jules says:

      Totally agree with single use being the issue. I’m going to avoid buying any new plastic, though, as I want less of it to be made, going forward. I think we all need to make smarter choices when we’re shopping, and not be afraid of second hand (something I am guilty of myself!).

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