The Mums NI Team have been thinking about the ridiculous amount of single-use plastic that we blindly put straight into our household waste bin and send to landfill. Most of it comes from unnecessary extra food packaging - why are carrots in a bag anyway? We also do a lot of recycling and trust that once our bin is lifted our recyclable items are sent off to be recycled.
We are relatively new to our War on Plastic journey and as a family we have made the following steps in reducing our single-use plastic usage. We understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that we have a long way to go to reduce our plastic use even further, but at least we have acknowledged the problem and made a start.
We purchased a set of 4 trolley bags from Tesco about a year ago. They cost us £20. These bags are really sturdy and are placed directly into the trolley on our weekly shop. We scan our items as we go around the store and place them into the designated bags. It saves us from needing to use 8+ plastic carrier bags at the checkout.
We have a Pep & Co Bag for Life in the boot of the car. This is used for shopping trips during the week so that we don’t have to purchase anymore bags at the till for things like extra milk and bread. This has really cut down on the amount of those single-use plastic bags in our home.
Where possible, we have stopped buying fruit and vegetables that come wrapped in extra plastic. In Tesco you can buy brown paper bags for your Food Waste Bin. They are the right size for placing your loose carrots, broccoli, apples etc in. We now bring two of them with us for our weekly shop that we use in conjunction with our trolley bags - one for fruit and the other for veg.
Tesco also do unbleached brown paper bags to be used for food such as sandwiches. They are fully compostable. We have swapped the single-use plastic food bags for these and know that they will be ideal for use on picnics and for packed lunches.
We didn’t really use straws in our house, but we did have a packet of them. We operate a no straw policy in our house, not even the paper ones. Basically, if the kids aren’t used to using them, they will have no need for them in the future. They just drink straight from the glass.
So, so, so many pots. Our kids do like eating yoghurts and custard. But they always come in a plastic pot. We do have a few left in the fridge that will be eaten this week. Once they are gone we won’t be buying them anymore. Instead, we will be buying two large pots of yoghurt and one large pot of custard and spooning them out into small glass jars (baby food jars) as and when needed for lunches. We will reuse the yoghurt and custard pots as they have lids.
I refused point blank to purchase any more cheese aimed at kids. We have being buying packets of cheese for the kids lunches purely for convenience. Each individual slice comes wrapped in plastic that goes straight to landfill. No more! Instead, we will be buying a large block of cheese at the counter and wrapping it one of the brown paper bags. We will cut a slice off when needed and wrap it up in a paper bag for lunch boxes.
This was a biggie for me. I’m an Always sanitary towel girl. Have been since the age of 11. I’ve rather bravely made the switch to period underwear from ModiBodi. I’m so glad I did. Modibodi are just utterly fantastic and I wish I made the switch before now. They actually do work! I can’t ever see myself going back to using sanitary pads. Think of all those sanitary items that have ended up in the landfill. Crazy!
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtall and Anita Rani from BCC One’s War on Plastic have started a campaign and are encouraging the public to return single-use plastic packaging to superstores this week using the hashtag #OurPlasticFeedback. We will be taking part. Hopefully if enough people do it, big superstores like Tesco and Sainsbury's might take us under their notice and do something about the problem. We would urge them to do the right thing: stop using unnecessary plastic on our items!
That’s our efforts as a family so far on the War on Plastic. We know it’s small steps but each step contributes towards tackling the problem. We are going to be looking into alternatives for our household cleaning products and bathroom items - so if any of you have any recommendations, we’d be delighted to hear them.
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of WWF said: “We are the first generation to know we are destroying the world and the last one that can do anything about it”. So let’s all collectively do something about it!