So one week into my plastic reduction the headline conclusion is….this is harder than you’d think!
My first hurdle was the Tesco order. I get home deliveries. There’s no way I’m dragging a baby and a toddler around a giant supermarket! Some swaps were easy. We’re getting PlJ Lemon “squash” in a glass bottle rather than lots and lots (and lots and lots) of small plastic ones and I found Flahavan’s porridge oats in a paper bag…yay! But, despite asking the “picker” for my “loose” fruit and veg in paper bags they still turned up in endless plastic bags which have to go straight in my bin:-( I thought the ultimate kick in the teeth was the fact all my little plastic bag wrapped goods had then been placed inside a large brown paper bag…arghhh! I contacted Tesco and they thanked me for bringing it to their attention but essentially told me not to hold my breath! Next week I’m going to pack Mr Cucumber Diaries and toddler off to the local fruit and veg shop and see how they get on.
I also found some “tupperware” style glass containers in Ikea. They have a plastic lid but at least that doesn’t contact the stored food so I’m happy with the compromise. Like all good Ikea products they work well and don’t cost a fortune. I don’t think it’ll be too hard to find alternative uses for our plastic tupperware collection.
We also love these little wrappers for my husband’s sandwiches. Keep Leaf make a whole range of eco friendly storage options in lovely colourful designs. The simple wrap for a round of sandwiches suits us fine and avoids daily cling film or foil ending p in the bin. We picked ours up from WWT Castle Espie gift shop but you can get them all over the place now. We made this change about a year ago and they are still going strong. They fasten with velcro and wash well. I’ll definitely be using them fr the kiddies lunches when they start school!
Belfast City Council was remarkably helpful in dealing with my enquiry regarding what we could put in our blue recycling bin. I thought the website was vague but turns out it’s quite correct – the only type of plastic that can go in the bin is plastic bottles! That’s quite limiting really. We’ll have to find other uses for yoghurt pots and margarine tubs…Pinterest here I come! Did someone say glue gun? I have tried making my own yoghurt into the past. Some batches were OK but it was very hit and miss. The final straw was the time I somehow melted the thermometer. For now it’s going to be shop bought yoghurt although I have moved to larger tubs to reduce overall packaging.
In other news, the washing machine continues to survive on a diet of Bio D washing powder (which comes in awesome paper bags) and Ecover fabric softener (comes in a plastic bag and cardboard box). The washing powder is fine for daily washes but not great at stubborn “lasagne-type” stains. I admit to having a sneaky bottle of Vanish in the cupboard which I feel very guilty about but try to reserve it for disasters. If anyone has any winner eco-friendly stain removers that really work please let me know! The Ecover softener does a reasonable job and “Amongst the Flowers” smells nice. It’ll not leave your clothes super soft but it’s better than a long list of other things I’ve tried! I’ve tried loads of laundry product combinations over the years and I’m relatively happy with this at the moment. It’s by no means perfect but has less impact on the environment than many other options.
Bio D (we love them!) also do a great washing up liquid which we find works well – just as good as any supermarket brand anyway. We’ve used it for quite a while without any problems. It comes in 5 litre plastic containers which isn’t ideal – there must be something useful I could re-purpose them into? At least they can go into our recycling bin if all else fails. Also, buying in bulk usually means less packaging over all. I find Ethical Superstore our best bet. They do free shipping (even to Northern Ireland!!!) on orders over £50.
So that’s our progress in the kitchen so far. Keep an eye out for the bathroom update coming soon:-)