Usually I’m writing about natural skincare, but as I have been so focused of reducing the plastic in my day to day life, I thought I’d share my findings. This is an ongoing process so I’d love to hear about your plastic replacements.
I think we’re slowly realising the cost plastic is having on our health and environment. For example, it breaks down, ends up in the ocean, fish eat it, we eat the fish-yuck! On an even more personal note, the chemicals that leach from the plastic into our food, mimic oestrogen and this can fuel diseases like oestrogen positive breast cancer. These foreign oestrogens are not good for my son or husband either so this is why plastic in my home, had to go! They say that 5% of cancer is genetic and 95% is lifestyle (food, skincare, environmental…) so it’s worth reducing our risk where we can.
I say reduce plastic because it’ll be impossible to eliminate it. I also think that making a few small changes to items used daily can make a difference, then I don’t worry about those items I use occasionally, or if I go camping and everything is plastic.
For me, some of the best materials to replace plastic are glass; stainless steel; wood; canvas; paper and silicone.
These are changes I made so far:
Drinking bottles: I switched my husband and my bottles to glass and my daughters to stainless steel. Initially I loved my glass bottle, I took it everywhere, until we needed some extra water for our trip, so we took my daughters stainless steel one. This was when I was converted, stainless steel drinking bottles are lighter and act like a flask to keep water cold all day. That was a hot day and the water was so cold and fresh, I decided to buy myself a stainless steel bottle. Also the glass ones all come with a plastic lid which you drink out of.
I have found the best place but them from is TK Maxx, as there’s a good range and they are priced well.
Lunch boxes: glass for my husband and I, they do have a plastic lid but these don’t need to touch the food. My daughter has stainless steel and my son still gets free school meals-happy days. The glass containers are great because they can go in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher etc. So they make good storage containers as well.
TK Maxx has a good range, always check their clearance range. The stainless steel lunchbox, I’ll shamefully admit, came in from China on Ebay. They are not easy to find and are very expensive when you find them and I can’t send glass to school.
Cling film: I recently purchased an Eco Friendly Toxin Free Food Wrap, its made from silicone and is easy to wash and reuse. It’s very easy to use and sticks onto your bowl (or whatever you’re covering) easily, making it airtight (you need to stretch it over). Silicone is a great toxic free substitute for plastic. There however, hasn’t been extensive testing done when it’s heated, so I use it, but don’t bake with it.
You can buy it here:
Storage containers: as previously mentioned, glass works very well. Keep and reuse all your jars, I even freeze them, just cool completely before freezing. I have also started using these (see below) silicone pouches. They can go in the fridge, freezer, microwave (I have not tried this) and dishwasher. I bought them on Amazon.
Sandwich bags: I like these unbleached paper bags which are strong and a bit like grease proof paper. Buy them here, or on Amazon.
Shopping bags: I bought some plain canvas shopping bags, which work well. I buy all my fruit and vegetables from a local farm stall (Fiveways fresh seasonal veg), the food is not wrapped in plastic, it’s loose or the cases are in cardboard boxes, even the local honey comes in glass jars. They also sell eggs, which come in cardboard trays, which can be returned. I am excited that they will soon be selling meat as well.
Cooking utensils: stainless steel and wooden utensils have replaced my plastic ones, these are heated so plastic ones pose a much greater risk.
Coffee: I have to admit I loved my Tassimo coffee! But those pods are plastic, which have boiling water pushed through them. The coffee machine parts are also plastic and as preciously mentioned, the risk is higher when plastic is heated. As I had become a bit of a coffee snob, this was bad news, however Nescafé’s Azera instant coffee is very satisfying, so the switch hasn’t been to tough!
Skincare bottles: as you may already know (from previous blogs), I make my own skincare. I make bars of soap and shampoo. I store my creams in little reused individual jam jars (from a local hotel). Please check out my Facebook if you’re interested.
I also ditched my vinyl table cloth, exposing my wooden tabletop, wooden place mats and glass coasters. I also said good-bye to my kids plastic cups and plates, but I am lucky that they are now at the age where I can do that, if they were younger, it would be much harder.
So where do you start? Start with the plastic items that get heated, these are your most high risk items. Never heat anything in the microwave in plastic and don’t pour boiling water either.
There are many findings against plastic, however if you’re still on the fence about it, just do some research into it. I am certainly not an expert in this field, I’ve just read enough to convince myself that the switch is worth it.
If you have found some other cool plastic-free products or have some diy hacks, I would love to hear from you!