Going Waste & Plastic Free

A few days ago I wrote a blog post about a Weigh-and-Save future. It talked about ditching the supermarket and starting to buy items from independent shops that don’t sell products in ridiculous packaging and where you only buy what you need.

Imagine that you can only afford £1 worth of laundry detergent because you’re skint. You would go to a shop where you only have to buy £1 worth of laundry detergent. It’s best to go ahead and buy that £1 worth of detergent, rather than not being able to afford a whole box. It would be amazing to spend less when pennies are tight. When buying loose food, it would reduce the amount we waste and also reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in the landfill. Many of us are guilty of buying too much. We can purchase a bag of bananas (eugh plastic bag alert!) and end up binning the odd banana that wasn’t eaten in time. In our house, any bananas that start going a bit off, I mash and freeze to use in cakes or smoothies. I am epic at freezing food to reduce waste!

Whilst I was writing the post about a Weight-And-Save future, I suddenly realised that despite being very frugal- only using cloth nappies, cloth sanitary protection, not buying kitchen roll and various other methods of saving money (such as preserving food), I do not think twice about buying something that is wrapped in plastic. I know how terrible it is, and when I get home I feel a pang of guilt when I throw something away that cannot be recycled.

I care about the planet, I do not want our oceans to be full of plastic bags, bottles and plastic trash. We only have one Earth, and if our generations are starting to see the effects of rubbish on Earth, imagine what it will be like for our children, grandchildren and other future generations. Suddenly I realised that I throw away lots of things. Only things that are no good to anybody else. I send stuff to the charity shops and I give things away to friends but my black bin is full on a weekly basis.

I decided that I want to try and throw away as little as possible. I see friends living a waste-free life or are living plastic – I find it inspiring. Admittedly one of them hasn’t got any children the other one only has one child, where I myself have four children. We are a large family of 6. Maybe it’s easier to do when there are less of you in a household?

Despite being very frugal I’ve always been careful not to waste food. Leftovers get used for future meals and scraps are fed to our chickens, dog and cats. Any food that really cannot be eaten goes into our huge compost bins.

Below is a list of a few things that we already do that reduce our household waste

  • Cloth Nappies- We have used these for all 4 children. Many of the nappies we use are some of the 1st we ever bought.
  • Cloth baby wipes- These are washed with our nappies. We have separate wipes for faces and hands.
  • Cloth sanitary towels and a Mooncup- My period has been waste-free for 3 years.
  • Knitted dishcloths- The first things I ever learnt to make. They last years and clean better than dish sponges, plus you can just throw them in the washing machine to use again and again.
  • Baby Clothes- Very rarely do we buy the kids clothes. Friends and family pass on old bits, which we then pass on when no longer needed.
  • Reusable bags- We always take a canvas bag to the shops and never buy the plastic bags available.
  • Many plastic items are reused again and again- Plant pots, plant labels and plastic food trays are used as plant pot trays. They are only binned or recycled when completely broken.

As you can tell we are very frugal and we do not waste much at all. But if we live a frugal waste minimal lifestyle why are we still friends so much away? Is it really possible as a large family of 6 to live a waste-free or reduced plastic lifestyle?

I asked some other bloggers what they do to waste less

Victoria who blogs at HealthyVix says “I am eco-conscious and one thing we do is order an organic fruit and veg box each week, it cuts down the amount of plastic packaging waste dramatically and we can also recycle the cardboard box.”

Katie from Living Life Our Way loves reusable straws and reusable food wraps! She also made the switch from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one. She has lots of tips for green living on her blog!

Carla from Our Amanahs Our Futures says “I try and live as plastic free as possible. This week I swapped my children’s plastic water bottle and sippy cup with stainless steel ones. I have purchased a safety razor, so no more plastic disposables. One hour ago I received my first glass bottle of milk. I was so excited about it lol. Not only is going plastic-free better for our planet and our health, it also makes our homes look more stylish.”

Kate from Counting To Ten says “I bought some big packets of flannels when my eldest started weaning (you can get them in packs of 10 from Ikea) and I have used them for the last 6 years for cleaning up after meal times, wiping sticky fingers and clearing up spills etc. We have about 40 so I just stick them in the washing machine when they are all dirty. It must have saved us using a huge amount of kitchen towel and baby wipes over the years”

Naomi from Nomipaloni is a huge fan of reusable menstrual products, like me! “Update your menstrual products. I use a menstrual cup and have Thinx period panties. Reusable cloth sanitary towels are also a great product and have gorgeous designs these days.”

Ayse from Arepops says “Buy loose fruit and veg rather than pre packed and use reusable bags when shopping.” 

Irina who blogs at Wave To Mummy says “Stop buying stuff and where you already have stuff, reuse it until it is unusable and then recycle it. Don’t just replace with new better products or think that recycling is the key- first reduce, then reuse, then recycle!” Spot on, Irina.


Do you already live a waste free or plastic free lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below with your best tips.

Weigh-And-Save Future

Scrolling through social media, my feed is full of people realising just how full of rubbish our planet is becoming. Suddenly the population of Great Britain (and of course the rest of the world) are very much aware of the impact that our modern way of living is having on Earth. I see friends having a go at living a zero-waste lifestyle, celebrities are now preaching to their fans to make a change and social media is full of viral video’s pleading for you to make a conscious effort of how viewers can make a difference.

Image source: http://simplycarbon.com.au/plastic-free-july/

We know that our landfills are filling up at an astonishing rate and our oceans are littered with plastics. Wildlife and sea creatures are dying, pollutants are affecting our ecosystems. The Earths population is rapidly rising, and with more people comes more waste. My biggest gripe is with our British supermarkets. Everything we buy comes from a packet. We decided 2 years ago to attempt to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. We moved house to gain a bigger garden and grow more of our own food. We decided that if we did purchase from supermarkets that it would be reduced food that lands in our trolly. This was to reduce our spending and reduce food wastage created by the supermarkets.

But, why are we obsessed with wrapping food with plastic? Is it really needed?

I dream of a future where we no longer buy food wrapped in plastic. I would love to see the Great British greengrocer back in town, but reality has shown that these kinds of independent shops just cannot compete with the high street supermarkets. I don’t blame people for shopping all in one place. Life is expensive, fast and stressful in 21st century Britain. Aldi offers good quality vegetables for 29p. Sometimes I cannot even buy reduced vegetables at 29p! I want to see the return of the classic Weigh-And-Save style shops, where we can all buy what we can afford, waste less and say “no” to pesky plastics.

Why shop at a Weigh-And-Save?

Imagine the good-old-days. We have seen in the history books, or museums how our relatives would have popped to the local store in town and chosen food from big jars behind the counter. Their goods were weighed and placed in paper bags. Everything was bought as and when they needed it. The first and second World Wars meant that food was in shortage, materials had to be used for the war effort. They didn’t have the luxury of buying goods because the item was on a BOGOF offer, or chucking their left-overs because they already knew what was for tomorrow’s dinner.

At Milton Keynes Museum the kids discovered the Old Fashioned weigh-and-save sweet shop!
  • You only buy what you need. If you only need 5 spuds for dinner, then you buy 5. You don’t buy a bag of 10, and waste the other 5 because you don’t eat that many potatoes. No need to waste 10 and let them turn to sludge in your cupboard.
  • You only buy what you can afford. Many people in Britain are living in poverty. Some families cannot afford to buy a big box of laundry powder. They may only have £1 to spend on detergents. They could pop to a Weigh-And-Save and buy £1’s worth of powder. It will last them a few washes until they have the money to afford more- instead of going without completely.
  • Any kind of packaging has an environmental impact- even paper and cardboard packaging. Recycling these items also has an impact on our plant and resources. Taking your own bags when shopping for loose items is allowed! You don’t have to use those flimsy little bags for your loose veg.  Buying from a weigh-and-save shop would encourage you to take your own jars and bags to reuse and reuse again!

Would you like to see more Weigh-And-Save style shops on our high street? Let me know in the comments below. I know that if my local town had one I would certainly use it! Check out this list from The Zero Waster to find out where your local zero-waste shop is!