Household Plastics Everywhere- Can You Really Avoid It?

When I first said that I was going to attempt a waste and plastic free life, I had NO idea how hard it would be! Yeah, our black bin is no way near as full as it normally is, but I still have thrown stuff away. It feels impossible as a family of 6 to not put anything in the black bin… but at least we have reduced that amount. What has been easier is to avoid purchasing plastics. I am not going to walk around my house and bin every plastic item that I find. That would be silly and wasteful. I would also be left with hardly anything in my home!

An Instagram friend commented on my first plastic free post saying “Welcome to a world of seeing plastic EVERYWHERE.” She was so right! We are surrounded by the stuff. And this stuff shall sit on this Earth for hundreds of years after we are dead and gone. That SUCKS.

Plastic Everywhere

Without moving anything, but just standing in each room, I can spin around and see so many plastic items. It’s scary when you open your eyes and actually ‘see’ what is around you. My home is a busy home. I have 4 kids, a husband, a million-and-one pets and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have a visitor. The lyrics of Our House by Madness, always resonate with me on a very, very real level!

“Our house, it has a crowd
There’s always something happening
And it’s usually quite loud
Our mum she’s so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down and a mess is not allowed”

OK, I may not be like Sugg’s mum… I do have quite a bit of mess! But everything else is true. So living in such a manic household, plastic items have become a necessity. It sounds silly but they really have. There are items that we use daily, that until now I never even considered the plastic that they contain. Take scissors for example, they have plastic handles. I use them daily, but it wasn’t until recently that I questioned the real need for my scissors to have plastic handles.

Below is a list of just a few things I spotted walking around my house. Some things I know how to replace them when the times comes, but others I have no idea… So, if you can help- let me know in the comments! I will always use something until it is completely ready for the bin and if I can find another purpose for it, I shall. I would never bin anything that still has some life in it. If I no longer want it, I shall offer it to friends or take it to the charity shop.

Kitchen

This is the busiest room. I spend most of my waking hours in my kitchen. When friends are over (daily) it’s where we sit and enjoy a cuppa together.  There is always a bundle of shoes by the door, washing up on the draining board and an array of coats and book bags on top of the freezer. But what necessities are made of plastic can be found in my kitchen?

  • Draining board cutlery holder thingy- that thing that holds the cleaned cutlery. Not sure of it’s actual name.
  • TEABAGS!- Did you know that these contain plastic? As soon as my tea bags have run out I shall be switching to loose tea leaves.
  • Handsoap- Switch to a bar of soap. It does the job just as well.
  • Washing up liquid bottle- I shall be switching to Ecover (keep your eyes peeled for a post on Ecover soon!)
  • Laundry detergents- Switch to powder, bought in cardboard boxes.
  • Cutlery draw organiser
  • Fridge magnets- Precious memories. These won’t be going anywhere!
  • Saucepan handles- When I need new pans I shall switch to plain metal ones.
  • Tablecloth- Hopefully the PVC one shall last us years, but I do have lots of pretty fabric ones too.
  • Propagator
  • Straws-  We are currently using up the last of our straws, before replacing with metal ones. Even the paper straws tend to arrive in plastic packaging.
  • Broom- So far it has lasted us 7 years, but when the time comes I shall switch to wooden with natural fibers.
  • Hoover
  • Scissors
  • Takeaway tubs- obviously these are kept after a takeaway. We use them for all sorts!
  • Juice bottles
  • Dog bed- Do I trust Scrapper not to chew a wicker one?
  • Clock
  • Doormat- This is plastic backed. I shall crochet a new one from old rags once this one has worn out.
  • Clothes pegs- Need more wooden ones!
  • Bottles of cleaning fluid

Living Room

Note the cardboard toybox… Reusing at it’s finest!

The living room, admittedly, isn’t too bad. We own mostly second-hand vintage furniture so unlike many modern pieces of furniture, they don’t contain too much plastic.

  • Bird cage
  • Endless baby toys- Many of these are second hand, and shall be passed on when the time comes
  • TV- That’s an obvious one!
  • A gazillion DVD cases
  • Light fittings and lamps
  • Plant pots- These should last us years and years, but if need be I shall switch to terracotta ones.
  • Record player
  • Board games
  • Some ex-library books- The library always put on a plastic sleeve to protect books.

Bathroom

This is a problem area for most households. We do have a wooden toilet seat, and I don’t use disposable sanitary items (only using reusables instead) but we still do have lots of pesky plastic within this room.

  • Shampoo – When next shopping in Lush, I shall buy a bar of shampoo, rather than liquid. Good bye bottle!
  • Shower gel- Again, Lush can supply the swap! I counted 15 plastic bottles in my bathroom. Think that’s a lot? Go upstairs and count yours!
  • Bin- The bin is metal but contains a plastic insert. I’ll swap for wicker.
  • Makeup packaging
  • Shower fitting
  • Cotton buds- That darn stick!
  • Light fitting
  • Shower curtain
  • Bath toys
  • Liquid hand soap- Swap to a bar.
  • Razors- A safety razor is on our shopping list.
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste- We shall be swapping to a bamboo brush and powdered toothpaste as soon as our brushes and paste need replacing.

And this isn’t a full list (obviously!) but as you can see, we are surrounded by plastic. It’s everywhere. It surrounds us and our family. Could we really live a normal life -as we know it- without the stuff? Maybe we shall never live in a plastic-free world, but we can all do just a few things to reduce the amount of plastic we leave behind.

What are your favourite swaps? What have you done to reduce the amount of plastic waste created? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Author: Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 young daughters, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting brands.

11 thoughts on “Household Plastics Everywhere- Can You Really Avoid It?”

  1. Argh! I know what you mean I feel like plastic is everywhere and I hate it! We have been trying to make little changes here and there…I am highly suspicious of the health impact of plastics (not just the environments) so I try as much as possible not to buy anything in plastic containers where possible.

  2. OMG teabags contain plastic??!!! That is so terrible. We all need to get on board with this as there are other options out there apart from being up to our eyeballs in plastic

  3. It amazing to see a list like that. And as you’ve said it’s only a few rooms and a few obvious items. I’m going to think about how we reduce plastic in our house as well as I know it’s bad.

  4. I hate all the plastic waste too. I try to buy my children BPA free water bottles and cut down on waste wherever possible. It is hard sometimes though as it is everywhere.

  5. I’ve been really thinking about the amount of plastics we use too. I don’t think we could go waste free but where I can make some easy wins I’ll be having a go. This list of ideas is really helpful for me

  6. Your house sounds like my dream house people everywhere!! The worst is when you notice all the plastic lying around outside from peoples junk food.
    I never thought of the scissors. We will have to buy the big metal ones like in school. I wonder if you could use a knife sharpener on scissors to make them last forver?

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