One of my biggest "green" concerns is plastic. The stuff is just everywhere! I was rather horrified recently, waiting at the supermarket checkout, to realise that, with the exception of a box of eggs, every single item I was buying had some form of plastic used in it's packaging. Not cool. I'm sure you all know that plastic is bad because it doesn't bio-degrade, which means that, although it might break down into smaller and smaller pieces, it will never completely go away. Once it's here, it's here FOREVER. Whilst recycling is a good thing, where plastic is concerned it is not the solution - only a tiny proportion of the plastic produced ever gets recycled, and the quality deteriorates when it is recycled, so a plastic bottle will not "come back" as another plastic bottle. The best solution is to simply use less plastic. Easier said than done. We've been using our own fabric shopping bags for groceries for several years now, and I'm getting better at remembering to take them on other shopping trips too, so our plastic bag use is pretty low. But the next big hurdle is bottles. Here are a couple of things we've done recently to try and reduce our bottle consumption:
We now buy our milk in bags! You do have to buy the special jug to use with them but this apparently reduces packaging by 75%, plus they are cheaper than the plastic bottles of milk, and you can still recycle the bags. I've got to say, I'm very impressed with this. They are very easy to use, you just put the bag in the jug, pull a corner of the bag over the edge and close the lid to secure, then push in a spout and that's it! You get two spouts with the jug, so there's always a spare and, providing you check that the bag's not leaking, we've not had any leakage into the inside of the jug either. They're only currently available at Sainsbury's and Waitrose - you can check the website here to see if your local shop stocks them and for more info. We probably use between 3 and 4 2pint bottles per week, so this will be saving us approx 150-200 bottles per year.
I've also just invested in a couple of stainless steel drinks bottles for the kids' lunchboxes (see bottom photo above). Prior to now, they would take either a juice carton (which can't be recycled) or a bottle of flavoured water (which shouldn't be reused as the plastic used for those kinds of drinks is not intended for long term use and can leach chemicals into the liquid if washed and reused). Now, these bottles were not cheap, but they are reusable, will not taint the liquid or leach anything nasty into it. And they should pay for themselves within a couple of months. Plus, we are saving approx 300 or so bottles over the course of a year! I bought them here. The first thing I did when they arrived was a leak test - put in some water, put on the lids, turned them upsidedown and SHOOK! Not a single drop escaped. I'll let you know how they hold up once the kids are back at school.
The next thing that needs to be tackled in our house is soft drinks bottles - hubby & I both like a bit of fizzy and with the warm weather we've been going through bottles at an alarming rate!
Looking forward to reading everyone elses posts!
Till next time...