Wednesday, 26 August 2009

TLBG Wednesday - Rachel

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...
Rachel x


jojoebi said...

yep, plastic! makes me cringe too. We (in Japan that is) have cartons for milk and juice that HAVE to be recycled, you can't chuck them in the normal rubbish, which is good but the egg cartons are plastic - go figure! The Japanese love packaging so you often get plastic wrapped in plastic wrapped in plastic, drives me nuts. All our rubbish gets separated and the plastic is always the biggest bag.

Anonymous said...

really interesting .. i have not seen these bags.. what exactly are the sainsbury's ones made out of? why did they stop using glass bottles for milk i wonder.. so much the better solution...i have been thinking about getting some old fashioned glass pints of milk delivered if i can find a milkman... i have not seen one for years, though to be fair, i do not get up that early. thanks for the link for the school drinks bottles... this is something that has concerned me for some time... off to investigate.
ginny x

JuliaB said...

My husband recently bought a metal bottle for his water and he is very impressed with not only the non-leaking but also the fact that it cools the liquid down really nicely!

We used plastic bags and a jug for milk years and years ago and then the supermarket decided to stop production of the bags and we were left with a pretty useless jug. They are much better than the plastic cartons though so I hope they keep it up next time. I guess there wasn't enough demand last time. As for your fizzy ... what about a soda stream?

clarabelle said...

I was going to suggest a soda stream as well...
I love the thought of those bags of milk but sadly our nearest Sainsbury's is so far away that the miles we would need to drive will negate the positive. I have recently purchased some great glass bottles from Ikea (hold about a litre) as me and hubby both like COLD water...We were reusing plastic ones. These wash really well - seal really well (don't leak even on their side) and look lovely even bought out to the table for dinner! (bonus)
Take Care

ClaireP said...

I do like the idea of the milk bags. Our plastic recycling is mostly milk bottles. I'll have to kep an eye out to see if they start selling them in our local sainsburys :)

lisa ridgeon said...

Is that true about re-using plastic bottles? My Husband is useless at remembering to bring things home so i buy bottles of water and then he refills them until he forgets to bring it home when he starts a new one.

The problem i have with drinks bottles is they always have ridges and rims in the design which makes them difficult to clean and i have a problem with germs!

So what do i do? Kill Hubby off with chemicals or germs? Lol!

Petit Filoux said...

Lisa, yes it is true about plastic bottles. If you need one that you can reuse, best use something like a thermos flask or a glass bottle. Plastic ones aren't meant to last and do leach nasty chemicals.
About the milk, I'm absolutely amazed! I'd never heard of it and I've checked and unfortunately they don't sell them in the Sainsburys and Waitrose where I live. Such a good idea, I might have to convince my local to stock them!

clarabelle said...

TIP: if you are worried about germs on drinking vessels (reusable ones not the plastic bottles) then an easy way is to use a sterilising tablet? You can us them in cold water (like with babies bottles) and can buy a pack of 64 from boots for about £1.40
Take Care

Daisie said...

Juice cartons or TETRAPAK can now be recycled by putting in a bank (like glass) at most supermarkets and local recycling plants. I have been recycling mine for years! But yes, we too use bottles that last and last and we have had no leaks either (or leeks for that matter)!