In order to globally phase out single use plastic and reduce plastic pollution, big corporations need to change their behaviour, and invest in alternatives. Often times it is too easy as individuals to feel hopelessly overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable task of reducing global plastic waste. However, here at Bristle we believe that small steps lead to big change.
Improvements in behaviour can start at the grass roots of society and filter up through to the main supply chain, all the way up to the big boys. If we all make a stand in favour of small behaviour changes, thus reducing demand for single use plastic, then we can influence the products being created and manufactured in the first place. Not only that, a growing awareness of the environmental harm is catching – you never know, the fat cats polluting our environment from the top of the corporate hierarchy, may be moved by the collective consciousness, and may even develop a moral compass… maybe.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll be going through the home, room by room, highlighting what throw-away plastic can be found, and offering simple ways to avoid using them. Phase these alternatives into your life, and you’ll be making a small but significant difference. You never know, you may even influence a few people along the way.
It’s pretty popular to buy microwave friendly plastic containers to keep left over food in. It’s fair enough, they work great. However the life span of plastic containers is pretty short in terms of their usability, and once it is cracked or broken, there’s only one place your now useless lock and seal tupperware box is going to end up – in the bin.
Not only are plastic containers pretty easy to break, they have also been shown to leech harmful plastic chemicals into your food. The effects long term of this aren’t fully known yet, but we’re thinking it can’t be good.
There are loads of great alternatives to plastic food containers. Food grade stainless steel containers are awesome and really robust. They can be used in the fridge and freezer, are easy to clean, and can keep being used for so long you’ll probably hand them down to your grandkids. Although they obviously can’t be used in the microwave it’s pretty easy to transfer your food onto a plate/bowl before reheating. You can find stainless steel food grade containers online very easily and they vary in price.
Bristle’s Favourite Alternative: Elephant Box
Food packaging is the bane of any pro-active plastic-avoiders delay routine. We’ve all got to eat, but sometimes it’s simply impossible to avoid needless plastic packaging. From vacuum-packed apples, to potatoes with their own little plastic trays inside a plastic bag; it seems food producers are obsessed with smashing single use plastic into our faces at any opportunity.
Yeah, it would be great if everyone could just nip down their local farm shop and grab some nice fresh-from-the-field fruit and veg covered in mud in a paper bag. Or if we could go to the bulk food shop with our own jars and fill up on all our favourite snacks and staples, but that simply isn’t realistic. Most of the population lives in cities, and these days it can be difficult enough to budget for food as it is. So we encourage you to take a stand against over packaging of food.
After you pay for your shop, remove all that plastic and simply ditch it at the check out. This is a great way to protest over packaging and will cause those in charge to rethink their suppliers. If you’re not feeling as outspoken and rebellious as us though, you can raise awareness of pointless plastics by getting on the #pointlessplastics bandwagon: Every time you notice a pointless piece of plastic, take a pic and fire that bad-boy up on social media. Pointless plastic has become the norm, but together we can highlight how stupid and unnecessary our habit has become by naming and shaming the main culprits.
Wrapping food can be a bit of an issue when you’re trying to go plastic free. Cling film is pretty bloody handy and can be used as a lid to containers, a cover over plates and really good for wrapping your sandwiches. However, there’s a hell of a lot of this stuff getting chucked out everyday in the UK, and like all plastic, it breaks down into micro pieces and works its way into the water sources and food chain.
As always though there are some awesome companies trying to tackle this problem head on with ingenuity and design. Check out https://www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk/. This lot are an awesome UK based company supplying you with cool reusable food wrapping solutions which are planet-friendly and natural. Not only that, the use of beeswax encourages the conservation of bees. Win-win.
Bristle’s Favourite Alternative: Beeswax Wrap UK
This is an annoying one – washing up liquid and cleaning products generally only really come in plastic bottles. And let’s be honest, as much as we’d love to, we don’t all have the time to make our own. However, have you ever heard of Ecover? If you’re reading this chances are you have, and if you haven’t, you have undoubtably seen their products in the shop. Ecover are committed to minimal environmental impact. Their bottles are 75% Plant-plastic and 25% post-consumer recycled plastic.100% renewable, reusable and recyclable.
So that’s pretty cool. They have a great range of environmentally friendly plant-based cleaning products and also sell large boxes of their gear to refill your empty bottles with. Winners. Check them out at https://www.ecover.com/ or have a little look for their stuff next time your doing the big shop.
Bristle’s Favourite Alternative: Ecover
When we think about the best tools for doing the dishes, we think of sponges, scourers and plastic brushes with big thick nylon bristles. And to be fair, they do a good job. But they’re made of plastic, and ultimately their working life will come to an end. Then they are going into the bin with all the rest of the big polluting single use and throwaway items. Scourers and sponges are a big problem with regards to water contamination.
Every time you scrub your dishes, thousands of tiny plastic particles come away from the brush and get washed away down the sink with the rest of the dirty water. These don’t degrade and ultimately end up washing into water sources and eventually into the oceans. It’s tiny plastic fibres like these which act like magnets to harmful toxins, and are then eaten by planktons and other small sea creatures, which in turn are consumed by bigger creatures. It’s easy to see how the food chain has been quickly contaminated by plastic. Luckily there are alternatives. http://www.boobalou.co.uk/ has a great range of wooden brushes with plant-basted bristles. These are great quality, affordable, long lasting, completely plastic free and some models come with replaceable heads. Get on it!
Bristle’s Favourite Alternative: Boobalou
So there you have it – just a few suggestions of how you can reduce the throwaway plastic in your kitchen. Got any other ideas? share them with us by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a line on Facebook. We’ll be back next week with ways to reduce the plastic devil in your bathroom.