Why I want to Swap Plastic
The whole plastic thing began about a month ago. I was meeting a Paddleboarding friend of mine down by the river (if you don’t keep up with my blog, I’ve talked about her here). She was going to paddleboard from Maidenhead to Marlow dressed as a bear to raise funds for BBC Children in Need. My husband was joining her, as well as another paddle boarder (who dressed as an owl!). I just went along to collect money.
She also picked this day because something pretty unusual was happening down on the River Thames. Lindsey Cole – AKA the Urban Mermaid (yes, she is an actual real-life mermaid!) was doing something spectacular. She wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic floating around in the rivers and oceans. The way she wanted to do this was to swim 120 miles of the Thames, dressed as a mermaid. But Lindsey wasn’t alone in her venture. She had her artist friend Barbara De Moubray (also known as Bla) with her in a support boat. Bla converts rubbish and turns it into art, and made a mermaid sculpture out of used plastic. Together from November 1st until 24th November, they swam and rowed and collected plastic from the river as they went along.
On November 18th, the Urban Mermaid and Bla were passing through Maidenhead. So the paddleboarders hooked up with them and they spent the day out on the river.
The Awareness of Plastic
Inspired by what was happening and reading Lindsey’s blog, (and seeing them all over the local news!) I started to look at plastic in a new light. Something that had always been everywhere was suddenly very noticeable indeed. We recycle our plastic bottles and I tend to re use containers. But the things that end up in the normal bin are things I had never really paid attention to before. Plastic wrapping from fruit and vegetables, clingfilm and the plastic seal around milk bottles. They just go in the bin. Then what happens? We see them on nature programs when our sea life are swimming amongst it all.
My eyes were starting to open. Plastic is everywhere. Even my daughter’s little Kinder Eggs toys and ‘freebies’ from her magazines. Plastic (and yes, they do eventually end up in the bin). It’s something that may be an ongoing battle to get rid of, but in the meantime I want to make small changes.
I follow the Urban Mermaid and Bla on Instagram, and during the swim of the Thames they held an Insta-competition. Courtesy of the online store &Keep (who sell plastic free items) they did a giveaway – and yes – I won it! I never win anything, so I was pretty excited by this. But I was also intrigued to head over to the website to see what other goodies they have. I even made a few purchases too.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
My children take a water bottle to school and nursery. I have gone down the BPA free plastic road, as we are starting to become aware of this chemical called Bisphenol A. No one wants these nasty chemicals in bottles and containers that we eat and drink out of. But I did discover this stainless steel drinking bottle by Klean Kanteen on the &Keep site. I thought that it might last longer than the usual plastic bottles and far better for the environment.
This Kid Kanteen sports bottle comes in a range of bright colours. I picked a colour my daughter likes and she just loves taking her bottle to nursery. So if it’s encouraging her to drink more water then all the better.
I also love that this brand do toddler sippy cups. Plus they do adult bottles, so I shall get one for my 16 year old son.
The other thing I saw were stainless steel straws with silicone straw heads. These are pretty cool, so another purchase might be made soon.
I personally forget about the small – but very essential things we use daily. Plastic toothbrushes are one. I just tend to head to the supermarket and pick up a toothbrush on my way round when I need a new one. The old one is tossed straight in the bathroom bin without a second thought.
So now, I’ve moved on. I purchased a bamboo ‘Truthbrush’ which comes in recyclable packaging. It cost £4.00 and I was interested to find out that Bamboo is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Great for my pearly whites. I also read that bamboo is naturally pest resistant, so is farmed organically.
On the website, there are some facts about the amount of toothbrushes that end up in landfill. Plus there is a handy tip on how to re use the bamboo toothbrush. (Because dentists recommend toothbrushes should be replaced every three months). It suggests plucking out the nylon bristles (which are bio degradable) and using the remaining toothbrush as a plant cane or paint stirrer. Great tip!
Plastic Free Food Wrap
I have seen beeswax food wrap before, but I’d never tried it out. So as I was doing my shopping I added some to my basket.
When it arrived it felt quite nice – which sounds strange! You can mould it around your food to keep it fresh. Perfect for kids lunchboxes – as long as they don’t throw them away. In fact, the beeswax food wrap can be washed in cold water with a detergent (eco friendly of course) and can last up to a year.
I have only just started using it, so I will see if it stands the test of time.
As an alternative to beeswax, there is also a soy wax food wrap for vegans.
They all come in different colours and patterns which is quite nice too. Plus different sizes depending on what you need to wrap up.
Reusable Paper Towels
This was the product I got excited about. Reusable kitchen roll! The reason being, just like my use of baby wipes (which I’m using less of now), I am guilty of using way too many paper towels and then trashing them. Although paper towels are not plastic, they don’t get re-cycled. They get used for cleaning work surfaces mainly, which is ridiculous when I have plenty of cleaning cloths that do the exact same job.
So now I have these, and they are great. They are on a roll – so in my mind I’m still using paper kitchen towels. But they are made of bamboo. They feel like strong wadding and you can use one square again and again. Once they are dirty you can rinse them out or throw them in the washing machine. Brilliant!
These are really versatile as well. So no need to use those baby wipes for sticky hands at meal times. I now just wet one piece and clean up. Great when kids make a total mess all over the place.
I tend to rinse them after use using hot water, then I hang them on the side of the sink. Then I just grab it when I need it. After a few uses, straight in the washing machine. They dry pretty quickly, and in a week I’ve only used two pieces from the roll.
Totally sold on this.
Keep Making a Difference
I would never consider myself as an ‘eco-warrior’ but it’s so easy to pretend the negative effects on the environment won’t affect us or our children. Just seeing the documentaries about the dangers of pollution are enough to realise what is happening to the planet. So making changes and simply being aware of what we are doing every day will make a difference. Especially is everyone made those small changes.
I have started doing it with clothing, by re-cycling and re-using, and now I’ll start doing it with everyday stuff. It’s just a case of being conscious of what we are putting in the bin and what we are able to re-use.