Hi! My name is Morgan, and I’m one of the copywriters at Modern Milkman (you’ve probably read one of the emails I’ve written about your milkround!). This January, I decided to make a green New Year’s resolution – create a more sustainable home. I know, I know, the dreaded R-word. But with everything going on in the world, it seemed time to try and do something positive, so looking at plastic and waste in my home seemed like a good place to start.
Now, I just want to preface this: I do try to live a sustainable lifestyle. I work at Modern Milkman, after all! I use my milkround, skip the plastic straws in restaurants, and try thrifting whenever possible. But, let’s be real here, I could definitely do more. So here’s a snapshot of my journey to becoming more sustainable and plastic free this January.
Can I really make a difference?
‘I am just one person after all!’ I find myself thinking this after looking at the news or watching a new video about plastic in the ocean. Sometimes, the plastic waste crisis seems to be never-ending. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Things are changing, and there are now more and more sustainable options for us to use. Because of consumer pressure, big supermarkets are turning towards more sustainable choices and banishing plastic packaging to the past. Of course, there’s still a long way to go, but initiatives like these show that we as a society are changing.
It was now time to turn to my own home and look for ways I could be more sustainable and plastic free.
And boy, oh boy, there were quite a lot. It’s amazing how much plastic we have in our homes when we really take a look. So, taking notes from our Plastic Free July campaign last year, I went room by room and documented everything I could change.
The obvious culprits
Kitchen plastic: The first offenders on the list? My plastic bags of rice and pasta. I’ve been eyeing them for a while, like that cobweb in the corner you always forget to clean.
Pet plastic: I have a cat, and like all cats, she needs a litter tray. I know, it’s not something we really want to talk about, but for such a small thing, she does quite a few number twos. With those little ‘presents’ comes the plastic poo bags and a plastic litter tray liner. Not to mention, her own food is packaged in plastic bags too!
Bathroom plastic: I use plastic free soap and refillable shampoo and conditioner, but that’s not all we use to keep ourselves clean! Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, razors, and even toilet paper packaging are all made of plastic – yikes!
The going-out plastic: Those reusable coffee cups – you have one, I definitely have three or four – but how many times do we actually remember to bring them? And yes, they’re called ‘reusable’ plastic shopping bags, but if we keep buying them, are they really reusable? My cupboard jam full of ‘bags for life’ would like to differ.
Just do it
Right, enough blabbing, it was time to actually try and reduce the plastic in my home. So, with my plastic list in hand, I journeyed to different shops hoping to find some sustainable swaps. Here are some of my thoughts:
- – Plastic free toothbrushes were definitely the easiest to find. Most major stores have them now, as well as your zero waste shops. I even found a fun purple one!
- – For rice and pasta, I had to go to a zero-waste shop. Luckily enough, there’s one not too far from my house, so it’s worth looking online to see where the nearest one to you is. They also had tons of options to choose from and are a great resource in anyone’s plastic free journey.
- – Plastic free toilet paper was a hit and miss. Some stores do carry toilet paper wrapped in paper instead of plastic, but not always. It’s always good to check to see if they have it in-store before going to avoid disappointment. Better yet, why not order exactly what you want online?
The biggest takeaway from this experience is that to be plastic free, it’s always best to plan ahead (and that’s coming from a chronic procrastinator). It’s so easy to be out and about and grab the most convenient option, which is usually wrapped in plastic. A couple of times, while I was running errands, I’d suddenly remember an item I needed, like toothpaste or floss. My first instinct was to grab the convenient plastic product, but I had to remember there were other options which were better for the planet. Other times, I would go on my daily lunchtime walk to the coffee cart in our park and completely forget my reusable mug. So I had to quickly turn around and grab it (quietly grumbling the whole way home). But, when I remember I’m doing this to help the planet, it’s all worthwhile.
When the going gets tough
This isn’t to say I got rid of all the plastic in my house. My cat still has her food in plastic pouches (although we’re trying to switch to canned). My face wash and lotion is still in plastic jars. And that’s the things I can remember! But the big thing is – I’m trying. We’re all trying. And the more I practice becoming plastic free, the easier it’ll be. It helps that I’m also a part of Modern Milkman, since their milkrounds are a fantastic way to start any plastic free journey. With our doorstep deliveries, I don’t have to worry about trekking around to find a plastic free solution for my morning brew.
The best way for all those other pieces of plastic lying in the house is to start small and slowly but surely swap those plastic items with something plastic free. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve saved just by doing this! And if you do find yourself with some unavoidable plastic, try finding the best way to dispose of it, like recycling. Every little bit counts. Because, it’s the small changes that add up to tackle the bigger problem. How are you becoming a greener you in 2022?