Channel Mum Chat

How can families kick the plastic habit?

PLASTIC - we used to think it was fantastic but now it’s one of UK families’ biggest worries! When you become a parent, plastic use rockets, with 88 per cent of mums and dads admitting they use more since having kids. But following on from recent news reports and TV shows like Blue Planet, 97 per cent of UK families feel we’re consuming way too much bendy stuff.
So how can we kick the plastic habit? Our latest survey shows a huge 98 per cent of us mums are buying brands which pledge to use less plastic in their products, while 93 per cent are trying to cut down on the amount of plastic your family uses. And the most popular way to do this? Going back to shopping like your granny did!
The top ‘ditch the plastic’ swaps include buying loose fruit and veg not pre-packed, with three in five of us doing this. Almost half of us are choosing washing powder in cardboard box instead of pre-wrapped capsules in a plastic tub. One in five have ditched liquid soap in a plastic container for old-fashioned bars of soap and seven per cent have turned back to traditional ‘cloth’ nappies. And six per cent are now once again ordering milk and juice in glass containers from the milkman.
Our resident Eco Expert Emma Maxwell explains: “When it comes to plastic-free shopping, it seems granny really does know best. We’ve been conditioned to think plastic is fantastic, when in fact it’s a menace to the planet and our future. In the past, families managed to live without it and by copying your granny’s shopping style, modern families can cut down on plastic use too, all without paying extra.”

Here are the top plastic swaps to get you started:

  • Change washing capsules in plastic tubs for washing powder in a cardboard box
  • Buy loose fruit and veg, not pre-packed
  • Ditch liquid soap and shower gel for bars of soap
  • Switch disposable nappies and plastic nappy bags for cloth nappies
  • Change disposable plastic party cutlery for normal or wooden cutlery and plastic plates and cups for paper ones
  • Swap plastic milk and juice containers for glass ones delivered by your milkman
  • Use a flask or water bottle, not plastic single-use bottles of water
  • Try cloth ‘bags for life’ not 5p plastic bags
  • Buy a bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic ones
  • Swap disposable straws for reusable ones What would you add to this list? Which of these will you be trying? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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We’ve got some “curly-wurly” clear plastic straws - the reusable ones that go in the dishwasher. I know they’re still plastic but the kids love them and I feel better about not throwing disposable straws away. They’re great with squash or milkshake as a treat and are so much better for their teeth too. I refuse straws in restaurants now too - it’s a pointless waste of plastic - that episode of Blue Planet has stayed with me. IF we all do a few small things it’ll make a difference.

I also use a moon cup! Anyone else?

I love the idea of having the milkman I’ve heard one near me I’ll have to ask my neighbour for the details.

Love the idea of milk in bottles. Not so sure about bamboo toothbrush though ?. I always use reusable plastic kids cutlery at their parties and paper party bags now too. I’m going to try and use those fabric shopping bags more too (just have to remember to actually take them with me when I shop, normally I forget and leave them in the car!)

I always use proper plates at parties. It’s a bit of extra washing up but well worth it in my opinion. Reusable bags as well. Not sure about the bamboo toothbrush haha

We always use bags for life now, and encourage my kids to do the same. There are also so may plastic toys for kids out there; we have made a conscious effort to reduce how much we buy. A fair amount of them are just five minute wonders anyway - you can’t beat a good board game or a game of cards. And some of the wooden baby toys, though they are a little more expensive, are just gorgeous, and well worth that little bit extra. I’m not too sure about a Bamboo toothbrush either to be honest - but maybe that is just because I have never seen one…willing to give it a try! x

One thing I am teaching my kids is that we don’t need straws when we drink now they are a little older - it seems it is standard to get one pretty much everywhere we go; so we just say “no straws” when we order our drinks when we are out and about. That is only something small - but it really does make a difference, particularly if more people do it too. x

We use reusable straws. I’d like to start getting milk delivered in glass bottles but I have no idea if that’s even a thing round here :confused:

I’m all about disable stuff where possible. We did cloth nappies and reusable sanitary stuff. We have reusable cloths, colour coded for different areas of the house.

I made cleaning products a lots (white vinager, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, salt etc are all great cleaners.

Biodegrade bin liners can be ordered off of amazon too and make a big difference and loose fruit and veg wherever possible.

Mans I have about 34578 reusable bags. ?

We’ve always tried to be environment conscious but it’s not always easy especially if it’s cheaper to buy something in plastic than it is not to.

I saw something on Facebook earlier this week that implied that if you leave the label on a plastic pop or milk bottle it renders it NON-recyclable because the labels aren’t recyclable even when the actual bottle is - does anyone know if this is true? It’s easy enough to take the label off in this case but why would the manufacturer do this in the first place as it makes no sense!

We used cloth nappies, reusable sanitary products inc breast pads, wooden toys when my kids were small and felt a bit hippy like compared to all the other mums at toddler groups!

These days we recycle as much as we can and compost all our food waste and paper but shopping isn’t always easy. We do buy eggs in cardboard never plastic, buy cotton buds with a paper middle, never buy face scrub with plastic beads but we shop in Aldi and there isn’t a choice there to collect your carrots etc without plastic but then again the shops that do, don’t have paper bags do they only plastic to put loose veg in. I’ve only seen paper bags when you shop at a market stall.

Bags for life are great though - Who else feels so guilty when they forget their bag for life and have to buy a 5p carrier bag?! I’ve seen me carry armfuls of shopping out to the car when I’ve left them in the boot which I’m sure just makes me look dodgy!

Reausuable wipes. We swear by them

Bees wax food wraps

Reausuable sanitary towels

Go to a scoop and weigh store to get dry ingredients such as flour and nuts in containers