There are always conflicts in any course of action and a plastic boycott is no different. Some times you need to use plastic to cut your plastic consumption.
If a product reduces your consumption of plastic disposables or packaging waste then we feel there is a strong justification for using it. The silicone menstrual cup for example. This reusable menstrual protection made from non biodegradable silicon and may come plastic packaged yet will save you mountains of plastic menstrual waste. Another is our juice maker.
I make my own personal care and cleaning products, everything from dish wash powder to suntan lotion. This of course massively reduces my plastic consumption but doesn’t cut it completely. Yes, you guessed it, the ingredients I use to make said products come wrapped in plastic. As I cannot avoid this, and the end waste is a few plastic bags as opposed to a big pile of plastic packaging, I accept it as inevitable. Of course I continue to look for plastic free suppliers.
Glass bottle /plastic lid
Coconut oil used in place of almost everything
Comes In A Plastic Bag
Vegetable butter and other cosmetic making supplies
Borax and other cleaning chemicals
Cotton on a plastic reel for making plastic free clothes.
Check out a list of sneaky plastic here – yes that tin is plastic lined!
While you can often buy single units plastic free if you go further back down the supply chain, products bought wholesale are packed in plastic. The plastic bags are then broken open and individual units sold on unwrapped. This is true of most things from bacon in the butchers to mop heads in the market and loo rolls in the corner shop.
Now you you only want one mop head, searching out an unwrapped one is the way to go. But what if you have a very dirty house and you need 10 mop heads? Is it foolish to cling to principal and buy each mop head separately? Even when you know that those 10 mop heads will arrive at the shop packed in a plastic bag?
In this case I buy bulk because even if I bought ten, individual, unwrapped mop heads, the original plastic packaging (the plastic bag came in), is still in my waste stream if not in my bin.
Believe me, I have been down this path with our wholesalers. I have even had sales staff very kindly rip open the plastic bags to give me the mop heads unpackaged – but what is the point in that? At least if I take the bag I know it will get put in the recycle bin. I console myself with the thought that buying in bulk massively reduces packaging. It is not my preferred option but my preferred option of plastic-free packaging at all levels does not yet exist. Until it does, I will keep on campaigning for sustainable packaging and contacting the people who supply the wholesaler.
Which raises the question – how far back down the waste stream are you prepared to go to be plastic free?