plastic shock

IMG_1453This is the recycling I brought home from one week in our Orkney holiday cottage.

It’s not everything we used. We only had one bin, and for the first couple of days I just threw everything in it. It was alarming how quickly the bin filled up, and it was quite striking how odd it felt to not separate our waste. I started to save plastic, card, tins and glass to bring home. I drew the line at carting back a bag of soggy potato peelings and teabags for the compost (although with the right sealable container I suppose it’s possible…)

I wrote about how we deal with our waste at home back in September. I talked then about thinking about what we brought into the house, rather than just ways of disposing of the waste, but I’m not sure I’ve really taken that to heart. Our bins are emptied fortnightly, and none of them are ever even half full, so I’ve felt a bit complacent, like we were doing alright and I didn’t need to think about it any more.

Seeing how much two of us produced in less than a week, all piled up like that, brought me up short. I know it’s not that much, but it adds up. It’s the plastic that bothers me most. Did we really need to buy mushrooms in plastic tubs? I use them for plants, but don’t need that many. And yogurts in little individual containers – convenient (and tasty), but so much waste. I did go through a phase of making yogurt a few years ago – maybe now’s the time to try again? That still involves buying milk though.

Also, we seem to get through a fair bit of milk. I know we’re both guilty of making tea and not drinking it, and while it sometimes gets heated up in the microwave, it often ends up down the sink – literally throwing food away, and meaning yet more plastic coming into the house.

Elsewhere in the house, I don’t buy shower gel any more, I’ve used my own handmade soap for years now (although I’ve not made any for aaaaages and I’m down to my last bar). But I do use shampoo and conditioner, and despite some (small) efforts to give up, I’ve not been at all impressed with the results. So I was heartened to read about Jen’s plastic free shower this week, and will be buying myself a shampoo bar very soon.

This week I’ve been using the rosemary hair rinse I made instead of conditioner, and it’s been brilliant! It’s just boiling water poured over fresh rosemary, left to cool and bottled. I’ve been washing my hair with shampoo and rinsing it clean, then pouring this on and rubbing it in without rinsing. It smells gorgeous, and my hair has been so soft. This morning (after over a week) it had started to smell a bit funny, so I poured the rest on the plants and will make another (smaller) batch tomorrow.

So I’m well on my way to my own plastic free shower. And while a plastic free kitchen is a bit of a step, I’m certainly thinking more before I buy things that will need disposing of. Also, I’m woefully uninformed about what happens to our recycling here once it leaves our house – I know there are rumours that it all ends up in the incinerator anyway. I must investigate…

Have you changed what you buy to produce less waste? What do you buy instead? Do you know where your recycling goes when it leaves your house?Β 

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9 Responses to plastic shock

  1. Jen says:

    Thanks for the mention!
    Do you have the recipe for your soap anywhere? Really want to have a go at this!
    Might try your rosemary conditioner too πŸ™‚
    Hope you had a lovely holiday

  2. We have a good re-cycling scheme run by our local council, but I am amazed by the amount of plastics I find myself crushing and putting in our blue bin. I love the sound of the rosemary conditioner – we’ve got an elderly rosemary bush that has gone a bit mad – how much rosemary to how much water? I’m trying to plan meals better so as to produce less food waste, but at least what we do generate goes into a composting bin collected fortnightly. (We have our own composting bin,but that gets grass mowings and not too much food, to avoid smells).

    You’re doing a grand job, and love your blog. (Also really enjoyed your holiday post). Look forward to more tips!

    • Thanks Barbara! I just put a few sprigs into about a pint of water – sorry, can’t be more accurate than that! I have plenty so did it stronger rather than weaker (although as I said to Jen, it only lasted a week so not much point making too much).

  3. Pat Machin says:

    I’m always thinking we do well and then . . . . .

    We have a lot less than most of our neighbours ~ not that I’m nosy and checking their bins or anything πŸ™‚ ~ but I;m sure it is too much.

  4. Jan says:

    I’m the same … thinking I’m doing well, but it turns out I could do a lot more. Luckily, I don’t use milk in my tea any more. But I’ve bought slightly more fresh fruit and veg in plastic containers recently because a supermarket has opened near enough for me to pop to it, its not a trek. Hmmm! I’ll have to think about this. Can’t do the fresh rosemary thing, as my rosemary bush just died 😦 I’m off to the garden shop this weekend for another one.

  5. Jo says:

    I hear you about the plastic. It is appalling to think about how much oil goes to make.. yoghurt pots… which then sit around ..forever.
    I am trying to cut out plastic one product at a time, but it is proving tricky. Anyway, I love your rosemary infusion idea. I will give it a go.

  6. Thanks all. I’m sure we all *are* doing well – let’s not lose sight of that! There’s always a bit more that could be done. It’s actually difficult to buy stuff NOT in plastic sometimes! I know someone who tries to have a plastic free month in September, must pick his brain for tips…

  7. Gill says:

    I’ve been using solid shampoo for a while, especially to take away with me. It takes a while to get used to, as its not so obvious how much you’re using, but basically the one I use is ordinary soap with camomile in.
    I often wonder, when you see these people who pop up every now and again on the telly, who only get their bins emptied once or twice a year, how on earth do they do it? It can’t all be composting and recycling.

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