Plastic Diaries: 27 year old teacher from Dorset

Plastic Diaries

Do you know how much plastic you use every week? We tasked supporters to make note of all the plastic they use in a week to show just how much we rely on it in our everyday lives, whether we realise it or not.

This week’s Plastic Diarist is a 27-year-old teacher from Dorset.

Hi, I’m Ali. I am a teacher in the South West, and I’ve been living with my family since the start of lockdown. I have been conscious of my plastic use since university and try hard to reduce my carbon footprint and to cut down on waste that doesn’t naturally biodegrade. Really, I am just trying to do my bit. Alas, there’s still more I could be doing, and I hope that keeping this diary will highlight that. I am certainly still far from a zero-plastic-waste lifestyle, but it’s something I hope one day I will achieve!

Saturday

Start the day with a lovely hot shower using shower gels from Lush. Not cheap, but they last a long time and packaging is made with 100% recycled plastic. Lush has an in-house recycling centre so it’s always worth hanging on to their packaging to bring back to the shop. Cereal for breakfast. I hang on to the inner plastic bag to recycle at the Carrier Bag Collection Point at the supermarket along with the plastic bags that bread comes in and plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen roll. It is a shame they’re not collected as part of the local recycling service because it relies on customers taking them to their nearest retailer.

Sunday

Make a nice big thermos of tea to see me through the day. Drives me crazy how many single-use plastic cups get thrown away at teacher conferences. Use Teapigs teabags which are biodegradable and compostable – most tea bags have plastic in them! COVID quarantine measures have made it more difficult to buy fresh produce without plastic packaging, particularly as we have to plan what we all want in advance and send one person to the shop. A shame, but we’re worried about viral contamination, so plastic packaging does make cleaning packaging easier. Can hardly wash bread rolls under the tap!

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Monday

Start my period today. Use my washable cloth menstrual pads from Etsy. They have nice patterns and close with poppers, love them! Over time it is more cost-effective to invest in reusable products than disposable, and so much better for the environment. Disposable sanitary products are made with plastics and harsh chemicals – aggravates my eczema. Reusable pads are easy to wash in the machine and soft on the skin. I could not be more impressed!

Tuesday

Getting ready for bed I use my reusable cotton pads to remove my makeup (also from Etsy sellers – thank you!). Afterward, I moisturise with a Vitamin E cream. Use the Body Shop products for my face. They come in plastic tubs and bottles, but The Body Shop is an ethically minded company and is increasingly using recycled plastics. Can take the plastic bottles back to stores in a scheme called ‘Return. Recycle. Repeat’. TerraCycle collects and then recycles or repurposes this plastic. Not perfect, but a good starting point! They claim ambitious targets for incorporating more post-consumer recycled plastic into their product lines and want to avoid fossil fuel-derived plastic – the first deadline is 2022.

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Time will tell if they keep to their promises.

Hopefully the Plastic Diaries inspire you to make small but impactful changes to your everyday life to cut down on plastic. If you’re looking for inspiration and motivation to make some eco-swaps, why not join the Plastic Challenge this July? What will your Challenge be?