Last week, we looked at plastics in the bedroom and kitchen and some eco-friendly alternatives. This week we’ll be exploring how we can cut down on plastics in the bedroom and living room.
Remember, as we said last week, don’t throw things out until they’re broken! It’s not about generating more rubbish, it’s about replacing plastics with more sustainable alternatives when they’re broken.
Let’s start with the bedroom
Plastic Free Bedroom
At first glance, it might not be obvious where the unnecessary plastic is in the bedroom. We had a good look around though and these are our suggestions - let us know what we have missed.
Plastic coat hangers tend to come with most things that we buy. They are considered so disposable that shops, quite literally, give them away. You can get apack of 12 on Amazon for a little over a fiver.The thing is though is that they are not disposable.
Some calculations have us using 40 billion (that’s not a typo that’s 40 billion) plastic coat hangers per year. This generates 0.16kg of CO2 per coat hanger - scaled up that is the equivalent of6.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or equal to1.5 million family cars. They are even difficult to recycle as they are the wrong size for the recycling machines!
What can you do about plastic coat hangers?
The first answer is to buy fewer clothes. The next answer is to refuse plastic coat hangers when offered them. Hanging clothes does keep them crease free and in good-nick but perhaps it’s time to re-think that. If you don’t have wooden or metal coat hangers then is the benefit of hanging up your clothes worth the damage to the planet caused by plastic coat hangers?
We use 40 billion plastic coat hangers per-year.
This might be a surprising one, but those inexpensive blankets that you have in the bedroom are probably made fromacrylic or polyester; both of these are thermoplastics made from crude oil. These materials arenot biodegradable and may even give offtoxic vapours that could be harmful to your health.
What can you do about plastic blankets?
Switch to natural fibre blankets, such as those made of wool. Just try and make sure that the wool used comes from acruelty-free source. Of course, the greenest way to get a natural fiber blanket is to knit one yourself using cruelty-free wool. You can pick up cruelty-free wool from theWild Wool Shop on Etsy among other retailers. If you fancy trying your hand at spinning then why not pick up a fleece from the farm animal sanctuary in Worcestershire, UK.
Bedside Water Bottles
Most of us probably take water with us to put on the bedside table in some sort of container or another. It might make sense to use a plastic bottle, less chance of spilling it than in a cup but, as we’re sure you know, plastic bottles are terrible for the environment. With plastic pollution now considered as much of athreat to the planet as climate change
, we’re still consuming plastic bottles at a rate of20,000 every second, around 480 billion each year -the vast majority of which end up in the landfill.
What can you do about bedside water bottles?
Stop using plastic bottles full stop. Purchase a reusable bottle, don’t just take it with you when you go to bed, take it with you wherever you go. Spread the message to your friends and family and soon taking a stainless steel water bottle with you wherever you go will be as natural as taking your phone.
Elephant Box Alternative:
Our 750 ml food-grade stainless steel water bottle is easy to clean and won’t impart flavours. What’s more, 10p from every purchase goes to the wonderful people athttp://refill.org.uk/.
Our stainless steel cups are available in either 350 ml or 500 ml sizes and are sold in packs of two or four.
Plastic Free Living Room
One of the obvious sources of plastic in the living room is the TV. While we would advise you to get rid (in an environmentally friendly manner) of your TV (studies [here andhere] show that watching it is bad for your health) we’re going to look at more subtle ways you can become plastic free in the living room.
Most people have a bowl of some sort in their living room that they use for fruit or for putting their keys and assorted bits and pieces in. Quite often these bowls can be plastic, again they’re considered so disposable that you can pick one up on Amazon for under a tenner. The materials on most of these bowls though are generally just described as ‘plastic’. This poses a problem finding out which of theseven types of plasticit impacts on your ability to recycle it. If the bowl is made of a mix of resins then it ishighly unlikely that it can be recycledand will, instead, end up as landfill.
What can you do about your plastic fruit bowl?
Switch to a more sustainable and long lasting solution for storing your fruit, keys and bits and bobs. Look at food grade, stainless steel alternatives, such as Elephant Box’s products or search for wooden equivalents.
Elephant Box Alternative:
Get yourself an Elephant Box stainless steel washing up bowl, not only do these large, stainless steel bowls look great they are also tough and will last you for many, many years.
Plastic Free Furniture
Plastic and part-plastic stools, tables, shelves you name it are everywhere and easily found in most high-street retailers. Like all plastics though these are hard to recycle and mostly end up in the landfill.
What can you do about plastic furniture?
We’re not for a moment suggesting that you run out and throw away all of your plastic furniture! But when the time comes to replace it make sure you buy plastic free. Wooden furniture can be very expensive brand new, but try looking around at local second-hand stores, recycling centres and even at your local tip. You will be amazed what you can find.
LET US KNOW WHAT WE’VE MISSED
What have we missed? What alternatives to plastic items in the home would you like to see suggested? Let us know and you could be featured on future blogs.