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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Luke
    • By MSE Luke 17th Jan 18, 12:42 PM
    • 270Posts
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    MSE Luke
    13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash
    • #1
    • 17th Jan 18, 12:42 PM
    13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash 17th Jan 18 at 12:42 PM
    'Plastic waste has been in the headlines recently, with the PM proposing plastic-free aisles in supermarkets, Scotland planning to ban plastic cotton buds and Iceland stores aiming to slash plastic use. And its with good reason shockingly, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050...'

Page 1
    • minislim
    • By minislim 17th Jan 18, 2:15 PM
    • 312 Posts
    • 177 Thanks
    minislim
    • #2
    • 17th Jan 18, 2:15 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Jan 18, 2:15 PM
    i think partly the companies responsible for the products are at fault. it seems far to easy to just package it in plastic.
    a simple way to sort part of this problem is to revert back to glass bottles like we used to get things in.

    another thing that needs resolving is local councils accepting all plastics in their recycling collections.
    most accept the bottle element but not the tops and caps.
    i always put all my plastic waste in the recycling bin. in this day in age you can recycle all plastics in some way or another.
    seeing as i pay for this service in my council tax and they've cut my bin collections to once every three weeks they can do their bit!
    i suspect its just councils being lazy and not wanting to separate the different plastics.
    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 17th Jan 18, 2:27 PM
    • 3,294 Posts
    • 2,120 Thanks
    Ectophile
    • #3
    • 17th Jan 18, 2:27 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Jan 18, 2:27 PM
    My local council takes all sorts of plastics for recycling - bottles and their tops, tubs, trays, plastic bags and other plastic wrap. Pretty much anything except foil-plastic mixes and hard plastic items.

    But given that China has just banned the import of unsorted mixed plastic, I suspect an awful lot of it is going to end up stockpiled somewhere or burned to generate electricity in incinerators.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
    • dirtymagician
    • By dirtymagician 17th Jan 18, 3:45 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    dirtymagician
    • #4
    • 17th Jan 18, 3:45 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Jan 18, 3:45 PM
    We started on a bit of mission early 2017 after realising we were filling our blue plastic bin within a week, this is what we did and are still doing a year on.

    Milk from a milkman - glass bottles, rinse return and the quality of milk is far nicer, slightly more expensive but not having to dash out for milk is nice and support local.

    Brita tank. 20l tank for the fridge and the filters are dropped off at tesco when we pass. 2 nice bottles to take water in no more bottles in the bin.

    Tupperwear for meats. We go to our local butcher for whatever we need, he weighs it and it goes into the boxes (we already owned them) so no waste, just wash and take back, i also take back the plastic boxes the takeaway uses and they refill them.

    I also buy Barr softdrinks from my local shop, they are more expensive but they are glass.

    Visited the Eden Project last year and found their bar soap is brilliant, so this has replaced my shampoo and facewash and has helped clear my lifelong skin problems.


    We are trying to adopt the mantra of not letting plastic things into our house but it's so difficult. Wish everything came in metal, glass or paper, hopefully things are changing
    Last edited by dirtymagician; 17-01-2018 at 3:50 PM.
    • Fellwalker
    • By Fellwalker 22nd Jan 18, 6:31 PM
    • 74 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Fellwalker
    • #5
    • 22nd Jan 18, 6:31 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Jan 18, 6:31 PM
    1. SOME fruit and veg is cheaper without plastic…
    I reuse my clear vegetable bags many times, even though they are very thin. In Tesco using Scan and Shop, I use the labels from weighing fruit and veg to patch old bags for life.
    2. Refill your water bottle for FREE
    I use three bottles three times a week each. If you buy standard 3/4 litre plastic bottle with a sport cap (a bit over a pound in total), just reuse them. I bought a pack of 6 a couple of years ago and still use 4 of them - the other two snapped their caps after all that use.
    3. Buy refills of coffee, soap, herbs and spices etc
    Be VERY careful. I have NEVER found coffee refills to be cheaper. Often the bag for the other items is NOT recyclable whereas the original is.
    5. Get a REAL bag for life
    This is NOT recent. I was using them at least 5 years ago, could be much longer. I have them from Morrisons, Lidl and Asda in addition to those you mention. My longest lasting was 2 1/2 years for a Sainsbury's Christmas bag that I eventually used to take some items to a friend. As mentioned, use sticky labels from other purchased goods to repair them.

    NB Tesco Extra near is does not have anywhere to recycle the bags that say "recycle this with carrier bags at larger stores".

    PS I was horrified to find that MSE has signed up with Facebook to manage logins to its news stories.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 25th Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    • 1,553 Posts
    • 576 Thanks
    sevenhills
    • #6
    • 25th Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    'Plastic waste has been in the headlines recently, with the PM proposing plastic-free aisles in supermarkets, Scotland planning to ban plastic cotton buds and Iceland stores aiming to slash plastic use. And its with good reason shockingly, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050...'
    Originally posted by MSE Luke
    The issue seems to be the plastic floating in the ocean.

    Will banning reducing plastic carrier bag use and plastic straws, plates and cups have any affect on this?
    What items have been found floating in the ocean, I didn't realise plastic floated.

    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 25th Jan 18, 10:55 PM
    • 3,294 Posts
    • 2,120 Thanks
    Ectophile
    • #7
    • 25th Jan 18, 10:55 PM
    • #7
    • 25th Jan 18, 10:55 PM
    Plastic bags do float. And then get eaten by turtles, which mistake them for jellyfish.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 26th Jan 18, 6:34 AM
    • 1,553 Posts
    • 576 Thanks
    sevenhills
    • #8
    • 26th Jan 18, 6:34 AM
    • #8
    • 26th Jan 18, 6:34 AM
    Plastic bags do float. And then get eaten by turtles, which mistake them for jellyfish.
    Originally posted by Ectophile
    We are a very long way from banning them, we just pay 5p at the shops.
    We buy millions of them everyday. Same with dog poo bags.

    Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites.
    I know Google can be wrong; but the above is the cause of turtle decline, no mention of plastic.

    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 26th Jan 18, 8:19 AM
    • 7,479 Posts
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    Martyn1981
    • #9
    • 26th Jan 18, 8:19 AM
    • #9
    • 26th Jan 18, 8:19 AM
    I didn't realise plastic floated.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    It depends on the type of plastic and its relative density v's water. For example:

    Polyethylene floats, as does polypropylene which is used for many items such as plastic bags. Obviously expanded polystyrene floats as it's used for buoyancy aids.

    We are a very long way from banning them, we just pay 5p at the shops.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    True, but the number issued each day has fallen massively, and the policy also helps to educate, spreading a better understanding. Plus of course, larger re-useable bags are far easier to use.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 26th Jan 18, 12:37 PM
    • 1,255 Posts
    • 14,993 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    I know Google can be wrong; but the above is the cause of turtle decline, no mention of plastic.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Not sure what you Googled, but there is plenty of mention - take your pick. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=is+plastic+endangering+turtles&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&dcr=0&ei=NB9rWo-YOufv8AefkLaYDQ
    October Grocery Challenge - Food 0/80, Alcohol 0/20
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    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 3,500/5,000
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 27th Jan 18, 9:55 AM
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    sevenhills
    Discarded fishing gear was the main culprit, according to your link that goes to the Independent.

    Turtles were also found trapped in "six pack" beer can holders, plastic chairs and balloon string. I have not heard anyone proposing a ban on 'six packs' which are usually aluminum.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-pollution-turtles-dying-oceans-worldwide-tangled-waste-study-a8107616.html

    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 27th Jan 18, 10:50 AM
    • 1,255 Posts
    • 14,993 Thanks
    Save Dosh
    Discarded fishing gear was the main culprit, according to your link that goes to the Independent.

    Turtles were also found trapped in "six pack" beer can holders, plastic chairs and balloon string. I have not heard anyone proposing a ban on 'six packs' which are usually aluminum.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-pollution-turtles-dying-oceans-worldwide-tangled-waste-study-a8107616.html
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    This was my link, not the one you cherry picked above. https://www.google.co.uk /search?q=is+plastic+endangering+turtles&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&dcr=0&ei=NB9rWo-YOufv8AefkLaYDQThere are lots of links there, some talking about plastic bags being mistaken for food. Im not really sure why you are arguing the odds, I thought this post was about reducing plastic and we were all on the same page. With regard to the six pack, they are not referring to the tins, they are referring to the plastic at the top that holds them together - these things https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=plastic+6+pack+holder&client=firefox-b-ab&dcr=0&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirm K C8-vfYAhVhIcAKHQMRAW8Q_AUICygC&biw=1365&bih=696#imgrc =JFLXfK0-znuRaM:
    Last edited by Save Dosh; 27-01-2018 at 10:52 AM.
    October Grocery Challenge - Food 0/80, Alcohol 0/20
    Bulk Fund Left/Food 46.28
    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 3,500/5,000
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 27th Jan 18, 3:06 PM
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    sevenhills
    Im not really sure why you are arguing the odds, I thought this post was about reducing plastic and we were all on the same page.
    Originally posted by Save Dosh
    Because people are like sheep, and they just follow each other without thinking.

    If a plastic reduction makes any difference, it needs to be massive; which will lead to more things being made from paper/wood/trees.

    We already have a problem with deforestation, we need to thread carefully.
    I dont accept that turtles are in decline because of plastic, it may be responsible for some unfortunate deaths.

    In 2010, a study conducted by Duke University reported data on marine turtle bycatch for the past 18 years. It showed approximately 85,000 turtles were reported as captured. The study however, only took data from 1% of the total fishing fleets in the ocean. This means that most likely the numbers from those 18 years were in the millions.

    http://www.seaturtleinc.org/rehabilitation/threats-to-sea-turtles/

    • Save Dosh
    • By Save Dosh 29th Jan 18, 2:48 AM
    • 1,255 Posts
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    Save Dosh
    Because people are like sheep, and they just follow each other without thinking.

    If a plastic reduction makes any difference, it needs to be massive; which will lead to more things being made from paper/wood/trees.

    We already have a problem with deforestation, we need to thread carefully.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    I'm not a sheep. Plastic reduction IS becoming massive. Most of the major supermarkets are talking about reducing 'POINTLESS' packaging. It's not about replacing it with paper. There are lots of inventions coming on the market for bio-degradeable bottles, edible bottles, etc. The biggest threat to deforestation is crops grown for animal fodder, so people can eat meat. Anyway, no offence, I'm done talking with you. https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/supermarkets-plan-reduce-plastic-pointless-packaging/
    October Grocery Challenge - Food 0/80, Alcohol 0/20
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    Save 12k in 2018 #80 = 3,500/5,000
    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 3rd Feb 18, 11:44 PM
    • 2,933 Posts
    • 3,619 Thanks
    Ben84
    a simple way to sort part of this problem is to revert back to glass bottles like we used to get things in.
    Originally posted by minislim
    Glass is infinitely recyclable, made from abundant sand, and it's awful for the environment. Compared to plastic or card cartons, glass is exceptionally heavy - resulting in the use of a large amount of material - a material which must be melted and formed at very high temperatures, the result being much higher energy consumption. It's also bulky to package thing in and rarely comes in sizes greater than 1-litre, so it will reduce the amount that can be transported per space unit, and adds more weight to the vehicle, both of which cause it to consume more fuel and emit more pollution per unit of liquid carried.

    Going back to glass is a popular idea, but it's a bad idea. I actively avoid glass as much as possible, it's pretty much the hummer of the packaging options. If you're going to drink soft drinks, concentrates you combined with tap water win easily over pre-mixed drinks. For everything else, what I've seen shows tetrapak and card cartons are best, followed by plastic. Bigger containers have an economy of scale, containing more liquid per packaging weight as their volume goes up - so choosing the bigger size containers tends to come with benefits too.

    Glass looks eco-friendly because it's easy to recycle, but disposal is one aspect of something's environmental impact, not a full picture. Environmental choices focused only on disposal and recycling options can go badly wrong if they encourage people to use bulky, high energy materials like glass over lighter, less energy intensive materials. Unfortunately, a lot of articles and even environmental groups focus on disposal as their main point, despite the limitations of doing this.

    I also wouldn't stress over the ocean plastic issue when choosing packaging. It's not an issue unless your rubbish is being released in to the sea - something I assume you don't do, and it's unlikely your local rubbish collection service are doing this either. The vast majority of ocean plastic originates from poor countries with poorly managed rubbish disposal. If you put your rubbish in the bin in the UK, it should make it to the landfill, recycling plant or waste to energy plant - depending which bin you use and where you live. Ultimately, non-toxic materials, for example food packaging, going to any of these places have modest environmental impact from disposal - the meaningful impacts come earlier in manufacturing.
    Last edited by Ben84; 03-02-2018 at 11:46 PM.
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 4th Feb 18, 8:33 AM
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    • 11,958 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    Glass is infinitely recyclable, made from abundant sand, and it's awful for the environment. Compared to plastic or card cartons, glass is exceptionally heavy - resulting in the use of a large amount of material - a material which must be melted and formed at very high temperatures, the result being much higher energy consumption.
    Originally posted by Ben84
    I appreciate exactly what you are saying, but glass bottles, especially for milk are also re-useable, not just recyclable.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
    • GwylimT
    • By GwylimT 4th Feb 18, 8:48 AM
    • 6,167 Posts
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    GwylimT
    Kenya have a glass bottle deposit scheme, if a developing country can manage it the UK can.

    We avoid plastics as much as possible.
    We buy loose fruit and veg, small things like berries go into a paper bag.

    Cleaning products is a trickier one. We buy each container once and then refill these in store. When they eventually break we fully take apart a spray system so it can be recycled.

    Toiletries we use soap bars for hair, face, body and hands. We haven't been able to avoid plastic tubes for toothpaste, we do however use biodegradable toothbrushes.

    We don't buy synthetic clothing, we only use natural fibres so the tiny bits that cannot be filtered from the water will biodegrade, unlike fleece etc.

    Meat is tricky as are yoghurts, we have however found a few yoghurt brands here where the pot can be recycled. Meat from the butchers would go in a plastic bag, as it is prefrozen we usually stick it in a biodegradable bag and put it straight in the freezer drawer in that, as it's frozen the different meats don't stick together.

    Herbs and spices we do buy in plastic bags, otherwise we would be buying around eight glass pots per week.
    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 4th Feb 18, 7:32 PM
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    Ben84
    I appreciate exactly what you are saying, but glass bottles, especially for milk are also re-useable, not just recyclable.
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Potentially they're reusable, but aside from doorstep milk deliveries I don't know of any other product in the UK that reuses glass bottles? No deposit, no return packaging is pretty much universal in the UK now - and it seems this is similar around Europe and the US too. With single use as the standard, I think our best option is where possible to use packaging that uses the least material/energy consumption in manufacturing and delivery. With no closed loop system for packaging (something I am not promoting as such, it has downsides too) then we need to reduce the amount of material and energy going it to it. In this situation, shifting up to higher mass, higher energy options like glass and metal increases environmental damage.

    Although I'm not in principle against household recycling, the general perception that it is the single issue that matters above all others has I believe made household recycling - or at least the often misled understanding of it - one of the biggest environmental mistakes of the past few decades. People have continued to consume and generate more and more waste, and ironically feel good about it because they can recycle it! So many people have told me that they care about the environment, and to support this they say things like their recycle bin is always full or they've requested a second recycling bin. There's a real issue with the volume of waste they're making, but recycling seems to have negated awareness of this on an individual and even large scale level. Even local councils talk positively about the huge volume of waste recycled rather than about the huge volume of waste produced as an actual problem. Conversations about waste reduction I have almost always turn in to recycling options, as if the two are the same. Largely, people have gotten too hooked on recycling and the problems are growing. At first it started to greatly diminish awareness that rubbish is bad because it's things we invested resources in that are no longer useful, and turned the issue simply in to what to do with the stuff. Now it's progressing in to a growing demand for some of the most resource intensive materials over low resource consuming alternatives as people pursue recycling without considering the wider impact of products.
    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 4th Feb 18, 8:08 PM
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    Ben84
    Kenya have a glass bottle deposit scheme, if a developing country can manage it the UK can.
    Originally posted by GwylimT
    They may be cleaning and reusing the bottles? The viability of that depends how labour intensive it is, as labour costs a lot more here. However, tesco did at one point have automated recycling banks that gave people points for depositing items, so potentially people can be motivated to use specific deposit places for rubbish.

    We avoid plastics as much as possible.
    We buy loose fruit and veg, small things like berries go into a paper bag.
    Originally posted by GwylimT
    Avoiding plastic is good, but replacing it with higher resource consuming materials like paper is detrimental to the environment.

    https://ecomyths.org/2014/05/27/myth-paper-bags-are-greener-than-plastic/

    Responsibly disposed of plastics reduce environmental impact overall compared to paper. However, I still prefer fruit and vegetables in paper, I find they keep better.

    Cleaning products is a trickier one. We buy each container once and then refill these in store. When they eventually break we fully take apart a spray system so it can be recycled.
    Originally posted by GwylimT
    Is this ecover refills? Unfortunately, my local ecover refill shop closed down some years ago and I don't know of any alternative. So, it was back to single use detergent packaging for us after that. I buy the method refill bags now for clothes detergent and washing up liquid, and use soda crystals as they come in a thin bag.

    Toiletries we use soap bars for hair, face, body and hands. We haven't been able to avoid plastic tubes for toothpaste, we do however use biodegradable toothbrushes.

    We don't buy synthetic clothing, we only use natural fibres so the tiny bits that cannot be filtered from the water will biodegrade, unlike fleece etc.
    Originally posted by GwylimT
    This is something I've only recently realised, but it's kind of obvious now I think about it that plastic fibre fabrics produce bits that go down the drain. Unfortunately, I've become pretty hooked on poly-cotton because it doesn't need ironing and own a lot of it now. Not ironing saves time and electric though, so I don't know how it balances out in the end. Like many choices, the environmental impacts are just different and hard to compare directly. I wonder about these things, but at the moment I'm after the big things I feel I can measure - like how much energy and water our house uses, and the weight and resource intensity of our rubbish.

    Meat is tricky as are yoghurts, we have however found a few yoghurt brands here where the pot can be recycled. Meat from the butchers would go in a plastic bag, as it is prefrozen we usually stick it in a biodegradable bag and put it straight in the freezer drawer in that, as it's frozen the different meats don't stick together.

    Herbs and spices we do buy in plastic bags, otherwise we would be buying around eight glass pots per week.
    Originally posted by GwylimT
    I've started buying the bags now. It makes sense, no glass and the bag is less plastic than one of those jar's caps anyway.
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 20th Feb 18, 8:13 PM
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    Anthorn
    Re. refilling coffee containers. Ouch! What we do is refill glass bottles which can be recycled with plastic foil containers which can't be recycled. Kenco Rich Roast and their eco refill is my example here. What it has going for it is "97% less packaging weight" - easier to carry home.

    Refilling/reusing plastic containers is the obvious way to reduce plastic waste and eco household cleaning products look to be the leader. There is Splosh which was founded on this principle and method which also provide refills. Splosh wins because the plastic refills can be returned to them to reuse or recycle.

    Lastly a little trick with plastic yoghurt pots: If they are boiled in a little water in a pressure cooker they revert to a plastic disc which can be used as a coaster. Only problem here is begging or borrowing a pressure cooker
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