Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 28th May 19, 3:49 PM
    • 8,805Posts
    • 31,078Thanks
    The War against plastic waste
    • #1
    • 28th May 19, 3:49 PM
    The War against plastic waste 28th May 19 at 3:49 PM
    I don't know if we have a specific thread on here for sharing tips against reducing our plastic use - perhaps we could share them, but here's a current "bee in my bonnet".

    We recently received our National Trust magazine which came packaged in an oute wrapper which said:
    "I am 100% compostable and contain Potato Starch. The National Trust has moved away from polythene wrapping to a more environmentally friendly potato starch film which is compostable.Here are several ways you can dispose of your wrapper:

    1 Add to a well maintined home/garden compost heap
    2. Place it with your garden waste for industrial composting

    3 Use to line your food waste caddy"

    I realised we receive quite a few publications with these plastic wrappers, including magazines issued by weekend paper supplements so my self assigned task is to write to them all asking why, if the National Trust can adopt such a policy, the rest of them can't do the same ?

    Anybody care to join me and do the same?

    And please do share your tips for reducing plastic. The waste is reaching epidemic proportions, isn't it?

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply.
    Last edited by MSE Tine; 18-06-2019 at 8:51 AM.
Page 11
    • Nonnadiluca
    • By Nonnadiluca 16th Jul 19, 11:13 AM
    • 243 Posts
    • 2,450 Thanks
    Re reusable produce bags - make your own, no special skills needed, just the ability to machine or hand sew straight(ish):lines!! I have made some from cotton but old net curtains work really well:
    cut a rectangle about 60cm X 40cm; ( adjust the size to your preference)
    turn over about 3cm along one of the long edges for a channel, pin and sew;
    right sides together, sew the side seam, starting at the bottom of the channel, and the bottom seam; turn the right way out and thread drawstring through the channel, I have used thin cord, string and knitting yarn;
    tie a knot in the string, pop into your shopping bag and there you go ☺
    Net curtains work well because they are lightweight, it's easy to see what's inside and they wash and dry quickly and easily. You can often pick them up for pennies in charity shops. Why not make some for your friends? The more people see them being used, the sooner it will become the normal thing to do and everyone will be using them. We can but hope! Hope that's helpful.
    • Farway
    • By Farway 16th Jul 19, 1:03 PM
    • 7,485 Posts
    • 14,516 Thanks
    I have an ageing iron which is still perfectly functional but the plastic covered cabling has broken through the outer flex quite badly in a couple of places
    I,ve asked around but can't find an electrician anywhere who is capable of Replacing the flex for a new one. I,ve wound Insulating tape around the outer flex a couple of times but it keeps coming unstuck.

    Any ideas on who might be able to do this? . It seems all appliance manufacturers like to build in unnecessary obsolescence into their gadgets simply to sell more of them.
    Originally posted by Primrose

    That's a shame, once upon a time you could buy linen covered cable by the foot in the likes of B & Q. But even if you still could I suspect the cost of labour, assuming not DIY, would kill that idea stone dead
    As an aside, if you store the iron with the cable not wound round the handle the cable will last longer. Apologies if you already do this and egg sucking is second nature to you
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 16th Jul 19, 2:44 PM
    • 751 Posts
    • 6,129 Thanks
    i've also had a metal water bottle for a while now and recently decided I would take it with me regularly if out for walks and ask any cafe/food shop/etc I needed to to refill it (even if it hasn't got a "refill" sticker on the window).

    So I'd be interested to know what that reply is please? That being in case I ever get refused.

    Another thing is that many entertainment venues give out drinks bought there in plastic glasses. I've been able to get round it so far by saying I'm drinking my drink right there and it gets handed to me in a proper glass and then taking the glass back to the bar when I've finished with it.

    I can think of entertainment venues that give out their drinks in plastic glasses and also refuse to let people take their own drinks in with them to the venue (saying they are "a security risk"). I would imagine those venues are lying and the real reason they are saying that is because they want people to buy their drinks instead. I'm okay about buying their drinks, but don't intend to have them in a plastic glass and am wondering what the best way to deal with that is? I am inclined to take my own mug with me (they couldn't make up a "rule" on the spot of saying " might get broken") and, if they still tried that with pottery, then do what Ye Olde Ale Drinkers do and take my own metal mug with me for them to fill with a measure of whatever drink I was buying. WWYD in that situation?
    Originally posted by MoneySeeker1
    We went to a festival a few weeks ago and it seems to be the done thing to carry an old fashioned probably got at a charity shop metal tankard on a carabiner at your waist. Also the reusable glasses we got for our drinks that we brought home are great to carry in your bag as they’re light and pint sized for drinks out. I know they’re plastic but pretty hardy and as everyone says as long as these things are reused over and over and not thrown away and prevent more single use glasses being used then they’re maybe the next step. Maybe venues and pubs with outdoor bars need to start using those- reusable plastic glasses instead of single use.

    I’ve started to get more interested in all this lately since I’m not working atm and have more time to read and make more effort to change certain things in my lifestyle. We got a campervan and spend much more time in the so called countryside and are continually picking up litter and waste from beautiful wild places ( not just beaches). This always shocks me as the people who a re out there are generally lovers of the outdoors and yet some still leave litter and waste. We need to heed the code in the USA national parks “ trash in trash out”. One thing they do have right in the USA is that the users of the NP’s seem to care about those spaces.

    Things I’m working on:

    I now use environmentally friendly detergents and cleaners, am going to look at shampoo bars etc once my existing have been used up. I also dry my washing as much as possible on a line outside. These are habits I’ve got since using a camper as I think you’re closer to nature and closer to the waste you produce. It doesn’t just whizz away out your house. You’ve got to deal with it all in a small space.

    I don’t buy any wrappings for food but use my Tupperware that I’ve had for a while to store it. I’m looking at buying some of the wax wrapping too for sandwiches etc

    I try and buy as much unwrapped fruit and veg as I can ( I live near Morissons) and just put it in my basket loose till It’s weighed and I put it in my cotton shopping bag. All has to be washed anyway and has been handled all the way through its life so I see no problem in that. It is much more expensive this way and limited to what is available but there’s only 2 of us so don’t need great quantities.

    Next step is to buy my fish and meat in my own containers. Luckily the Morrison’s has a butchers and fish counter and also loose bread. My main problem is my hubby is gf and there’s no way I can buy gf bread unwrapped. I’d love to buy milk in glass bottles but at the moment this isn’t feasible. I’m looking into making my own nut milks too.

    Clothes wise ( and soft furnishings wise) I’m trying to only buy what I need when something wears out. Also hoping to buy more secondhand everything. I’m a bit of a clothesaholic since I lost weight a few years ago so this has been a challenge but the best thing is I’ve learnt exactly what suits me so no mistakes usually made and any old things that end up unwearable, I’m mending, altering or making something else in as much as possible. I’m lucky as I’m pretty handy with a needle and thread. I’m meeting my sisters for a holiday in a few weeks and we’re doing a clothes swap of things that We have that we don’t wear much so hopefully we’ll all end up with some new to us clothes.

    My turning point tbh wasn’t all the public outcry lately, but moving from a house we’d lived in for 28 years and realising how much unwanted and unneeded stuff we actually owned and possessed. We got rid of so much ‘stuff’ and both agreed we wouldn’t do what we’d done in the past and fill our new house full that way again. Now it’s one in one out, and only if needed. We buy nicer things if we need them just less. Also having emptied 2 parents houses lately realising that most stuff you own will be Unwanted by your family when the time comes and they’ll have the awful guilty task of having to dispose of a lifetimes of someone else’s stuff. We don’t buy tat from holidays as momentoes but often get something useful and from a local small business for example food item or charity/vintage shops (once I picked up the perfect bialetti coffee pot for the camper for £2 from a charity shop)

    The best thing to do is spend your money on moments and experiences and seeing places slowly whilst it’s still there to see. It makes me sad that maybe the places I love won’t be there pas my lifetime.

    It’s about all of us doing little things gradually that build up to a whole change of heart by everyone hopefully in the end.

    Ps sorry for the ridiculously long post
    Last edited by medsdemon; 16-07-2019 at 2:50 PM. Reason: Apologising !
    Grocery challenge October: £228.28/£250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : £291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : £0/240.00 NSD
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 16th Jul 19, 2:49 PM
    • 751 Posts
    • 6,129 Thanks
    That's a shame, once upon a time you could buy linen covered cable by the foot in the likes of B & Q. But even if you still could I suspect the cost of labour, assuming not DIY, would kill that idea stone dead
    As an aside, if you store the iron with the cable not wound round the handle the cable will last longer. Apologies if you already do this and egg sucking is second nature to you
    Originally posted by Farway
    I think the problem is they’re all built as sealed units and it makes it almost impossible to repair .
    We’ve just had to replace an iron and reading though the internet realised so many people had also had the same problem as us and that it is impossible to repair. So we had to go out and buy a new one, which tbh felt wrong, but I can’t do without one. It as the even that old
    Grocery challenge October: £228.28/£250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : £291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : £0/240.00 NSD
    • GSDPenny
    • By GSDPenny 16th Jul 19, 3:36 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    Me and DH use oat milk but they come in cartons that cannot be recycled!
    Originally posted by Georgiepie
    Oat milk is actually ridiculously easy to make and costs pennies. My first attempt was horrible (stale porridge oats pre-soaked) and then someone pointed me to this recipe and it works.

    I bought fresh, 'quality' oats (bonus that they're wrapped in paper. When I don't have any cashew nuts, I use a splosh of rapeseed oil as she mentions in the video that Oatly list rapeseed oil in their ingredients - most 'vegetable' oils are 100% rapeseed.

    Another bonus is that it really is low waste as I use the strained out pulp and add them to oatmeal and raisin cookies or banana bread. Only about 50% of the dry oats or flour otherwise it's too wet and takes aaaagggggeeeeessss to cook.
    • MoneySeeker1
    • By MoneySeeker1 16th Jul 19, 4:58 PM
    • 123 Posts
    • 227 Thanks
    Been searching on Amaz*n and found there are a noticeable number of stainless steel glasses and found just the size that should do nicely for either large glass of wine or small lager and am now awaiting them. Hopefully there will be a copycat effect of lots of people asking me how they can get some too when they spot me using them. I can see that social events will often equal "bring a big handbag" time for me personally - so I've got space to carry one with me.

    Though, of course, it's true that there are ones with handles and it's possible to buy one of those and wear clothes with a belt (which they can be hung on) as per Ye Olde Worlde Ale drinkers.

    Glad to hear they are starting to make an appearance.

    Must have a go at that oat milk recipe and I'm guessing that my olive oil would substitute for rapeseed oil.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 16th Jul 19, 9:03 PM
    • 9,827 Posts
    • 33,375 Thanks
    And yesterday I was in Lush who told me that they collect all no 5 plastic bottle tops, even if they are not Lush''s.
    Originally posted by Vanlady
    Google is not helping. What please is a “no 5 plastic bottle top”? (Sisters adore Lush stuff!)

    I routinely lug both a recognisable reusable coffee cup & a sistema lidded soup mug (plastic but Much Used!) with a ziplock of teabags - I work in different offices & chuck the mugs into my scout bag so wherever there is hot water, I can have a brew! I can’t see a pub turning down my trade if I ask for it “in my mug please”. Although clearly something handsome in (charity shop sourced!) pewter, well scrubbed, would improve the aesthetic. The price of carabiners is eye watering but safer against misappropriation than a leather thong, I suppose. Also limiting on the amount of falling-over-water as the bruises would be fearsome.
    ETA the carabiners I was thinking of I caved with & were PPE.

    Where has the iron cable got iffy? Coming out of the iron or along the length? As along the length it can be cut, tidied & then heat sealed with shrink sleeve - so long as the sleeve cannot come off, it’s considered an acceptably safe repair & you can buy the sleeving online but way better to find a sparky who has it anyway & will sort it for you.
    Last edited by DigForVictory; 16-07-2019 at 9:13 PM. Reason: Research & query
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 17th Jul 19, 9:10 PM
    • 9,827 Posts
    • 33,375 Thanks
    Thinking about it, I’m mildly of the view that a nice pewter mug worn as a statement necklace might trigger conversation & possibly even offers of a drink. Saves worrying about a belt, but adds the ‘what would be the best neckline’ for such an enterprise....
    • Vanlady
    • By Vanlady 18th Jul 19, 11:59 AM
    • 57 Posts
    • 552 Thanks
    . DFV - "What please is a “no 5 plastic bottle top”? (Sisters adore Lush stuff!)"
    (Apologies, but my phone won't seem to let me quote) . Lush informed me that the bottle top, or cap, had to have a number 5 on it. It's very hard to see the numbers so I'm just going to collect various plastic tops that I have and take them in and see how it goes. Although, since I have reduced my plastic consumption, I don't have many.
    Also, loving the pewter mug concept!

    Moneyseeker1- !"I'd be interested to know what that reply is please? That being in case I ever get refused."
    My reply would be to politely enlighten them to the plastic catastrophe that is happening. Although because of the media coverage that plastic waste now has, I'm sure most people are aware of it. It just seems some choose not to do anything about it, judging by the amount of litter, mostly plastic, strewn around everywhere. Whenever I am out and about now, I can't stop myself from picking up bits of rubbish. It's encouraging to see lots of others doing this too.

    Medsdemon - "it's all about all of us doing little things gradually that build up to a whole change of heart by everyone hopefully in the end."
    I loved reading your post, and I totally agree with this.

    I have recently invested in buying myself and my loved ones some steel sporks to carry around in our bags. I have been looking in the shops for ages now but couldn't find any, so had to revert to buying them from the rainforest shop.
    • tboo
    • By tboo 18th Jul 19, 3:15 PM
    • 962 Posts
    • 4,667 Thanks
    Google is not helping. What please is a “no 5 plastic bottle top”? (Sisters adore Lush stuff!)
    Originally posted by DigForVictory

    Some info

    Much of the confusion with caps stems from the fact that they are made of a different plastic resin than the bottle or jug they secure.

    Most caps are made of polypropylene (#5 plastic), with some (like sports drink bottles) composed of high-density polyethylene (#2 plastic).

    Plastic bottles and jugs are typically #1 or #2 plastic.

    “You’re only here for a short visit.
    Don’t hurry, don't worry and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
    Walter Hagen

    • Mummy2cheekymonkeys
    • By Mummy2cheekymonkeys 18th Jul 19, 4:18 PM
    • 248 Posts
    • 1,680 Thanks
    I was told by a lady in the body shop that if you take the bottles of shower gel back to them to get the £5 voucher they now offer, they send the lids to lush and they melt them down to make the worktops in their stores. Not sure if that is true or not.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 20th Jul 19, 7:33 PM
    • 9,827 Posts
    • 33,375 Thanks
    Someone certainly claims to on their website but I've forgotten which, sorry! Research - Lush though I notice they do not say How Many Plastic bottletops you need to bring in before they'll let you loose on their 'naked' range. Dash - I do better with a target!

    I am now the possessor of a wooden toothbrush, bought whilst away on training & thinking "I keep buying these dashed things" so I took the extra step & raided Planet Organic on the Tottenham Court Road. I was very nearly seduced by their Last Straw, a telescoping straw in a pretty capsule case to go on a key-ring (never did wholly grasp where the brush was supposed to go) but thought I Have Two Packs of ordinary metal straws already which I am not using enough & went to examine their dental range. (Also what they call Titanium refers to the colour not the stainless steel metal.) They are doing a Buy One, Get One Half Price so I'm sorted.
    And I got a bamboo carrycase off eBay from China (oh the shame & guilt), as the store didn't do cases. I even got a glass & tin lidded jar of toothpaste to chivvy me in the eco direction.

    I have to say the string bags are working out Brilliantly - even if it takes a bit of practice loading them & you really can't conceal purchases terribly easily. (I had sanitary stuff encapsulated in fruit - and that's next on my to investigate & sort list. You can pay over £20 for three reusable pads, which seems madness when you can both make your own & chose the fabrics etc!)
    Last edited by DigForVictory; 20-07-2019 at 7:38 PM.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 22nd Jul 19, 5:40 PM
    • 9,827 Posts
    • 33,375 Thanks
    I have found the waxed cloth wraps my cousin made for me for Christmas! I can absolutely see them managing lump cheese (maybe not so much the really smelly stuff, but who knows?) - and it's only the size which has me thinking maybe not sandwiches.

    I shall review the ready-to-rag summer frocks to see if they have any near teatowel sized pieces so I can make a wrap that will double as a tablecloth for my desk. The Good Housekeeping method for making your own wraps is here.
    • Supersavera
    • By Supersavera 23rd Jul 19, 3:49 AM
    • 13 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Great thread, we must spread the word and encourage people to recycle and care about nature
    A bit off the topic:
    Just yesterday I've read a post about artificial grass and was shocked that people use it insted of natural lawn in their yards and wash it with chemicals. They just get rid of grass and spoil the soil and ground water I suppose. It's all just becase they are too lazy to mow.
    I'm in shock
    • Charlton King
    • By Charlton King 23rd Jul 19, 9:54 AM
    • 2,005 Posts
    • 1,490 Thanks
    Charlton King
    I was wondering if we couldn't have another thread specifically related to tips and ideas for reducing plastic stuff purchases.

    Even quite small changes would be useful, to modify a thought from Mr Tesco... and there must be people out there who have thought of ways which we could all use.

    Every plastic toothbrush ever made in the world since the 1950s is still somewhere on the planet... and yet these have existed all along: sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiYmL6i4srjAhVxs3EKHd4_BpcQ_AUIEigC &biw=1440&bih=757
    • maryb
    • By maryb 23rd Jul 19, 11:46 AM
    • 4,006 Posts
    • 49,669 Thanks
    The difference using a decent electric toothbrush has made to my teeth and gums means that is one area where I'm not prepared to compromise. But I believe Terracycle offer recycling facilities for all types of dental products if there's a drop off point nearby
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 23rd Jul 19, 12:28 PM
    • 3,532 Posts
    • 9,451 Thanks
    Wooden toothbrushes to far for me the bristles are nylon 6 unless you go the real deal and have pig hair like back in the Victorian era.
    I think this is where it starts to tip into hairy shirt for me, where plastic becomes vilified I probably use between four and six toothbrush heads a year on my waste so around 24 max for my household im happy enough with that.
    • Doom_and_Gloom
    • By Doom_and_Gloom 23rd Jul 19, 12:48 PM
    • 3,816 Posts
    • 13,138 Thanks
    The annoying thing with replacement heads is they usually come in plastic blister (clam) packs too aswell (or simular plastic packaging) as the little plastic holding with cardboard back as they are individually wrapped!
    Yes I use an electric toothbrush myself and bought many heads ages ago. Before I run out I'm going to buy a compatible head set that instead of coming in the plastic as well are packed in cardboard. There are unfortunately some areas due to a disability and having less energy that I have difficulty doing. I would much prefer the bamboo brush even with it's nylon bristles as less plastic overall but my dental hygyine would suffer greatly.
    Waiting for a bamboo head that is compatible with my toothbrush...
    There are facilities you can send the heads to and they recycle them but recycling in my view is not the goal with plastic, although a good thing to do, it is reducing it as much as possible.
    I am a vegan woman. My OH is a lovely omni guy
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 23rd Jul 19, 1:31 PM
    • 3,532 Posts
    • 9,451 Thanks
    Depending on your toothbrush Livecoco do plastic free packaging its plastic heads you can return to them for recycling if you wish as they are black plastic so non household recyclable.
    • Charlton King
    • By Charlton King 23rd Jul 19, 2:56 PM
    • 2,005 Posts
    • 1,490 Thanks
    Charlton King
    Just returned from a trip to Tesco: serried ranks of plastic toothbrushes, in plastic packaging, as far as the eye can see.

    Using a wooden toothbrush, even with nylon bristles, dispenses with 98% of the plastic input...

    ... and I suspect this industry-pushed mantra of 'electric (yet more energy use) being better than manual' is over-stated - my dentist is perfectly happy with manual provided it's done properly.

    This is just one, relatively minor issue but it's typical of the syndrome where gullible consumers swallow the marketing... and the use of plastic products... uncritically and even unthinkingly.

    It's hard to break out of old ways... the number of people I see in the checkout queue still not bothering to bring a bag with them and reaching, glazed look on their faces, for yet another carrier as they spout rubbish into their mobiles...
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,235Posts Today

8,813Users online

Martin's Twitter