Who Can Help With the Plastic Crisis?
This is a question that someone asked me last week and it wasn’t an easy question to answer – I expected the answer to be an obvious, ‘yes!’ And of course this is true, but I also don’t like the idea of putting the responsibility of finding solutions in someone else’s corner. The people in charge of UK policy have made steps that show they are taking part in the plastic debate. Progress so far includes:
In 2018, microbeads were banned. These are solid particle, less than 1mm in size made of polyethylene but can be of other petrochemical plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene. Most commonly found in skincare or cleaning products (often for exfoliation or bulking out of a product), these are no longer allowed.
In 2020, restrictions were brought in to limit the use of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. Surveys had suggested that these items were forming a large part of beach litter. They can still be found in limited settings, but for the most part have been banned.
In 2022, the UK government introduced a plastic packaging tax. Whilst it has its limitations, this serves as a great way to encourage businesses to use recycled plastic within their packaging. The drawback lies in the details. For example, ‘recycled’ packaging only needs to contain 30% recycled material in order to avoid the tax. The recycling process also requires new plastic to strengthen the recycled plastic – so new plastic is still generated.
Next to come, in October 2023, a ban on single use plastic plates, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks, some cups and food containers will come into force. Again, there are exceptions, but these are positive steps. Another wave of items is also being considered, with wet wipes and small sachets (for sauces for example) on the list.
Every time progress is made, you can’t help but feel that the legislation could go further and be stricter – but we are seeing steps being made in our day to day lives.
When asked this question though, I am always reminded of what I can do to help too, as I definitely feel a responsibility to be part of the action and the conversation. Yes I make soap and shampoo, and other bathroom products, but the main aim when starting We’d Rather Lather was to raise awareness and a sense of responsibility. My squids care enough to want to make a difference, so I wanted to too. As you know, all of our products and packaging are plastic free so that people can make that choice in their lives too – so that as a business, our environmental impact is smaller. We also ask our suppliers to deliver plastic free where possible. It’s not enough though, as I need to put my money where my mouth is and make sure that as a family we are doing our part too.
Our wins at home include:
Handmade, naturally sourced soap bars;
Solid, vegan shampoo bars;
Ditching shower gel for soap bars, bath bombs and bath salts;
Cotton sanitary products;
Reusable flannels and cleaning cloths (ditching all single use cloths and wet wipes);
Cotton mesh bags for our vegetables (where possible);
Toilet rolls are delivered to us wrapped in recycled paper;
Tablets for the dishwasher, cleaning sprays and clothes washing that are delivered plastic free;
Food storage and picnic covers;
I am also lucky that I’m able to make my own shaving soap, body / face creams and moisturising bars, with the aim that these will be ready for sale one day, along with conditioner bars.
As a family though, we also still have much progress to make, still to make the switch with;
Food in general (wrapped meats, salads…);
Clothes (although we have started buying a lot more preloved);
Theres so much really, too many to list – like hair styling, conditioner.
Budget is definitely a factor for us, and like many families, these choices need to be affordable. So we will keep looking and making small steps as we strive to ditch as much plastic as possible.
Squids Take Over the Internet
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