Eco Living: How Much Plastic is There in Your Life?

Plastic, Plastic Everywhere

I decided to monitor how much plastic I touched in a day and it went something like this:

  • Alarm clock
  • Kettle
  • Milk bottle
  • Shower gel container
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste tube
  • Hairbrush
  • Make up containers
  • Television remote
  • Toaster
  • Butter container
  • Fridge door
  • Shoes
  • Front door
  • Car keys
  • Car
  • Work access card
  • Computer
  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Telephone
  • Teabags
  • Mobile phone
  • Yoghurt pot
  • Cutlery handles
  • Washing up liquid
  • Crisp packet
  • Food packaging

etc. etc. etc.

How did we get to this stage – where practically everything in our life is made of plastic?

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The 1930s

I asked my grandmother to recreate her typical day from the 1930s and this is what she said:

Alarm clockMetal
Milk bottleGlass with a cardboard lid
Shower gelSoap
Toothpaste tubeTin
HairbrushWood and natural bristles
ToasterToasting fork
Butter containerCeramic
Front doorWood
ComputerMetal typewriter
PenWood and metal nib
TeabagsLoose tea
LunchboxGrease proof paper
Food packagingNone or paper bags
CrispsNot invented
YoghurtUnheard of in Britain before the 60s!

But even in the 1980s and 90s I remember toothpaste tubes that weren’t made of plastic, loose fruit for sale in supermarkets and paper bags everywhere.

Didn’t any of these wonderful scientists who developed plastic think about what would happen to it in the future?

Yes, it was a fantastic invention but we are suffering for this lack of foresight now. When I was at art college in the 1990s we took part in a national project on reducing packaging in conjunction with an environmental group, so how come 25 years later, it has only just seemed to dawn on everyone that this is a major problem?

Is the government’s lack of action to do with the businesses that give them financial backing?

So what if anything can we do about the climate catastrophe? If we as individuals try to limit our use of single-use plastic, will it really make any difference?

Plastic toy soldiers marching
Photo by on

But what else can we do?

Read The plastic backlash

What are you doing?

Watch Oceans of the Future

Sign Greenpeace’s Petition

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