Plastic is a miracle material. Water-resistant, available in all sorts of textures and colours, and wow – what a lifespan.

When you start taking note of where it’s used, you realise it’s everywhere.

Those little stickers on fruit. Wrapped around your magazine subscription. Connecting swing tags to clothes. In dog parks to pick up poo. The poo will biodegrade in days but the bag will be around for up to 1000 years. Seems like overkill, don’t you think?

Beauty products are packed in it, car components are made out of it, cupboard doors are laminated with it, and TV remotes are moulded from it.

It’s a practical choice of material for items that are meant to last a long time, but the problem is that the plastic is going to be around long after those items outlive their usefulness.

There are plenty of alternatives. Seal waxed paper bags are a great way to store dry goods. Waxed fabric is great for anything damp. I have been using beeswax wraps to store cheese and they work way better than Clingwrap. Keep Cups don’t leak as much as normal takeaway cups and my coffee stays hotter for longer. Reusable metal water bottles don’t absorb smells or flavours, and they’re tougher than plastic bottles.

And nobody needs a plastic straw. If you really need a straw, buy a metal one.

I have been trying to avoid buying single-use plastic and this process has made me realise how prevalent it is. You can’t buy berries (frozen or fresh) without buying plastic. Most dairy is packed in plastic. All meat comes in a plastic tray or is placed in a plastic bag (unless you take your own containers to the deli or butcher).

For a material that has only been around since 1907, humankind has embraced it wholeheartedly.

I think it’s time to let it go again.

What do you think about plastic? Do we rely on it too much?


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