Sustainable Family Life in a Time of Covid-19

Our guest blogger Tanya Carpenter shares her experiences of reducing her family's plastic consumption and how Covid-19 has impacted that journey.

Let’s talk about plastic use since covid-19. There’s a general consensus that plastic reduction and all our efforts to reduce single use plastic have pretty much been on hold since lockdown.

Disposable masks, millions of tiny bottles of hand sanitiser, refusal of reusables in coffee shops and supermarkets and getting whatever you can, wherever you can get it were seemingly staples of this strange period we’re now emerging from.

I’ve been trying to reduce my family’s single use plastic and switch to reusables and refillables since 2016 when my daughter was born. We no longer use single use kitchen towel, throwaway tissues, packets of baby wipes, cotton face pads and a whole host of other things. These changes were easy, all of these items when made reusable, are, essentially, bits of cut up material sewn into relevant sizes for the job. This is an easy swap and, in the height of the pandemic gave us some reassurance; we would always have these things and it was one less thing to go hunting round the supermarket for.

What was more difficult were the household items we were now using A LOT more of. Washing powder (because we did get dressed in the morning, despite the new found PJ fashion), washing up liquid, (because now ALL meals were being had at home), soap (because now we had to wash our hands 50 times a day) and surface spray (our new best friend).

What a joy then to find Bower Collective in the midst of all this angst and the difficulty weighing up keeping the family safe, versus continuing the plight of reducing plastic usage.

Firstly it’s amazing that Bower use primarily UK based companies for their products, that’s got to help with transport costs right? But then there’s the fact that the products themselves are non toxic and must adhere to ethical standards such as being cruelty free and are nearly all vegan. I feel less planet guilty already.

The best bit about Bower though, is the refill service. Yep that’s right, you get sent the equivalent of two or three bottles of your washing up liquid, surface spray, handwash, fabric conditioner in a plastic pouch (no wait, hear me out), pop it in your container and send those pouches back. Those pouches then get washed, sterilised and reused until they literally can’t be used any more at which point they are recycled. The man who invented plastic, Sten Gustaf Thulin couldn’t be prouder since his son actually suggested that was always the whole point of plastic bags

The thing I like most about this service is that it feels future proof and I can tell you that reusing and refilling feels good. It feels like contributing to the solution not the problem and I think there’s a sense of pride in that.

Finally it feels good because if there’s another lockdown, you’ll know with some confidence that you’ll still have surface spray and hand soap (not least because they come in 1 litre pouches, which, as I mentioned, is the equivalent of 2/3 bottles of normal spray or soap). So then you can focus on what really matters; keeping yourself and your family safe.

Written by Tanya Carpenter

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