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Living Without Plastic (and Other Nasty Stuff)

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Posted on : 2:19 PM | By : Nic | In : ,

Our home has become pretty much a toxin-free zone, a project I've been working on for a couple of years.  What's so great about eliminating toxins is that you also eliminate environmentally damaging materials as well.  Here's a shakedown of what we've done:


1.  Avoiding disposable plastics.  We use cloth bags for shopping, and we don't use plastic wrap.  I haven't been able to eliminate plastics in packaging yet... but if I have the option I go for glass or biodegradable corn plastic.

2.  Avoiding toxic materials in the home. We don't have those soft plastic shower curtains, no plastic plates or cups, no MDF or pressboard furniture, all of our plastic toys are made in Europe which means they use safe plastics, and our computers are Apple which also use safe plastics.

3.  Avoiding disposable items altogether.  I have cloth napkins, cloths for wiping up instead of paper towels and sponges, will soon have cloth diapers, and I usually use reusable feminine hygiene products.  

4.  No credit cards, lol.  Our wallets have very little plastic in them - I.D., Costco and library cards, and Interac.  Living debt free means less plastic too. :)

I think people also think that being 'green' means being expensive, which can sometimes be true, especially in the case of big items like mattresses.  Here's the list of low- costalternatives for all kinds of bad things:

Plastic bags - cloth (now all our grocery stores have them for cheap)
Produce bags - mesh bags
Packaging - buy in bulk and try to reuse the containers for storage
Cheap MDF - cheap pine (IKEA and JYSK or great for that)
Plastic storage bins - wood boxes and baskets, or reused food containers
Plastic toys - wood toys, less toys, and European toys
Paper towels - cloth
Disposable diapers - cloth diapers
Wipes - cloth wipes
Giant plastic-covered strollers - Baby slings and wraps
Plastic shower curtain - cloth or some vinyl curtains
Disposable feminine hygiene - Diva cup or cloth pads
PC - Apple
Credit cards - cash
Tupperware - glass and stainless steel containers
Toilet paper - cloth wipes or bidet or bidet seat or bidet attachment
Office paper - PDF and email work just as well
Poison cleaners - Nature's Ultimate, Simple Green, or baking soda and vinegar
Makeup - mineral makeup (there are lots now) like Physician's Formula (I use it and it's cheap)
Lawn weed poison - make your lawn edible
Mothballs - lavender and cedar
Cheap vacuum - the nicest HEPA vacuums don't work: you need a sealed vacuum made of high quality plastic
Mattress - natural is devastatingly expensive and hard to buy: let a new mattress air for 2 weeks, and don't add stain-resistor. Or try IKEA Heidel.
Baby beds - use a hammock such as Amby
Non-stick cookware - cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized
Toothpaste - Tom's of Maine or baking soda
Microwave - not radioactive, simply unhealthy: use the stove or oven
Bottled water - stainless steel or reusable
Soap and lotion - natural stuff in glass jars
Ozone air purifiers - ozone causes breathing problems: IQAir may be the only one that actually does anything worthwhile, like removing offgases


Comments (7)

Whether parents use disposable or cloth nappies makes little difference to the environment a recent report has concluded

There have been reports of deforestation in China and other parts of the world in order to grow corn crops to meet the demand for ‘green’ disposable products These new alternatives to plastics are not always as green as they make out to be.

great post. lots of good information.

Rob... where is the information to back up your comment? And why are you linking to a site that sells disposable party supplies? Are you spamming me?

Thanks for the great post. Where do you get your Physician's Formula makeup in Canada? I see only US retailers on their website.

Hi Kirsten,

Surprisingly, I found it when I went in for my once-a-year visit to Wal-Mart, lol. They carry it. I found it on London Drug's website so they probably have it too. I would pick London Drugs over Wal-Mart though. :)

I am new to alot of this sort of stuff. Will you please tell me what MDF means? I saw where you put "Cheap MDF", but I don't have a clue what it means. Thanks for helping me.

Hey Leslie,

MDF stands for Medium-density fiberboard. It's the furniture that's made of wood pulp fused together with glues and resins. Most cheap furniture is made out of it, but it creates poison fumes such as formaldehyde - yuck!