Rev Trevor Sargent’s Ecological Notes for October 2018 – 15 Ways to Live with Less Plastic

15 Ways to Live with Less Plastic

More plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 - who wants to leave their children a future like that?


Plastic is a recent addition to the natural world, but it is now ubiquitous. One hundred years ago, it was virtually unknown. However, one legacy of the First World War was a growth of chemical inventions and the wider availability of many plastics.

1920’s – PVC plastic invented.

1930’s – polystyrene invented by BASF.

1940’s – PET plastic licenced to DuPont to make mineral bottles etc.

1950’s – expanded polystyrene used for cups and packaging.

1960’s – microplastic first found in the guts of seabirds, also in fish.

To date, an estimated 1 billion tonnes of plastic has been discarded since 1950. 50 – 80% of marine debris is discarded plastic.

Can we manage without plastic packaging? Try it!

  1. Get hold of a reusable travel cup and reusable produce bags
  2. Bring a lunch box to the butcher to buy meat and avoid packaging.
  3. Switch to bar soap, no plastic bottles of shower gel or hand wash.
  4. Buy fruit and vegetables loose and avoid supermarket packaging.
  5. Head for fresh produce stalls to see what options are available
  6. Dust off the cookbooks and try new recipes featuring ingredients that are easier to find in bulk, eg. sacks of flour.
  7. Store leftovers in bowls, covered with a plate, not cling film.
  8. Refuse single use plastic items, such as straws, cutlery, balloons, etc.
  9. Learn to make yoghurt, bread, dips, flapjacks, you name it!
  10. Learn to make basic toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste.
  11. Learn to make household cleaning agents, recipes on the internet.
  12. Talk to local producers / traders about selling items without packaging.
  13. Buy second hand and make use of the sharing economy – like using the library.
  14. Give experiences rather than ‘stuff’ as presents, avoid sellotape when wrapping.
  15. Whatever plastic you have used should be clean, dry and loose, before sending it to be recycled. More details:,

Strive to be a Biblical Minimalist heeding the Advice of St Paul:

‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.’  1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NIV).

Image credit: Thomastastic - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,