Life without plastic: pioneer families show how it’s done

Carrier bags are easy to replace and milk can come in glass bottles. But what about deodorant, toothbrushes and clingfilm?

By Nosheen Iqbal. Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.

Bettina Maidment hasn’t emptied the kitchen bin since the beginning of November. The time before that was in August. “You can reduce your rubbish a lot,” she insists, pointing to her recycling and food compost bins. “I have two kids and they’re pretty anti-plastic – I am their mother after all – but it is do-able.”

Maidment, 38, is the founder of Plastic Free Hackney, a campaign to rid the east London borough of single-use plastic and has been serious about committing her family to plastic-free, zero-waste living for two years now. First to go was milk cartons. “That was an easy switch, we got a milkman.”

Then came bamboo toothbrushes, swapping out supermarket shopping for the local greengrocer, and making deodorant, cleanser, moisturiser and handsoap at home. She opens her fridge to reveal shelves of glass jars and reusable containers; her larder is stocked with lentils, pasta, porridge and the like, bought in bulk and stored in glass or canvas bags.

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