Hard to Find Alternatives

By now most of us have heard about the enormous mass of plastic rubbish floating around in our oceans. So how much of it are we contributing? It’s got me thinking about it, and I realize that there are some things which are hard to find alternatives for. Where do you get an eco-friendly toothbrush from? Razors are pretty bad, because they are a mixture of metal and plastic and therefor hard to recycle. The alternatives to shaving don’t offer much relief – waxing, the packet is plastic too. Somehow I can’t see my man using a knife to shave with either. What about milk containers? Is plastic a better option than cardboard because the cardboard has a plastic lining and cannot be recycled? Lightbulbs? There is a school of thought that says we should not use the “Eco” bulbs as they contain lots of toxic stuff such as mercury and we don’t have any ways of recycling them yet. Shall we revert to burning candles? I think not… but somebody please tell me what the right thing to do is!

My plastic toothbrush ready for landfill or the ocean?

This item is a combination of metal and plastic so it's difficult to recycle

Is this little indulgence for my 7yr old really an environmental monstrosity? Probably.

The 'eco' bulb - energy saver or little bomb of toxic waste?


















I have a toddler who in his short life has already discarded quite a pile of plastic through no choosing of his own. We have washable nappies, but the things I’m talking about are baby’s toys, packaging of otherwise “good” presents and wrappings, most clothing contains some synthetic material,there’s the baby sipper cup, the high chair (secondhand, but eventually it’ll wind up as rubbish too), the carseat… can’t do without that, it’s secondhand but also plastic. Come to think of it, even our washable nappies are made out of synthetic materials. Lots of questions but not many answers as yet. I guess the first one is reducing consumption before we even consider reusing and recycling.

So here’s a solution of sorts… This one is a bit fabulous really

This next link isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s quite incredible to watch.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hard to Find Alternatives

  1. Stacey says:

    Big questions, hard answers….

    Have a look at http://www.rubbishfree.co.nz – these guys are on a mission to reduce/eliminate rubbish and have some good advice and products.

  2. Adam says:

    In regards to shaving, I recently got a safety razor. I was sick of paying $20+ for 4 replacement razor blades, plus the wastage that comes with those razors. I got mine from http://www.mancave.co.nz it was about $50. A large investment, but if you factor in the price of blades it is a cheap environmentally friendly alternative. Incredibly, I managed to purchase 2 years supply of replacement blades for my safety razor for $11 off trademe!

  3. James says:

    Thanks for the push on the Environmental Toothbrush.
    We think they are fantastic and are trying to get them world wide to make a major impact on the environment. Currently available in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa and soon Canada and the USA.

    For the Razor challenge we already have a design in planning to replace the disposable razor with one with a bamboo handle or some other biodegradable material (bamboo hopefully).
    Keep up the great work everyone.
    James Wilson
    International Sales Manager
    Environmental Toothbrush

  4. Christian Judge says:

    Hi, the Council should take your old eco-bulbs. They should end up with a firm in Australia (Interwaste I think) that has a machine that recovers all the materials in the bulb – metals, glass, the phosper (the white coating on the inside of the bulb) and the mercury. If the service centres and libraries no longer take them, there should still be a special bin for them at the main Otahanga refuse site.

  5. Nathan says:

    My sister bought me an environmental toothbrush, what an excellent idea!

    Have you looked into LED lightbulbs, haven’t much myself, but I think they’re potentially better than both incandescent & fluorescent. I hear they’re more expensive, but can pay for themselves in energy savings over a couple of years.

    I don’t shave, partially as a protest against plastic razors/blades…. proud member of the Beard Liberation Front 🙂

    • sisami says:

      Thanks for that Nathan, later this year we’ll be fixing up the house a bit and will need to make some light fitting decisions so I’m sure we’ll be investigating all the options including LEDs. We are going to get a good old fashioned razor for Mike, one that you replace the metal blade on and keep the rest… no bonded plastic/metal nasties in sight. Go the BLF though!
      I’d like to order a bulk packet of toothbrushes and give them out to everyone on the street. It’s a little gesture but then I reckon we really need to think about all those little things that make up the bigger picture.
      Cheers for your comments, F

  6. Stacey says:

    On a related subject – packaging – the 2011 Unpackit Packaging Awards are taking nominations for the best and worst packaging out there. Here’s a good chance to highlight the amazing amount of rubbish that comes with some products (and you might win a weekend in Wanaka). See http://www.unpackit.org.nz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s