Gransnet forums


Life before plastic

(104 Posts)
crystaltipps Fri 19-Apr-19 14:53:44

In an effort to cut down on plastic I’ve gone back to bar soap and bar shampoo and conditioner plus washing powder in a cardboard box. We were chatting and trying to remember what items used to come in before the ubiquity of plastic- did people have washing up liquid? Did people have washing up bowls? What about cosmetics? What was life like before plastic took over? Can we escape it?

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 19:47:52

Those punnets found a new life later on as dollies beds, car garages, miniature houses and all sorts, when we were children, as did the cardboard boxes the groceries came in. The wholesale Egg Board boxes were the best, large enough for both my brother & me to get into at once and very sturdy.

I was using a Tupperware pot today and as I had it in my hand I saw that on the bottom it said Made in Great Britain. I shudder to think how old it must be but it still does the job!

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 19:54:03

I like soap too but I do use shampoo in plastic bottles. What are the bar soaps like - do they make unmanageable hair even more unmanageable?

Eggs were collected from the farm (by me, from the hens) then each carefully wrapped in newspaper and brought home in Mum's and my bicycle baskets.

We've got our long life canvas bags now, to carry the shopping home, Grandad, but they do seem to have a plastic lining!

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 19:54:26

I meant bar shampoos

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 19:55:11

I even made my own 'perfume' from rose petals from the garden.
It stank.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 19-Apr-19 20:03:44

Remember when plastic first came out though? We thought it was wonderful. With packets of wash powder plastic tulips were given away. Sister and I arranged them in a vase. When DH and his brother were young they fought with them, pretending they were swords!
I've gone back to bars of soap now.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 20:05:11

Oh, those awful plastic flowers, yes, I remember them!!

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 20:08:16

I've been using the shampoo bars for a couple of years now and really like them. I use a bar conditioner, too, which I was dubious about, but it works well.

They're really handy for going on holiday as they weigh very little compared to bottles and aren't liquid so you can take them in hand luggage.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 20:08:54

I will look for some (but where? we have very limited shops here)

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 20:20:26

You can get them online. Lush sell them, and online shopping has the advantage of not having to brave the pong in the shops! If you Google you'll probably find small producers, too.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 20:22:26

Thank you

Maggiemaybe Fri 19-Apr-19 22:59:54

Friendly shampoo bars are a fraction of the price of Lush and just as good, imho. £2.62 a bar and they last for ages.

Maggiemaybe Fri 19-Apr-19 23:01:47

And they're SLS free as well. smile

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 23:02:56

Thanks Maggiemaybe - I love the smell of lavender and geranium combined.

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 23:41:01

Thank you for that link, Maggiemaybe. I'm sitting on my hands here trying not to order the entire collection of soap! grin

JackyB Fri 19-Apr-19 23:49:58

When we all went 'eco' back in the eighties, people tried to get their meat, cheese and cold cuts in containers they had brought with them but were refused for reasons of hygiene. (That was here in Germany) How is that problem dealt with now. Surely hygiene rules have got even stricter over the decades?

SueDonim Sat 20-Apr-19 00:12:40

Maybe they're realised the worries about hygiene were unfounded?

I've had reusable bags for many years. When I first started with them in the early 2000's, shops would often refuse to allow me to use my own bags, goods had to be sold in the stores own bags. M&S wouldn't allow me to use the collect by car service if I had my own bags. I'm glad that attitude had changed.

I still have and use the very first reusable bag I bought, an Onya bag. Goodness knows how many times it must have been used over the years!

BradfordLass72 Sat 20-Apr-19 05:47:04

We had a little cage on a stick and you put the ends of soaps in that and swished it around with a bit of soda or Epsom Salts to wash up.

HildaGrady Sat 20-Apr-19 06:36:05

I agree! that life was very amazing and happy with zero toxicity and global warming. Then also, I and my husband are trying our level best for reducing and replacing plastic as much possible.

Anja Sat 20-Apr-19 07:02:19

Not all recyclable plastics actually get recycled in this country even if your council ‘recycles’ it. This doesn’t necessarily mean they do it themselves but ship if off to eg China or India where it lies in huge mountains.

My niece recently visited one of these heaps in China as part of her Uni degree and sent me back photos. There, clearly shown (among other rubbish) was one of the Pedigree chum treat packets I buy fondly thinking they are being responsibly recycled in the UK. And much of this blows around into neighbouring streets turning this little Chinese town into a litter bin.

So, great, if your council genuinely recycles it’s own waste, but do check first.

And re soap...good using bars soap but check if it contains palm oil. Most sold in supermarket do.

Lovely to read so many trying to do their bit on here.

Anja Sat 20-Apr-19 07:05:11

PS it might be worth people checking out about milk deliveries as this is coming back again. I have a choice of two operating in my area. One run by the Müller Family - they of yoghurt fame.

TerriBull Sat 20-Apr-19 07:33:40

The worst! plastic wrap around cucumber, very hard to get off, I tend to have sliced cucumber in a sandwich, so buy them quite often. Not sure why it's considered necessary, courgettes aren't wrapped, and they have pretty similar skins. All fruit and veg should be loose, I never put broccoli or carrots in the little plastic bags supplied in supermarkets I find them quite superfluous,. Although I know cashiers don't like the little particles that break off broccoli on the conveyor belt, so I plonk that on top of something else till they get to the weighing machine.

gillybob Sat 20-Apr-19 08:30:56

Morrison’s have stopped wrapping their cucumbers Terribull . They seem to be taking this whole “excess packaging /plastic thing” quite seriously, which is good.

aggie Sat 20-Apr-19 08:39:16

Global warming didn't start with plastics , the first time man chopped down a tree and burnt it the rot set in .... just saying

Diggingdoris Sat 20-Apr-19 10:34:19

I remember being sent to the greengrocer with a string bag and a list. Zero packaging, for all veg. I also used to take an empty bottle to be filled with vinegar from a barrel. On the rare occasion that I was allowed a comic or Mum bought a magazine they were never in a plastic bag, but most of them are now, because they usually have half a dozen bits of advertising inside. Does anyone read these? What a waste of trees!

Kim19 Sat 20-Apr-19 10:35:30

We had the 'message' bag for all grocery type stuff and the 'potato' bag for any vegetables whatsoever. I lovingly remember my Granny telling me to 'mind the bag' every time I was sent to the shops. Think a loaf was wrapped in tissue, butter in greaseproof(?) and sugar was weighed into brown paper bags.