There’s no getting away from plastic. It’s with us whether we like it or not. And right now, the onus to use/not use and recycle/dump is entirely on us, the purchasers. So if we can find ways to can minimise our use of plastic, all the better. So here are a few suggestions.

Anything with pump action

I get horrible attacks of eczema which means I have to purchase endless vats and tubes of all sorts of creams and unguents to rehydrate my poor, dry, itchy skin. Recently, I couldn’t get a half full pump-action pot to work – don’t you hate it when that happens!. So I tried to take it apart so that I could use the rest of the cream. Only then did I realise that there was SO much more plastic than I’d realised. (Oh, and empty space for which I was paying…!)

See what I mean?

I can’t think why it took me SO long to work out that anything with a pump action means there is a great deal more plastic than is absolutely necessary. Now I just get a simple tube or a pot.

Knorr Stock Pots etc

For some unimaginable reason, companies have started selling the same or very similar products in plastic where they have always sold them in something recyclable (tins) or biodegradable (foil wrap). Grrr! The Knorr stock pot is a case in point.

Let me assure you that the so-called “stock pot” is more or less the same as the Knorr Stock cube. Only not quite as tasty – yes, I tested it. It was a very clever marketing trick to make the new Stock Pot look more melty than the old cube but please be assured, the stock cube dissolves in hot water, hot stew etc., every bit as well as the stock pot. So keep a look out for other pernicious plasticisation.

And why have John West started selling fish in plastic pots instead of cans? Shame on them!!!

Blister packs

Proper medicines have to come in blister packs – it’s the law – but why do so many complementary meds and cough sweets (Strepsils! I name and shame you!) also come in blister packs? Superdrug now recycle them but recycling consumes a fair amount of energy, and the thought of having to recycle the unnecessary makes the heart sink. So please have a look out for alternatives wherever possible.

Meat ‘n’ veg

Bring your own container to the butchers and ask them to use that. They will, you know – and you won’t be the first to ask.

Buy loose vegetables and fruit where you can. If you have a local market or a regular stall on the street, better still. Ask them to put the veg straight into your bag for life – after all, we don’t really need paper bags for most of it. Our mothers and grandmothers knew how to shop – potatoes at the bottom, then onions, root veg, brassicas, hard fruit, and then the softer fruit, tomatoes, lettuces etc on top.

Scouring sponges

Yep, plastic. Two layers of artificial polymers laminated together which will release fibres into the sewage system every time you use them. Use a biodegradable bristle brush from Ecovibe.

So just be mindful of what you buy. Meanwhile, I’d be delighted to include any ideas from you guys. Please do send them in. And I’m going to try and keep these posts a bit shorter in the future. The long ones take me at least two weeks to research and write. Not being a scientist, trawling through long scientific papers is slow going.


This goes to Barilla, the pasta manufacturers, who have stopped selling packets of pasta with plastic windows. Hurrah for Barilla!

Frightening plastic fact for today

A garment made from polyester or any other synthetic fabric can shed 1900 fibres per wash.

In humans, inhaled microplastic fibres are taken up by the lung tissues and can become associated with tumours, whilst dispersive dyes from polyester and acrylic fibres have been shown to cause dermatitis. See below for citation.

In other words, wear more natural fabrics and wash your clothes less!


We’ve had a fairly torrid time of it at home. After a string of losses, it was very hard to summon the mojo needed for this kind of work. But I’m back out on the road now with my pals, Fascinating Aïda, and it’s just wonderful to be working again. A shot in the arm.

So here’s a final picture of the amazing old fella who gave us so much joy for 13 wonderful years, known as Three Dogs Barney because my partner always called “Barney Barney Barney!” We said goodbye to him on 1st April, just before Easter. Piper was a very lost little doggie for months afterwards.

Thanks to Mark Anthony Browne, Phillip Crump, Stewart J. Niven, Emma Louise Teuten, Andrew Tonkin, Tamara Galloway, and Richard C. Thompson for their article Accumulations of microplastic on shorelines worldwide: sources and sinksfor my plastic fact.

35 thoughts on “AVOIDABLE PLASTIC 1

  1. So sorry to hear about Barney.

    On plastic, our local Italian restaurant uses drinking straws made from pasta! So on brand!

    And I try to use a gourde for water. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying!


  2. Thanks for the info. Sorry for your loss. It is awful when we lose our beloved pets. We have just adopted an ex guide dog called Dillie and she is bringing us great joy. We came to see Fascinating Aida in Margate and it really cheered us all up! I am still coveting those gorgeous pumps you wear ! Hope the rest of the tour goes well !


    • Thanks Christine! Give Dillie a big hug from me. Yes, our canine friends do bring us great joy. Thanks so much for your nice words about the show in Margate, we loved the audience there!


  3. Just want to commiserate on the loss of Barney. We have gone through that pain and loss more than once. Such a difficult, heartbreaking time. Glad being on the road is helping you lift.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dillie,

    You can get refills for Demestos antibacterial disinfectant spray bottles, I put sponges in the dishwasher – they can be used to clean the sink if you are not happy to reuse to do the dishes, and we have a metal pump action container for hand sanitiser that can be refilled rather than buying more plastic pump action bottles ☺

    Dettol Antibacterial Disinfectant Surface Cleaning Spray Refill 1.2L | Sainsbury’s (sainsburys.co.uk)

    Hope this helps!

    Best wishes,

    Kate Hall

    On Sat, 25 Sept 2021 at 16:09, Shit You Don’t Need wrote:

    > Dillie Keane posted: ” There’s no getting away from plastic. It’s with us > whether we like it or not. And right now, the onus to use/not use and > recycle/dump is entirely on us, the purchasers. So if we can find ways to > can minimise our use of plastic, all the better. So her” >


    • Yes, refills are beginning to come on stream but oh so slow! Sponges are almost all plastic so I don’t use them at all. Microplastics are a big problem from synthetic fabrics in washing machines so I imagine that the dishwasher would have a similar effect.


  5. Dillie, You are lovely! 🌟 Thank you. As a result of reading your great blog, I am going to go back to the good old fashioned dish cloth which can be thrown into the wash. I shall no longer buy those green scourers! The coconut scourers look good but they come from Sri Lanka! 🥴 We now keep our bread in linen bags…. lovely.

    Have fun on tour! Fascinating Aida is simply wonderful!

    Warmest, Odette from Peterborough 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Yes, the Sri Lanka element is of course a factor, but I balance it with the knowledge that they’ve finally found a use for the mountain of coconut waste! Yes, those old dish cloths are great and I use a wooden scrubbing brush. (My mother taught me to knit and dishcloths were my first effort!)


  6. I’m so sorry about the loss of your beloved Barney.
    Thank you for your informative and motivating post and all the best on your performance tour.
    I’m not sure that I have any great tips – I am feeling rather overwehelmed at how much waste a household of just two can still generate. Luckily I have an allotment and sufficient time to grow a lot of my own fresh stuff. A small achievement recently is that I have started sprouting my own salad topping sprouts in my old jam jars, as they are always sold in plastic and are also very dear.
    Thanks for the prompt on plastic in cosmetics… I’ve got a plan to start to try to make my own basic ones so will write in with any successful recipes.


    • Salad topping sprouts in your old jam jars? That sounds absolutely brilliant. If you can send in instructions and any pictures dilliekeane@outlook, I would love to include them. You will of course be credited! Thanks for your kind remarks about Barney.


  7. Hi Dillie, it doesn’t have to be a local market to buy loose fruit and veg. I buy some at the local greengrocers and some at Sainsburys and both places I put loose stuff (apart from mushrooms) in my basket / trolley. No problem then putting them into my re-usable bag.
    So pleased you are on tour again, are you coming to Sheffield?
    So sorry to hear about Barney, we lost Sam our Belgian Shepherd who was almost human and have never replaced him as it would be impossible to have the same again.


    • I completely understand about Sam. We haven’t replaced Barney either. Impossible.
      Yes, I buy loose fruit and veg at the supermarket too, but some are impossible to buy at the supermarket without plastics – French beans, sugar snap peas etc for instance. Even whole lettuces come in a plastic bag. And we no longer have a greengrocer near us… but we do have a street stall and that’s where I go.


  8. Hi Dillie,

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Barney and I do understand so well. We lost our beautiful golden retriever Barley in the May of the first lockdown and it was devastating for both us and our little rescue pup, Herbie. He too was lost for a long time, refusing food and not liking to be left alone. Just before Christmas we rehomeed Chilli who is a fox red Labrador who has lifted both ours and Herbie’s spirits.

    Re the plastic problem, instead of buying antibacterial sprays, we purchase the old fashioned Detol which needs to be decanted into a previously used spray bottle and diluted with water. Each bottle of Detol lasts for ages. We have stopped using bottled soap and have gone back to the bars of soap instead. We have a local farmer who delivers our veg in cardboard boxes and we return last weeks box so no wastage there and usually no plastic. We do still use plastic bags for bread but wash them before each new loaf so they too last for a very long time. When they are finished I shall buy waxed paper food wrap instead.

    Wishing all three of you in Fascinating Aida a happy and successful tour. We are looking forward to seeing you soon. It will be my first proper trip out for as long as I can remember due to my having to shield and I have been spurred on through these difficult times with the anticipation of it.

    Keep safe.

    Love Anne


    • Hi Anne, so sorry you have to shield, it’s very difficult isn’t it! Interesting to hear about Chilli – we nearly rehomed a fox red Lab too but decided against as he was very unruly and I was going on tour – we would have only just started to get him a little bit settled when I’d be unsettling him all over again. Rehoming is not simple!
      Good to hear you’re making such efforts to avoid household plastics. We do similar things – I order the cleaning sachets from Ecovibe and it seems that if I order enough, I only have to order once a year. It’s heartening to know how many people are really starting to make a big effort.


      • Hearing about your nearly adopted fox red Labrador being unruly made me smile because Chilli was just the opposite. He was previously a stud dog and had spent his life in kennels. He was also very well trained and didn’t dare put a foot wrong. Sadly he was also very nervous, the complete opposite of little Herbie who has always been rather a pickle! Ten months on and instead of Chilli teaching Herbie some good manners, we now have two hooligans but we do love them! 🤣 xxx


  9. Cheers for that Dilly, thanks for all you do and enjoy the tour, everybody has missed you and FA. Stay strong good lady

    Much love ness


    Sent from my iPhone



  10. Thanks for all this, Dillie and commiserations for the loss of Barney. Dogs and cats should be immortal – particularly during lockdowns they kept many people sane…

    Coming to see you in Oxford, life permitting.



    Sue Stapely (long term fan/LAMDA Board Member and grumpy old woman, rather too much of the time these days)

    Sue Stapely Consulting
    T: + 44 (0)1608 685572


    • Thanks Sue, it was an awful blow. A month of watching him deteriorate and then the decision. We broke all the Covid rules – our horse vet came into the house and administered the requisite so he died on the Indian rug in my office where he loved to sit whenever I was working. Our pet vet had refused to come out – understandably – but we couldn’t possibly haul him into the car and out again when he was clearly feeling wretched. He deserved the best possible end – a loyal, loving, kind dog, a legend in the field and beautiful to boot. Still desperately missed.


  11. So sorry to read about Barney. How very sad. 😦 Hope you’re ok. I was in the audience in Guildford last night and am still singing the lyrics to the Hokey Cokey in my head this morning!! A wonderful, wonderful show. Thank you!

    On the subject of reducing our use of plastics. Men’s shaving products are generally terrible for over use of plastic. I discovered a brand called Bulldog who seem to be much better. Still a small amount of plastic on the blade mounting, but the razor handles are metal and bamboo, the packaging for all their products is cardboard only, and they do re-fillable little bamboo pots for bars of shaving foam (again with cardboard packaging) so no plastic bottle of shaving foam/gel. Woody’s shampoo bars also save on plastic shampoo bottles and they last for AGES (6 months plus of daily use so far) so don’t be put off by the price.


  12. You are such an inspiration 🌟

    Bless you for caring enough to try and make a difference, and for empowering others to try to make a difference too. Most people feel too small to make an impact, so it’s incredibly important to get people feeling involved in what’s happening to us all and our planet. Information leads to understanding, which hopefully leads to caring and action.

    Really glad you Gals are back on the road again, wishing you all every success with your tour ( I know my friends have their tickets already )

    So sorry to hear the news about your lovely dog. It is always hard when they leave you, but you must take comfort from the wonderful life that they had with you, and the comfort and love that you gave to each other.

    Stay well, and travel safely on your tour .

    Lots of love

    Shirl xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fascinating, alarming and informative as ever Dilly.

    We saw your show in Guildford on Saturday and my face has only just stopped aching from all the laughing. Fabulous as ever.

    Pip xx


  14. Hi Dilly

    I love your mails and reminders.

    We had a barney too, for 12 years and it is so difficult when they have to leave. It is probably the only really sad part pf shairng your life with a loved animal. Hope Piper is ok….. kind wishes to you all



  15. I am very sorry to hear about your dog, Dillie. But I can tell how loved he was. And what more can a dog ask for?

    Re: sponges, apart from anything else they’re disgusting. What’s living in all those holes? Give me a dishcloth any day.

    And as for vegetables – yes, buy fresh. I took a sabbatical from my not very rewarding job a few years ago and opened a market stall in Derby. It is only when you own a business in a market that you realise how important a greengrocer is in a community. The greengrocer who was next to me every day was the sixth generation of her family to run her stall. There’s a photo of Derby Market where you can see her great-great-great-grandad selling someone a cabbage. All lost now because the supermarkets and town councils drove her out of existence. One of the main wholesalers is now owned by Tesco. The culture of the whole city is a little bit poorer, and there poor people who can’t afford supermarkets have slightly fewer options.

    So use your little businesses folks – you don’t realise how much you’ll miss them when they’re gone. All based around cars, and not talking to your neighbours. It’s very depressing.

    In other, less environmental news, I saw a Fascinating Aida trailer on YouTube! I am treating myself to some tickets for your show in Nottingham. Really excited to see some music again!


  16. That’s a very heartening response, even though it’s very sad to read about the greengrocer. Thanks for posting and hope you enjoy the show in Nottingham, it’s always a great gig there.


  17. Hi Dillie,

    Saw you in “Oh Ipswich” last night and had to sign up after your mention.

    I am still giggling at asking front of house what dogging was 😂

    I use those tablets that you add to water to make sprays, and a good old atomiser.

    I’ve yet to find a sponge substitute, trying them all. Dish clothes have made a comeback in this house.


    • I think more people are starting to make adjustments so it’s encouraging to get this comment. I use a silicone thingy – goes in the dishwasher and lasts for ever. I just bought a couple for my antediluvian sisters!


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.