10 ways to reduce your plastic waste
To continue raising awareness of Plastic-free July, we’re highlighting the ways you can reduce your plastic waste! As a reminder, Plastic-free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.
Our team has signed up, so we’re all making a conscious effort to ditch unnecessary plastic, especially single-use items. We’ve also partnered with Cleanhub and Ecologi to help remove plastic from the oceans and offset our carbon footprint.
According to WWF, eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. By cutting down, you can help tackle the plastic pollution crisis and save our marine life.
Here are 10 ways to reduce your plastic waste...
1. Buy reusable shopping bags
Taking re-useable bags whenever you go shopping is an easy first step towards cutting out plastic from your daily activities. Plastic shopping bags are used for an average of 12 seconds. That’s not long, especially when you consider they can take more than 500 years to decompose. Since the 5p plastic bag scheme started in 2015, an estimated 15 billion plastic bags have been removed from circulation.
2. Shop in bulk
Buying items in bulk allows you to save on packaging, especially if you buy loose items that you can put in your own reusable bags. If you usually drive to the shops, you’ll also use less petrol over time when compared to taking frequent trips.
3. Avoid using cling film
Did you know that cling film can’t be recycled? After it’s thrown away, cling film will sit in landfill sites for years without degrading. This makes it a big risk to wildlife who could either eat it or get caught up in it. You can get reusable replacements for cling film (like these), or you can store or cover food with reusable containers.
4. Bring your own reusable coffee cups and water bottles
Being plastic-free requires living with intention, and a great starting point is to carry a reusable water bottle, preferably made from stainless steel. Continuously buying bottled water results in unnecessary plastic waste, especially when you consider that you can fill stations have become common.
5. Ditch plastic cutlery and straws
The Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery as among the items “most deadly” to sea turtles, birds, and mammals, and alternatives have proven particularly difficult to come by, though not impossible. Bamboo cutlery is a great option – there are plenty of handy sets you can get, like this eco-friendly picnic set from Wild and Stone. It also includes a handy metal straw!
6. Repurpose plastic containers
Rather than throwing away the plastic containers that you struggle to avoid (E.G plastic water bottles or takeaway tubs etc), put them to better use! Not only can you use them to store batch cooked meals and leftovers, but you can also repurpose them into something a little more creative. From terrariums to piggy banks, there’s lots you can do with plastic containers. Find some more ideas, here.
7. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide each year. Most get lost in the recycling process and end up in landfill or make their way into rivers and oceans. These toothbrushes are made from polypropylene plastic and nylon and can take up to 500 years or more to decompose. Bamboo toothbrushes have a much smaller ecological footprint than plastic ones, yet they provide the same quality of cleaning!
8. Try soap and shampoo bars
Switching to bar versions of your body wash and shampoo is much better for the environment. Bar soaps use significantly less plastic than regular bottled options and do the same job. There are loads of options out there, from environmentally conscious brands like Lush and The Body Shop.
9. Use toothpaste tablets
Traditional toothpaste tubes are difficult to recycle because they are made up of different materials. To make matters worse, the ingredients usually contain toxic chemicals that cause water pollution when washed down the drains! Using toothpaste tablets is a more sustainable and eco-friendly friendly option (and it’s better for your teeth!).
10. Swap regular chewing gum for plastic-free alternatives
Plastic-free chewing gum is not only a kinder alternative for your teeth, but also for the planet. In fact, it’s actually made from ingredients that make it super difficult to break down, including synthetic rubber, which is also used to make car tyres and flooring. Brands like CHEWSY are naturally plant-based, vegan and biodegradable, and free from sugar, aspartame, plastic, artificial sweeteners and flavours.