Living

EASY WAYS TO REDUCE PLASTIC USE

According to Ocean Cleanup, there are currently 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade and 91% of all plastics not recycled meaning most of all of plastic is sitting on the Earth’s surface. The only way to really get on top of this problem is to reduce.

There are so many easy ways to add more conscious practises in to your daily routine, but reducing plastic use is up there with one of the easiest. That doesn’t mean throwing out every piece of plastic you own and completely changing your lifestyle. Maybe you’re looking for ways you can do more or maybe you’re just beginning your journey and have no idea where to start but, remember, simple adjustments over time can add up to big change.

HERE ARE SOME EASY WAYS TO REDUCE PLASTIC USE:

Reuse your shopping bags

Somewhere between five billion and one trillion plastic bags are used each year around the world, so get yourself some pretty reusable bags to take on your weekly supermarket trip. These are usually more attractive, bigger and last longer too. Plus there’s so many get options of bags which fold up really small so you can always keep one in your handbag, just in case.

BYO reusable drinks bottles and coffee cups

Plastic bottles are the quickest thing to sink to the bottom of the ocean, and although coffee cups are made from card they are then coated in plastic. Plastic particles from bottles are also slowly eroding in to your water so on a whole they are bad for the environment, and bad for your health! Grab yourself a BPA Free, stainless steel or glass water bottle and refillable coffee cup and keep these on hand. Most places will happily refill them for you and if you do ever find yourself without your coffee cup and in desperate need of a cuppa, always ask for no lid.

Say no to straws

As for your drinks at the bar without a straw and opt for a glass, stainless steel, or bamboo one instead (if you really need one!). There are some great folding and easy to store options out there so you’ll always have it to hand, like this folding key chain straw.

Minimise microbeads

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic added to face products, like exfoliating cleansers, and toothpaste, which end up down our drains. They play havoc with the sewage filtration systems as they are impossible to filter out so most of them end up in the oceans. Steer clear of microbeads, or look for natural alternatives if you can.

Ditch disposables

Disposable items like razors may seem small, but over a lifetime that’s going to add up to a lot of plastic being chucked in the bin. Switch to safety razors which you can change the blades of. Plus they look much nicer on your bathroom shelf.

Swerve sponges

Most sponges we use in the kitchen and bathroom are actually entirely plastic. Not only is the sponge itself plastic waste, but they also shed tiny bits of plastic over time washing tiny particles of plastic into the sea. Not to mention they are chemically-dyed making them highly toxic. Instead look for sponges, scourers and brushes made from natural and recycled materials like bamboo, compostable, hemp, coconut, plant fibres or cellulose.

Look out for cardboard and recyclable packaging

There are some really simple ways to cut down your plastic waste by simply swapping to products with less packaging, or cardboard packaging which can be recycled. A great example is buying soap blocks instead of liquid soap.

Avoid wrapped fruit and veg

One of the easiest things you can do is to not choose the pre-wrapped fruit and veg in the supermarket. Instead of buying those plastic wrapped, on a plastic tray packs of 6 apples, pick your own from the loose section and either bring your own bag or put them straight in your basket. They’re often cheaper too!

Find a local farmers market or bulk food store

Farmer’s market’s are a great weekend activity and a great way to save on plastic wrapping, eat organic, support local and independent businesses and have an all-round more personal shopping experience. You can find these in your local town and more and more are popping up in cities. Bulk food stores are also another way to say on packaging, just grab your favourite refillable container!

Speak up!

Next time you’re shopping look out for plastic which is just unnecessary. There are a lot of shops who will adjust their service to suit your plastic free choice on request. For example, local bakeries will give bread without the plastic wrapping for you to put in your own cloth bag if you ask. Amazon Prime have also introduced a reduced plastic packaging option if requested. So speak up and spread the word!

Which of these will you be adding to your routine, or do you already do? Check out more easy steps you can take in our eco-friendly living tips post