Eco Tips

Top 10 Tips to go Plastic Free

Can you go one month without plastic?

Did you know every year, 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans and it’s reported that over half of that is in the form of single use, disposable plastics. That means it was only used once before heading to our landfills and oceans, pretty wasteful huh?

Reducing your plastic footprint can be a difficult challenge when we use so many single use plastics in our day to day activities. From our shower products to our food, have you ever noticed how much plastic you throw away?

GlobalWAKEcup and The Marine Conservation Society are promoting a plastic free challenge so we’re sharing some tips to help you take part and make a difference.

Shopping

1. Bags for Life – if you don’t have a reusable and eco-friendly bag for life yet, this is an absolute must. You can get some adorable designs in a variety of fabrics, from Jute bags to 100% cotton bags and stylish, light weight tote bags. There really is no excuse to not have one either, they are available at the checkout in most supermarkets and most gift stores now sell adorable foldable versions which can fit in your car, your handbag or even your pocket until you’re ready to deploy them!

2. Groceries – whether you shop local or shop in the supermarket, do you find yourself picking up multipack vegetables and fruit rather than the single loose items? Why do we do this? Not only does it reduce your plastic footprint if you pick up each item loose, but it is actually a lot cheaper to buy just what you need rather than end up with waste that we throw into our green bin / compost.

3. Meat – quite often, people assume there is no way to go plastic free when it comes to meat as a lot of supermarkets pre-package it all. However, have you ever gone to your meat counter or butchers with a reusable container from home? Most good butchers will be more than happy to accommodate this as it helps reduce their impact on the environment too. They’d be silly not to!

4. Coffee – did you know 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year in the UK. This works out as about 1% of coffee sold in coffee stores actually goes into a reusable cup. Whilst you may think disposable coffee cups could end up being recycled, a huge majority of them can’t due to the plastic lining that stops the liquid seeping through and burning us. The best alternative is to buy your own reusable cup and asking the baristas to fill that up – they’ll be more than happy to oblige! From coffee cups to water or tea infusers, there are options out there that are completely eco-friendly and sustainably sourced. Our reusable coffee cups also see 10% of the profits go to the Marine Conservation Society!

Kitchen

5. Chemicals - When it comes to keeping your house clean and tidy it can be easy to fall into the trap of having a cupboard full of bottles containing harsh chemicals. But did you know that there is a far simpler solution and it can really help reduce your plastic footprint. A combination of distilled white vinegar and water creates a brilliant multipurpose cleaner that is completely chemical free. Add a variety of essential oils, from lemon to tea tree, geranium to cedarwood and you can have a home that is clean and fresh smelling too!

6. Soaps and Detergents - these needn’t come in a plastic container either. A completely package free alternative to plastic pump soap dispensers is to return to the traditional soap bar and when it comes to your laundry detergent there’s a completely organic, vegan and biodegradable option which actual grows on trees! Detergent ‘Soapnuts’ can be bought from a variety of online outlets and can really simplify your cleaning regime. Adding your choice of essential oil to this will give your clothes a beautiful just-washed scent too!

7. Beeswax Wraps – rather than using plastic sandwich bags or cling film to store your lunches or leftovers, try using beeswax wraps. They come in beautiful, colourful designs and are available on the high street in good kitchen stores as well as a huge amount of online outlets. The wraps can come in different sizes, making some perfect for a sandwich and others a better shape for a loaf, or for covering a plate. They’re completely natural and reusable, unlike their plastic counterparts.

Bathroom & Hygiene

8. Shampoo and Soap Bars - replace the plastic bottled versions we buy in stores. Some high street brands like Lush and higher end brands like D. R. Harris make shampoo bars in tins or completely package free. They last a lot longer than a liquid shampoo due to the fact a small amount can lather up a lot more. Did you know, toothpastes and powders can come in tins or glass pots, too?

9. Hygiene Products - There’s not just plastic in the liquids we use in the bathroom, but razors and toothbrushes are usually made of plastic and we are encouraged to throw these away every few months and buy a new one. Bamboo toothbrushes are a good alternative as are stainless steel razors.

10. Wipes - another form of single use plastic due to the fact most of them are made up using a percentage of polyester which is not degradable. Unfortunately, wipes are widely used, whether it’s in cleaning the bathroom, removing makeup or cleaning a baby’s bottom. Flannels or even scraps of old fabric are perfect alternatives, why don’t we use them? You can then wash them and reuse them over and over, which is so much better for the environment and our wallets!

Going Plastic Free

A lot of these tips sound so obvious and yet here we are in the 21st century doing exactly the opposite. Whether it is down to bad habits, a lack of creative thinking or for the sake of ease, we really must start doing everything we can to protect our environment and oceans. For more tips, use #GoPlasticFree on Twitter and see how others are doing throughout a plastic free July.