Did you know that around the world we use 500 Million plastic straws a day and that 1 Million Plastic Bottles are bought every MINUTE around the globe?! That contributes to the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped into our oceans every year, with reports suggesting that the majority of plastic pollutants come in the form of single-use, disposable items. That means it was only used once before heading to our landfills and oceans. Pretty Shocking 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 beauty and cleaning products to our food and water, have you ever noticed how much plastic you throw away?
Global WAKEcup and The Marine Conservation Society are promoting Plastic Free July and for those who are just starting check out our The 1 Day No Single-Use Plastic Challenge . Check out the tips below to help you through the month, every one who takes part will be making a difference.
On The Go
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 fair trade, organic cotton 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 foldable versions which can fit in your car, your handbag or even your pocket until you’re ready to deploy them!
2. Groceries – If you are able, shop locally and at independent stores, that way you're supporting your own Zero Waste Community! Whether you shop local or at supermarkets, do you find yourself picking up multipack vegetables and fruit rather than the single loose items? Why do we do this? Buying your groceries individually not only reduces your plastic footprint but it is actually a lot cheaper. You'll also find you buy what you need, rather than ending up with more than you could ever eat and throwing the surplus away. Don't forget to pack a water bottle and bamboo straw so you're not tempted to buy single-use for convenience sake.
3. Grow Vegan / Meat and Fish – Global WAKEcup does not stock any animal products and recommends a vegan diet and lifestyle for health and environmental reasons. If you have a garden why don't you grow your own veg and herbs, for complete beginners take the tops of your spring onions and place in soil, they will regrow in a couple of weeks. Easy! For those that eat meat and fish, often they assume there is no way to go plastic free 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. Every WAKEcup purchase you make will contribute to ocean conservation with 10% of the profits going directly to the Marine Conservation Society!
5. Natural Cleaning Products - 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 lemon juice, 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. Washing and Detergents - these needn’t come in a plastic container either. 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! If you have synthetic clothes, you may want to think to switching to natural fibres as micro fibres can find there way into the water system, alternatively you can use a wash bag to collect the plastic.
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 in our experience they will last for a year or more if look after them, 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 with reusable blades, use your usual soap bar and a brush for lather, just like Grandad did!
10. Wipes - another form of single use plastic are the ubiquitous baby wipes, due to the fact most of them are made up using a percentage of polyester which is not degradable. Unfortunately, wipes are everywhere these days, whether it’s in cleaning the bathroom, removing makeup or cleaning a baby’s bottom. Flannels or even scraps of old fabric / t-shirts 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 Zero Waste and 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 convenience sake, we really must start doing everything we can to protect our environment and oceans. Start today!