Looking for some tips to reduce plastic waste? Right this way, my friend!
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Plastic and plastic waste is pervasive. Just this week it was reported that scientists have found plastic particles in tap water around the world. This is a pretty horrible thought, don’t you think?
If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of single-use plastic in your life then I’ve put together ten easy ways to reduce plastic waste. These action points can be done without too much thought or effort.
Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste
As with anything, reducing plastic waste is about changing habits. Therefore it can take time for those habits to stick. My best advice is to go easy on yourself and take things at a comfortable pace:
1. Ditch the straws
I’m personally not a massive straw user, but my kids love a straw. What I have found they are more likely to drink a cup of water if they have a straw. Kid logic! We have managed to switch to stainless steel straws* without complaint. If you are drinking something a little thicker than water or juice (or gin!) – say a smoothie – you might want to invest in a little brush to keep your straws clean. Otherwise, you can just pop them in the dishwasher or hand wash in the sink. Easy peasy!
2. Switch to reusable sanitary protections
There are heaps of great reusable sanitary protection out there, allowing you to find the right option for you. I have been trying to get to grips with Intimina’s Lily Cup*, but if cups aren’t for you there are a plethora of options, from washable sanitary towels to sponges. If this swap isn’t for you, then there are more accessible eco-friendly period products that you can try.
3. Say no to plastic bags
With the 5p carrier bag charge already seeing impressive results it seems so many people are ditching the carrier bags. I admit it can be tricky to always remember to keep a bag on you. I try and keep a small foldable shopping bag in my regular bag, and also keep shopping bags in the boot of my car so that I’m less likely to be caught out.
4. Skip the disposable coffee cup
Disposable coffee cups are notoriously difficult to recycle so if you’re a regular coffee on-the-go drinker consider investing in a reusable coffee cup. There are heaps of great options out there – from glass cups* to foldable cups*. Many coffee shops also offer a discount if you bring your own cup, meaning your reusable cup will eventually pay for itself.
5. Carry a bottle of water
One of the easiest ways to reduce single-use plastic is to switch to a reusable water bottle. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or fancy, any old bottle will do. I was sent a Jerry Bottle which I loved so much that I bought one for my partner too. But pretty much every supermarket and high street sell reusable bottles. Whilst it is an easy swap, like reusable bags, the biggest challenge is all about remembering to refill your bottle and put it in your bag every day!
6. Make your own cleaning products
A lot of our plastic waste came from cleaning product bottles. However, now that we make our own cleaning products, that plastic waste has reduced. I’ve got a lots of recipes in my archives, and I’ve even written a book on the subject!
7. Green your beauty routine
There are a few articles in my archives on how to reduce the plastic from your beauty routine. This post is a great starting point as is this more up-to-date post. This post on how to make your own reusable cotton wool pads is also pretty handy when you are cutting out the use of disposable wipes or cotton rounds.
8. If you have kids, give reusable nappies a go
Reusable nappies are the most amazing thing ever. Gone are the days of folding and pinning. Washable nappies are so easy to use and cut down on waste big time. While the upfront investment can be high – around £200 for a full set) at around £5 for a pack of disposable nappies at a time, savings are soon made. This is especially true if you go on to have another child.
My youngest is now 20 months old and as this is the second time we’ve used the nappies we recouped our investment quite some time ago. In fact, we are well into the saving money stage.
The important thing to remember is it doesn’t have to be all or nothing with reusable nappies. If you don’t want to use them when you go out or when you go on holiday then no worries – just supplement them with disposable nappies and you are still reducing your plastic waste. We use a disposable at night time, and if we go away overnight and I don’t consider that a failure by any means.
9. Consider your food storage
There are heaps of eco-friendly alternatives to cling film from using what you have in your kitchen (from jars to Tupperware, to plates and even saucepan lids!). You can even make beeswax wraps (or buy them online*) for a true alternative to cling film.
10. Skip the disposable cutlery
Lastly, it’s a great idea to get in the habit of carrying some cutlery in your bag with you for when you’re having lunch on the go. A simple camping set is handy to carry and inexpensive to pick up. Or there are some lovely bamboo options available online if you’re looking for something a bit more lightweight.
Any tips on how you reduce plastic waste in your home?
ps: check out this book on How To Go Plastic Free for easy actionable tips.