10 easy ways to reduce your plastic usage
So maybe you've just finished watching Blue Planet and are feeling quite distressed about the very real problem we have with plastic pollution, or just want to do your bit to help the environment. Well I am glad you are here, because I have 10 really easy changes you can make right now that will have a positive impact on the world and reduce your plastic usage dramatically.
1, Bamboo Toothbrush
How many plastic toothbrushes does your household go through each year? So much plastic that you simply do not need to be using. A bamboo toothbrush is a great alternative, I have been using one for months now and had no problems with it whatsoever. Plus once you are done you can just pop it in with your food waste! We get ours from Bam and Boo, mostly because my 9 year olds loves pandas, but also because they have enough varying colours for our family of 5.
2, Shampoo Bar
No that isn't a typo, you can actually buy shampoo that comes in a bar form, just like soap, instead of a plastic bottle. Genius right? I get mine from Living Naturally and once lathered onto your hair it feels just like shampoo and leaves hair looking great. I haven't been able to tell the difference, and I like to think the planet is grateful. I can personally recommend the Rhassoul and Rosemary one.
3, Bags for Life
Ok, well this one is an easy one, which you've hopefully all been doing anyway. If you forget to take your bags, as I often do, then consider buying another bag for life, rather than using more plastic unnecessarily. If you get your groceries delivered then be sure to check the box that says pack without bags. It can feel a little awkward trying to unpack all the individual items into your own bags at your front door but just think how much better it is for the world.
4, Mesh Bags
If you buy fruit and vegetables from your supermarket you will have no doubt noticed how ridiculous the packaging is. Well you can actually buy mesh bags that you can re-use over and over again whenever you go shopping. If, like us, you often get your groceries delivered then consider buying individual fruit and veg rather then the multipacks. It will often cost you a few extra pennies and will still come in a plastic bag, but it will only be 1 bag, rather than layer upon layer of plastic wrapping. Which leads me on to my next point...
5, Shop Local
If you have a greengrocer near to you then this will make it much easier for you to use the afore mentioned mesh bags, and generally the amount of packaging used in the greengrocer is drastically less than your average supermarket. Plus you will be supporting a local business which you can always feel good about. Farm shops, greengrocers and local farmers markets and food assemblies can be great ways of reducing plastic across the board. If you are local to Swansea here are a few links for you;
If not, google is your friend ;)
6, Glass milk bottles
Has this given you flashbacks to the milkman delivering your milk each morning in a glass bottle or am I just showing my age? Whilst I think some areas do still have milkmen, you might find that some of those aforementioned local shops sell milk in glass bottles. Glass is much easier to recycle and some shops may even take them back from you. Our local farm shop sells both milk and orange juice in glass bottles and I am excited to make this change to reduce our plastic usage even further.
7, Beeswax food wraps
If you go through a lot of cling film covering up food to put in the fridge then these might be just what you are looking for. We have them in our home but Husband is convinced he can taste them on the cheese or whatever other food we put it onto, so they don't get as much use as I would like. But when it comes to wrapping sandwiches, leftovers, cheese or any other food for the fridge consider using beeswax wraps, kitchen foil or a reusable container before heading for yet another plastic bag or cling film as neither of them can be recycled. Foil however, can be recycled, and the beeswax wraps and containers can be reused over and over.
8, Reusable Coffee Cups
Ok, I don't want to alarm you but I don't actually drink tea or coffee, so I don't have to contend with the coffee cup problem, but I think we can all agree it is a problem. I have it on good authority from my coffee addicted husband that your best option is a double-walled cereamic one, if you want a nice reusable cup that will last. Bonus is a lot of places discount the price if you bring your own cup and you'll look like a real eco-warrior. If you forget your cup don't stress though, you could always use it as an excuse to slow down and drink in the cafe, but if that's not an option don't beat yourself up, just do the best you can, it will make a difference.
9, Bring your own Water
Did you know that in homes across the country there are these things called taps, and if you turn them on, water comes out. And you can drink as much of it as you like. I know this might sound crazy but it's true. Plastic water bottles are essentially a con becuase as I just said, you have water in your own home. Live in a hard water area? No problem, buy a filter. If you find you buy drinks on the go a lot then invest in a good water bottle and make an effort to think ahead when you leave the house; will I be gone long? Am I likely to be thirsty? If so take a drink. Not only will it help the environment but it will save you money too. Win win.
10, Stainless Steel Straws
Did you know plastic straws are rarely recycled and most end up in landfill? And yet millions are used on a daily basis across the world. We actually received some stainless steel straws free with a purchase we made. We had never really bothered with straws in the home before but the kids quickly decided straws were now the only way to drink. So they get a lot of use and as long as you use the special brush that comes with them to clean the inside you can re-use as often as you like. This is a really easy change to make in your home, and it is worth remembering to specify when you are our for drinks that you do not want a straw. The more people who refuse the straw the more likely it is companies will cotton on and stop wasting plastic and polluting our lovely oceans.
I hope you have found this list helpful. I think it is really important that we each do our bit to help the environment and reducing plastic usage is a great change to make. The disposable nature of our culture does not make it easy but I like to think the more noise we make about these things and the more changes we make then the more likely real changes will be made at the source.
Most importantly, don't beat yourself up too much if you can't do everything on this list or feel you are failing. I have been there many times where the overwhelm of how much needs to be done versus what I can realistically do hits home and it all feels hopeless and too hard. But the alternative of giving up and doing nothing is far worse in my opinion, so do your best, spread the ideas, sign petitions, maybe even write to your MP, and keep the plastic conversation going.
None of the links in this blog post are affiliate or sponsored, just there to be helpful.
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