9 Great Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste
A staggering 8 MILLION metric tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year. That's the equivalent of five grocery bags full up of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.
Only about 10% of all plastic that is produced is recycled. It makes complete sense to look to alternatives to plastic and nowadays there are not only alternatives - but better alternatives to plastic.
Below you'll find some of our best tips on reducing plastic waste - as well as some handy links to products we think you'll love. Note: We are not connected to any other companies that we recommend and have not been paid to promote their products.
Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste
1 - Bring Your Own Cup
With major coffee shops such as Starbucks embracing customers bringing their own coffee cups and even rewarding them, it makes sense to bring your own reusable coffee cup. We love these from Ecoffee Cup.
2 - Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
The UK government launched an initiative in conjunction with major supermarkets several years ago to reduce plastic carrier bag consumption. They added a small surcharge of just 5pence if customers would like a bag. Almost overnight, the consumption dropped a whopping 86% just from this minute financial penalty from using plastic bags. Makes you think, doesn't it? Nowadays, reusable shopping bags are almost seen as a fashion statement - and a very positive one at that. It makes complete sense to take your own. They're also easier to carry, stronger, and the aforementioned fashion element can also add some class to your shop! We've used lots of different types of reusable shopping bags and it definitely pays to invest in the more expensive, durable types. Check out this list of highly recommended reusable shopping bags.
3 - Keep Lunch In A Reusable Container
Many of us lead busy lifestyles and if you work in an office, taking your lunch to work in a reusable container is convenient and eco-friendly. No need for cling film or metal foil either (opt for bees wax wraps or other eco-friendly options instead). We love these LunchBox from Rubbermaid.
4 - Use Glass Jars For Storage
As we mentioned in our article on conscious consumerism we don't recommend binning your plastic jars if you already have some and buying a load more glass jars. However, if you are finding yourself using bags or single-use containers for keeping leftover food or loose food stuffs in the kitchen then sealed glass jars, also known as mason jars, are a great solution. They are also perfect for taking to one of the 'zero waste' stores cropping up across the globe - where consumers are invited to fill their own containers with products before purchase.
5 - Use Reusable Straws And Cutlery
Plastic straws are a disaster for the environment. They often blow away, end up in the sea and wreak havoc on marine life. Plastic cutlery is also an example of a single-use plastic that doesn't need to exist. There's loads of eco-friendly, reusable or recyclable / biodegradable alternatives to these products now. Check our our very own Bamboo straws and metal straws.
6 - Use A Reusable Water Bottle
Using a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce plastic pollution. Carrying one around acts as a reminder to keep hydrated, too. In the UK outdoor water fountains have been installed across the country, and refill stations are being established in prominent areas. Airports, gyms and your office are all places that you should also be able to fill up, as more businesses and governments realise the environmental benefits of readily available tap water.
7 - Use Reusable Nappies (Diapers)
Now this may sound unhygienic or 'gross' to some readers but modern reusable nappies are a phenomenon. The liners inside quality reusable nappies catch most of what they are supposed to, and as such the nappy can be reused repeatedly before washing. With very young children it is not unusual to get through 6-10+ single use nappies a day - not only is this terrible for the environment, it is also expensive! Multiplied on a grand scale using reusable types make a significant difference to the amount of plastic waste that is produced, and will also save you money. Our favourites are from the Bambino Mio Brand.
8 - Use a Bamboo Toothbrush
Plastic toothbrushes, often packed in plastic packaging that a tank could run over without denting it, are the plague of our oceans. They take decades to decompose, if ever, and the simple switch to a bamboo toothbrush is highly recommended. The bristles on most toothbrushes on the market will be made from nylon, so dispose of these separately to the handle (which will be biodegradable / compostable if it is 100% bamboo). With each individual changing their toothbrush every three months, the switch to a bamboo toothbrush can have huge effects. In the US alone it is estimated more than one BILLION toothbrushes end up in landfill every year.
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