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Splitting up with Single-Use Plastics

An estimated 295 billion pieces of plastic are discarded in the UK each year, filling up our landfills, oceans, and waterways - threatening both the wildlife and environment. As the ‘zero waste’ trend sweeps through our small businesses, supermarkets, and homes, more of us are becoming mindful of how much plastic we use at home or out and about. Here are a few small changes you can make to join the movement and reduce your own plastic pollution.

Coffee Cups and Bottles

Single-use coffee cups are a colossal contributor to the mound of plastic that we produce each year. Many cafes and coffee chains now offer discounts to customers who bring in their own coffee cups so a simple swap to a reusable one will help you save money as well as the environment. Available in a variety of more eco-friendly materials such as glass, stainless steel, and bamboo, travel cups and reusable bottles are stylish, convenient, and a more ethical way to get your caffeine fix.

Food Storage

Say goodbye to cling film and sandwich bags and say hello to reusable containers. Plastic food containers, while still plastic, can be used again and again for everything from keeping your cereal fresh to taking your lunch to work and school each day. If you’re on a mission to avoid plastic altogether, glass mason jars and beeswax food wraps are a great alternative.

Bags for Life

British supermarkets are encouraging the use of reusable bags by putting a small charge on their one-use ones. Reusable shopping bags, often called ‘bags for life’ can be folded up and stored in your handbag or backpack when you go shopping and easily whipped out at the checkout. While most of these bags in supermarkets are still made of plastic, great alternatives include fabric or macramé and can feature all sorts of prints and patterns to reflect your personal style.

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Ethical Toiletries

Toiletries are often forgotten when we think about our plastic consumption. Everything from toothbrushes and combs to cotton buds and clips are manufactured from plastic. Environmentally friendly alternatives are popping up everywhere, made from bamboo, wood, and other natural materials. Not only do they look and feel great, but they’re great for the planet too. So next time you need to switch out your toothbrush, sponge, or luffa, take a second to search for a natural version instead.

Cutlery & Crockery

Say no to single-use straws and purchase a reusable metal or rubber one instead. They usually come with a special cleaning brush to keep them ready for use, whether you’re at home or out and about. The same goes for disposable cutlery and crockery. Biodegradable plates, bowls, knives, spoons, and forks have all been designed and are just as great for BBQs, picnics, and parties as their plastic counterparts. You could also swap them out for some reusable picnicware for fun family days out – they’re lightweight and easy to transport in your basket or bag.

Other One-use Swaps

Here’s a list of other everyday disposable plastic that you might not have thought of:

  • Disposable gloves - Try out reusable rubber gloves instead.

  • Disposable shaver - Invest in an electric one.

  • Balloons – Use eco-friendly decorations like paper confetti.

  • Blister packs – Buy your vitamins in bottles instead.

  • Gift wrap -  Kraft paper is an attractive, rustic alternative.

  • Sticky tape – Secure things with masking tape or string.

  • Wet wipes – White vinegar on kitchen roll works just as well for cleaning, and face cloths are a great replacement.

To learn about more ways you can live a green lifestyle, read some of our other articles below.

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