Can you imagine going a single day without using plastic?
Sounds impossible, right?
From grocery bags, contact lenses, phone casings, shampoo bottles, tea bags, to coffee cups, it’s no secret that plastic has invaded almost every aspect of our lives.
Ironically, while plastic is one of the most durable materials on the planet, it’s also one of the most widely discarded.
Believe it or not, the United Kingdom (UK) is one of the world’s largest sources of plastic waste:
- The UK uses over 275,000 tonnes of plastic items each day.
- Households in the UK throw away about 40kg of plastic waste that is recyclable.
- The average person produces 99 kilograms of plastic waste each year.
Plastic items, especially single-use ones, take about 1,000 years to decompose. And while most plastics are recyclable, the sad reality is that majority still end up in landfills.
And it’s not just the accumulation of plastic rubbish that’s harming our planet. Plastic pollution also upsets the marine environment, it poses risks to human health, and it contributes to climate change.
If you’re thinking of going plastic-free but don’t know where to start, then this article will surely be helpful.
Check out these 11 easy tips to help you reduce your plastic use in your daily life:
1. Swap disposable food containers for reusables
Single-use plastic food containers are convenient, but they’re hardly environmentally friendly.
Hosting a party? Go plastic-free by using ceramic or glass dining ware and washing them after use.
Buying takeaway fish and chips? You can pack your meals in steel lunchboxes, bamboo bento boxes, and glass storage containers with lids.
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2. Carry reusable water bottles wherever you go
In the UK, more than seven billion plastic bottles are tossed in landfills each year.
You can reduce your plastic waste by never leaving home without a reusable water bottle. Stay hydrated with a clean thermos, a handy sports bottle, or a metal canteen.
Read: Break Up with Plastic: 11 Easy Tips to Help You Reduce Plastic Use
3. Buy grocery items in bulk
Over 2 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste is produced each year in the UK.
You can help cut down on unnecessary plastic waste by buying in bulk instead of purchasing groceries in pre-portioned plastic wrappings.
Apart from being good for the planet, buying in bulk is better for your wallet since it’s cheaper compared to buying in smaller quantities!
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4. Switch to cloth pads and nappies
Single-use sanitary pads and baby diapers are responsible for generating more than 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste.
With the planet in mind, keep plastic out of your monthly period and your baby’s care by using reusable menstrual pads and nappies!
You can look for cloth pads and nappies in your local eco-store. If you’re crafty, you can also make your own from upcycled fabric.
5. Bring your own shopping and grocery bag
Annually, the world uses 500 billion worth of plastic grocery bags.
You can lessen the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfill by bringing your own reusable bags!
You don’t even have to spend to buy an “eco” bag. You can turn just about any bag you have at home into a reusable shopping and grocery bag. (You can even make one out of an old shirt!)
Read: 110 Simple Hacks for a More Eco-Friendly Life
6. Bring your container when buying meat or cheese
Excessive plastic packaging is a common sight in supermarkets in the UK, especially when you’re buying meat or cheese.
While some stores are still slow to tackle the issue of plastic waste, you can make the eco-friendly move by bringing your containers when shopping for meat, fish, or cheese at Tesco and other eco-conscious supermarkets.
7. Shave using metal safety razors
Disposable razors are not only hazardous, they’re also non-recyclable, making them one of the most problematic types of waste.
Make your grooming ritual more sustainable by ditching disposable cartridge razors and shaving with safety razors instead!
Go for metal safety razors that have stainless steel blades, are anti-rust, and double-edged for safe and eco-conscious grooming.
8. Refuse the straw
Before you enjoy your favourite drink with a straw, ask yourself if you really need one.
Unless you have a neuromuscular disability or any medical condition that makes using your hands difficult, you can just simply sip from the cup.
If you have to use one, consider more eco-friendly alternatives such as bamboo, glass, or metal straws.
9. Dine with eco-friendly cutlery
Apart from single-use plastic straws, disposable cutlery also contributes heavily to plastic pollution.
Never get caught with the dilemma of having to use plastic cutlery by having your own metal or biodegradable utensils (such as bamboo, cornstarch, birchwood, or wheat cutlery) ready in your bag or pocket.
Also, when you order delivery from home, remember to tell the restaurant you’re ordering from to skip adding plastic cutlery to your bag.
10. Be smart about your bathroom products
More than 200 plastic haircare bottles, of which only a small fraction are recycled, are used by British households each year. That’s insane, considering how 9% of what you pay for a product is its packaging.
Considering the economic and environmental cost of using personal care products that come in plastic, make the sustainable switch by using soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars.
Now, you may think using a shampoo bar won’t drastically save the planet. However, if it means one less plastic bottle ending up in landfills, then it’s undoubtedly worth a try!
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11. Consider plastic-free packaging for your business
On a global scale, 40% of plastic waste produced annually comes from single-use packaging.
If you’re running a small business, make your operations zero-waste by using recycled paper and boxes.
You may also opt for biodegradable mailers and go with a green courier service too.
Now that you’re familiar with these 11 simple tips, you’re well on your way toward a plastic-free lifestyle.
If you want to further your goal of cutting down on your plastics use, look into free online resources such as inspiring discussions about zero-waste or plastic-free living!
To living plastic-free!
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