10 ways to reduce your plastic

10 ways to reduce your plastic

Being "plastic free" has become synonymous with clean and sustainable living. Plastic gained infamy when David Attenborough shone a dark light on the plastic pollution found in waterways, and how this is impacting marine life in his BBC documentary, A Blue Planet.

What would later become known as, "the blue planet effect," plastic pollution became a trigger point for countless individuals who decided to take action and set up "zero waste" shops also known as refill shops all over the world, in response to the crisis.  Lifestyle bloggers such as Kate Arnell focused on simple and easy ways to live a low impact lifestyle. And some companies reacted to the public's concern by taking steps to reduce their own plastic content in their packaging.

Hitherto unwitting consumers took the time to reflect on the sheer volume of plastic wrapping that made up a sizable proportion of their "general waste"- pausing to question: why is all this plastic necessary? The simple answer is, it isn't. 

Being plastic free in an age of convenience however, isn't easy. Not only has plastic become the norm, many of us lead busy lives and don't have the time to rethink the weekly shop, and so go along with our usual routine to avoid making our lives more complicated. 

Committing to leading a plastic free lifestyle might feel daunting. That's why instead of using the phrase "plastic free" we prefer low waste. Let's face it, the world is built around a lot of single-use items: whether it's a take away coffee on route to work, a ready meal at the end of the day or a bag of veggies wrapped in single use plastic, waste is everywhere and at many times, unavoidable.

That said, why not discover the Sustainable Way to Live: Embrace a Plastic-Free Lifestyle: 

Unlock Sustainable Living: Transforming your shopping habits slowly and intentionally:

  1. Tins and jars: as the name suggests, canned and jarred food don't contain plastic (except perhaps for the pesky seal around the lid). Many foods come canned and jarred. Olives, peppers, pesto, as well as oils, and long lasting foods. Having canned and jarred foods in your pantry will mean you have ample food available.
  2. Buy loose fruit and veg: by choosing loose fruit and veg you will avoid the flimsy plastic bags many supermarkets try to push at shoppers. Potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and an array of fruits are generally easy to find in supermarkets unpackaged. In my local Sainsbury's, about 75% of the offerings available are package free. Salad and herbs seems to be continually wrapped in plastic however. Both Aldi and Lidl offer green biodegradable bags for loose fruit and veg, and their price points are cheaper than most other supermarkets around at the moment. 
  3. Visit your local green grocer: by supporting your local green grocer you will be able to purchase loose fruit and veggies without packaging, keep money within the local economy, and most likely save money in the process. Top tip: buy seasonal. Seasonal produce is usually available in  abundance, hence the price per kg is usually lower (of course this depends on the individual product).
  4. Refill your soaps: We get our refills from our local shop, Wild Oats where a litre of Bio-D hand wash is £4.45 . A 300ml standard bottle works out to £1.33 . Have you ever seen a British brand using natural ingredients at this price? A standard hand wash liquid is 300ml. By selecting a brand such as Bio-D you are able to save money whilst avoiding the plastic. 
  5. Visit your local bakery: we don’t mean buy  a loaf of sourdough. We know that the price of sourdough is crazy, ironic when you consider its humble origins. But how about a split tin loaf or a wholemeal? They come up in at about £2.20 at our local bakery, Joe’s. It’s freshly baked with minimal ingredients, as much as half the price of most sourdough loaves, and by taking your own bag, you won’t require any packaging. Top tip: save your bread bag and take it with you to the bakery 
  6. Buy bulk: And no, I don't mean at your refill shop (as we already said this above) we are talking 10kg bags of rice and flour for example. Flour and rice in bigger quantities save a lot of money, and buy sourcing paper packed sacks they will also be plastic free as well! 
  7. Sign up to a toilet roll subscription: did you know we would say this? But seriously, think about how many loo rolls you buy each time you visit the supermarket. The package is cumbersome to carry if you are going by foot, wrapped in flimsy plastic and generally there are only 190-200 sheets per roll. You aren’t gaining value for money. In fact, by signing up to a subscription, you will save money on every sheet, and it means no more late night trips to the local off-license because you have been caught short! Sign up for a Boo subscription here. 
  8. Seek out plastic free tea and coffee: companies such as Clipper made the switch back in 2018 and now offer an almost entirely plastic free range of teas. The CO-OP own brand of tea’s come in simple paper boxes. Coffee beans and ground coffee are trickier to source without plastic. That said, you could purchase the Illy tin but this is pricey at £5. Instead, you could go to your local coffee roasters and buy a bulk bag of beans. They usually sell these at a cut price if you go direct. In Bristol there are a number of Coffee roasteries. If you aren't in Bristol, have a google to find your local roastery to see whether they can hit you up with some plastic free coffee!
  9. Carry your own water bottle: I am sure this one hits home with many of you. Water bottles are very common, with many people now carrying a water bottle with them wherever they go. This avoids the need to purchase a plastic water bottle and it's also incredibly convenient, not to mention...free! Refill hotspots are all over the place these days.. The Refill app will help you locate your local refill point. This might include a local dentist, if they have signed up, then you are welcome to refill your water there.
  10. Take your own coffee cup: last but not least, if you haven't already, we suggest you invest in a reusable coffee cup. If you enjoy your daily commute with a hot beverage, then investing in a coffee cup will surely save 100's of single use cups from being used. Most places offer a discount if you bring your own cup. Or better still, make your drink at home and save 100% of your money! 

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