For many of us, Blue Planet II was a tough watch. Devastating scenes of plastic pollution, and its impact on the natural world shifted the conversation and influenced the behavior of people around the globe.It’s becoming increasingly clear that if we don’t each take responsibility for our own plastic use, the future looks bleak. A 2015 study estimated that there is plastic in the stomach of 25% of fish and 90% of seabirds, due to the way plastic breaks down into microscopic particles and enters the food chain.
By 2050 it is expected that there will be more plastic in our seas than fish.
Global movements such as Plastic Free July, and an ongoing shift towards reducing plastic waste, are essential if we’re to stand any chance of changing this outcome.
But what can you and I do? As individuals it may seem like a huge, impossible task, but if we all make small changes, they’ll add up to big things and we can turn the tide.
We’ve pulled together some top tips on reducing plastic at home – time to take notes, get ready for action and start sharing your new-found knowledge with your family & friends!
Why should I use less plastic?
Reducing plastic use is not just about ensuring less ends up in our seas and in landfill (although that is incredibly important!).
Many people don’t realise just how much energy and resources it takes just to produce plastic in the first place. For example, it takes 2000 times more energy to make bottled water than getting it from the tap, as the process includes bottle production, filling, and transportation.
Production of the raw materials themselves creates carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, and only 15 – 20% of all plastic waste can actually be recycled, so reducing our usage is definitely the best option.
Going plastic-free in the kitchen
A great place to start going plastic free is in the kitchen. As with all changes to our lifestyles and habits, it will take a little planning and extra thought to begin with, but the end result is worth it. Check out three of our little tips to go plastic-free in the kitchen…
- Use jars for food storage. Lots of high streets now have a zero waste store where you can buy in bulk – check out Zero Waste Near Me to find options in your area.
- Beeswax wraps. Say goodbye to the clingfilm, great for wrapping sandwiches and snacks. You’ll also find lots of tutorials online for how to make your own.
- Say no to kitchen roll. Yes the roll itself is paper, but the packaging is usually plastic, plus unless you’re composting it’s just going in the bin (& to landfill). Check out Ecoegg bamboo towels – super-absorbent sheets that can each be washed up to 85 times.
Going plastic-free in the bathroom
You may think that your only option in the bathroom is to buy products in plastic bottles, but there really is another way! Here are three easy swaps to help you go plastic-free in the bathroom…
- Ditch the cotton buds. You can buy great reusable ones, like these from the team at Lastobject.
- Choose plastic-free skincare. All our moisturisers and balms are hand-poured into 100% recyclable, compostable pots and tubes – hurrah!
- Check out toilet roll suppliers such as Who Gives A Crap, who deliver a big supply that’s not wrapped in any plastic (perhaps split the cost with a neighbour?)
Going plastic-free out and about
Ok, so making changes at home is one thing, but what about when you’re out the house? Don’t worry, there’s still lots you can do – we’ve pulled together some of our top ways to go plastic-free when you’re out and about…
- Reusable water bottles. Grab one before you leave the house. There’s thousands of refill stations around the UK. Get the app at refill.org.uk and search your local area.
- Don’t forget your shopping bags. Pop your favourite cloth or jute bags in your car, or buy the front door, so you’ll be sure to pick them up before you shop.
- Grab coffee to go in your refillable cup. There’s lots of beautiful designs available (Keepcups are very popular round here), plus lots of coffee shops offer a discount for using your own, win/win!
Going plastic-free with kids
Parenting doesn’t have to involve loads of plastic! Get the kids onside and you’ll find there are lots of easy ways to go plastic-free with children. Take a look at some things we’re doing in our homes…
- Rethink the wet wipes. There’s great reusable options out there, many of which come with special bags so you can separate pre-wetted ones and used ones.
- Ditch the plastic straws. You’ll find reusable options in silicone, bamboo, stainless steel and beyond. Pop some in your bag for when you’re out and about.
- Swap pens for crayons. No thank you plastic pens that just go in the bin – yes please lovely crayons wrapped in paper (that remind us all of being young!)
Got some other ideas that you think will be helpful for other people? We would love to know your plastic-free life hacks – why not send us a dm on Instagram or Facebook and maybe you’ll see your advice appear in a future post?
If you would like to continue your plastic-free journey, here are some resources you might find helpful…
Plastic Free Communities – from our friends at Surfers Against Sewage, here in the UK.
Plastic Free July – started in Australia, this is now a global annual event
The Plastic Change Project – lots of resources, news and information