*** This is a collaborative post ***
Plastic pollution is a big problem. 91% of the plastic we use isn’t recycled and ends up in landfill sites or in the sea. Much of this plastic is unlikely to degrade for thousands of years. The more plastic waste we generate, the more it builds up.
By reducing our plastic consumption, we can all help to combat plastic pollution. Disposable plastic is the type of plastic that is most damaging to the environment and is the type of plastic that is most worth reducing. Below are just 7 ways to use less plastic.
Always bring a bag when shopping
Disposable plastic bags are a major source of plastic waste. Instead of taking home new bags every time you go shopping, consider using any plastic bags you may already have in your home (investing in a bag-for-life is always worthwhile). It’s very easy to forget bags, so consider stashing some bags in your coat pocket or car so that you’ve always got one to hand. On top of saving the environment, you’ll save yourself the 10p charge each time you go shopping.
Buy a reusable water bottle
Another big source of plastic waste is disposable plastic bottles. Avoid buying water in plastic bottles when you’re out and about and instead consider investing in a reusable bottle from a company such as Hippo Bottles. Tap water isn’t only more eco-friendly, but also free in most cases, so you’ll save money.
Switch to bamboo toothbrushes
Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three to four months. This often means throwing away large amounts of plastic each year. In fact, plastic toothbrushes contribute to 50 million pounds of waste in landfills every year. A solution to this is to switch to bamboo toothbrushes – unlike plastic, they’re biodegradable. Check out this guide to the best bamboo toothbrushes at The Independent.
Avoid plastic straws
Plastic straws are another big contributor to plastic waste. A lot of restaurants and products with straws have now switched to paper straws – however, you can still buy plastic straws online and many people still do. Stick to paper straws or consider a reusable metal straw.
Cut down on takeaway meals
If you rely on takeaway meals regularly, it’s likely that you’re generating more plastic waste. Meals from takeaway restaurants often come in plastic tubs or bags, which many of us throw away. Takeaway sandwiches and sushi meanwhile typically come with plastic packaging. Try to eat at home more or dine out to reduce the need for plastic.
Opt for fruit and veg not wrapped in plastic
Many supermarkets sell fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic. However, there are often options to buy such fruit and vegetables without the plastic on. Where possible try to opt for food without the plastic wrapping on them.
Be wary of using wet wipes
Most wet wipes are only partially made of organic materials – they often contain organic materials like cotton woven with plastics like polyester or polypropylene. As a result, they contribute to plastic waste. Fortunately, there are a growing number of natural wet wipe brands emerging on the market, some of which are almost entirely plant extract – check out this guide at Made For Mums. These could be worth trying out if you’re eager to cut down.