It’s great that you’ve got to the stage where you are wanting to learn more about an eco-friendly lifestyle. There has been such a huge push on better protecting our environment in the last few years, brought into the spotlight by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet Series. The BBC documentary “War on Plastic” made the issues even more relevant and closer to home.
We have seen a huge wave of the general public, small business and large corporations starting to turn the tide on plastic waste and disposable, single use items. Now is the time to up our game and make as big an impact as we can and to make our voices heard. The UK Government has made a commitment to eliminating plastic waste by 2042 – no mean feat as plastic is now used in our clothing, food packets, electronics, bottles, paints and building materials.
However, I get that it can be incredibly difficult to decide where to start with those changes. It can be time consuming researching products, it can look to be expensive at first glance and there is often an overwhelming amount of information to take on board.
This short blog post is going to give you five of the simplest switches you can make which will have a big impact on your consumption of plastic products and the waste they leave behind.
Reusable Drinks Bottles – over 1 million plastic bottles are sold around the world every minute of every day! 90% of those are not recycled and they take around 450 years to degrade into micro plastics – they will never leave our planet. They also take a huge amount of resources to make and transport! Stainless Steel reusable drinks bottles can be purchased from high street shops and supermarkets from as little as £8 or from speciality stores for £20+. Within 10-15 uses you have already saved money and a lot of plastic waste. I love Chillys and Klean Kanteen Bottles but you can also pick them up from places like TK Maxx and WH Smiths. Want to know some more staggering figures on plastic bottle pollution – take a look here.
Reusable Shopping Bags – another well-known issue, plastic bags have been on the hit list for a number of years. This is one of those things that you need to get in to the habit of doing (just keep on repeating it and the behaviour will be learnt – I promise!). Keeping a small shopper in your bag, jacket pocket or car boot is so easy to do, they are lightweight and take up no space. Then all you have to do is grab a handful of bigger bags for the supermarket, refill shop or farmers market. Don’t just use reusable bags for food shops – use them ALWAYS. And every time you do, remind yourself that it is another few hundred years of rotten, broken down micro plastics that you are saving. A small change with a huge impact.
Soap Bars – the biggest culprit in over excessive plastic packaging, are bathroom and beauty products. Unfortunately, in the past soap bars have gained a bad reputation of drying out skin and not producing the bubbles we have all come to love from our body washes (as well as going soggy). I can confirm this is not true. Nourishing, long lasting and cheaper than most bottles of shower gel, once you’ve made the switch you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried them sooner. My recommendation is to use a slatted soap dish so your soap bar dries quickly and lasts longer. You can also get facial soap bars (a firm favourite of mine), shampoo bars and shaving bars. It is time to ditch the plastic bottles!
Sandwich Wraps – how many picnics, packed lunches for school or work do you have in your family in a year? I’m guessing that it would probably add up to hundreds? And how many pieces of plastic wrap, tin foil or plastic sandwich bags do you use in that time? Getting a reusable sandwich wrap – which lasts years – can save you money and landfill waste. Buy once, use over and over again. It takes no effort and although the initial cost may seem a lot, each wrap will have saved you money within 6-12 months and should easily last 4-5 years if looked after!
Bamboo Toothbrush – changing your toothbrush every 3 months as recommended by dentist’s means that by the time you are 70 you will have used 280 toothbrushes! It is a part of our daily routines that cannot be changed but it can be made better. Using a bamboo toothbrush is no different to using a plastic one. It just means you can throw the handle in the compost bin and the bristles, once removed will biodegrade in landfill in 4-6 months. Simple, sustainable and something all the family can do without making a huge upheaval to “the norm”
I hope you find some use in the switches listed above. They are all things you can either implement straight away or that you can switch when you need to buy new. Please feel free to comment below with any questions. You can also sign up to our newsletter to get more eco tips straight to your inbox.