This week marked the start of plastic-free July - whoop whoop! We don't need to tell you that single-use plastic is a major problem for the future of the planet.
Here's the thing though: the plastic problem is ultimately not one we can recycle our way out of - we need to reduce our consumption of it too. We need change!
So now the bad news is out of the way...we've put together a nifty set of tips to help reduce your single-use packaging materials. It might seem daunting, but remember - every little helps!
AND...WE WANT YOUR TIPS!
We'd love to make this a super-comprehensive list to help guide our journey to a plastic-free lifestyle - slide your suggestions into the comments at the bottom of this page and we'll add them to the list!
BULK IT UP
Find your local bulk store and stock up on pantry staples such as pasta, rice, nut butter, nuts, spices etc. Make sure you bring your own containers! A simple (insert your favourite search engine here) search will help you find your nearest store. PLUS, they don't stop at just food: most bulk stores have refill stations for things like detergent and fabric softener too. Winning.
Carry re-useables. Focus on the essentials: reuseable water bottle, coffee cup, cutlery, straw and canvas bag. You can get great little travel sets that roll up and are handbag/backpack-friendly!
Go back to basics with things such as bar soap instead of shower gels and shampoo bars. They last longer, have more natural ingredients and there is less (or even no) packaging.
Use cloth wraps for sandwiches or for covering bowls in the fridge. Hark after your childhood with a lunchbox or re-useable container for packed lunches or leftovers.
Stainless steel lunchboxes are a great option! Perfect for packed lunches, freezing leftovers, going to the deli, buying fresh produce and getting takeaway - no leaching or nasty plastic taste! Thanks for the tip @nousinthewild
For the oven, buy a silicone baking mat (such as Silpat).
FACE OR BABY WIPES
For face wipes or removing makeup buy reuseable wipes either cotton, bamboo, hemp or just a regular flannel. For babies use the Cheeky wipe system or an alternative re-useable wipe set up.
Ideally go for reuseable fabric nappies. However, understandably this isn’t practical for everyone so look for fully biodegradeable brands such as Mum & You or Beaming Baby – better for baby and for the planet. Result!
LOOSE LEAF TEA
Take it back to the old school and use a tea pot and loose leaf tea - you get way more bag for your buck if you use loose leaf tea! If teapots are not your thing or you are making tea for one you can use a tea strainer. If you do like bags, make sure you use plastic-free and chemical-free teabags.
In supermarkets or farmers markets opt out of the plastic bag or paper bag for produce. Put it loose in your basket and then in your (canvas or hemp) bag. Try growing or foraging your fruit and veg – it is summer rn after all!
Use bamboo or recycled toilet paper. Alternatively set up a subscription with Who Gives A Crap who are fully plastic free.
Thanks for Katherine for this tip: Jangneus make dishcloths from natural and renewable materials. They're 100% biodegadable so afterwards can be put straight onto the compost heap. Even better, they come in loads of gorgeous patterns and are shipped plastic-free too!
Try making your own products with ingredients such as white vinegar, essential oils and bicarbonate of soda. There are tons of easy recipes online like this fab one.
Thanks to Rhian for this tip: Cut up old t-shirts or tea-towels into small squares to use as cleaning cloths. Bicarb of Soda with vinegar and1/2 lemon is a great household cleaner. Vinegar & scrunched up newspaper really does get windows streak-free!
Carry a water bottle and fill it up before you leave home and when you are out and about. At home use a water filtration system or drink tap water. If fizzy is your thing consider investing in a SodaStream to avoid the plastic (or glass) bottles you will accumulate over years of purchasing and drinking fizzy.
Make a packed lunch when you can! It's hard work and requires planning, but it's generally more cost-effective, less wasteful, and tastier!
Thanks to Tessa for this brilliant tip - delete old emails and unsubscribe from bulk emails, e-waste is still waste! Emails require electricity to be sent - spam emails use as much electricity as 2.7 million homes!
Try and make your own for the month! Ambitious for sure, but definitely worth a try. Jamie Oliver has a good recipe for almond milk here. If you buy, get it in plastic free glass bottles such as from M*lkman - his cashew mylk makes a genuinely unreal iced coffee.
If you shop at a deli counter or bakery take your own container for them to put the products in.
Switch to a fully-renewable energy provider, like Bulb. Thanks to Tessa for the tip! Use this code and you'll get £50 off your first bill!
WE HOPE SOME OF THOSE WERE HELPFUL!
We'd love to make this a super-comprehensive list to help guide our journey to a plastic-free lifestyle - so please slide your suggestions into the comments below and we'll add them to the list!