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22 Really Useful Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Waste

Plastic free July highlights very well the issues with single use plastic waste. With 90% of plastic made entering our eco systems, making small changes can help encourage designers, manufacturers and retailers to change how they produce and package things. It’s not easy by any means. Most of what we buy comes with plastic in some shape or form, and alternatives are not always easily found. Reducing its use can seem challenging, so we’ve compiled a list of 22 ways to reduce plastic waste.

Soft plastic waste

  • Did you know many supermarkets in the UK now offer soft plastics recycling? Start collecting the soft plastics you have in your household, things like crisp packets, pasta, chocolate, biscuit wrappers, even those plastic films you have on fruit punnets and salads, its the crunchy clear plastic wraps that cover most things you buy. Collect them for a month, and see how much you’ve collected. It will surprise you! But it’ll also make you realise what a challenge it is to remove plastic from our households. After you have counted all your soft plastics, drop them off at a supermarket near you. All Morrisons stores now have a collection point. Then task yourself with how you can reduce the amount of soft plastic you use.
Multi packs of crisps create more plastic waste than a large bag
  • More really is less. We all shop for convenience and this can mean adding to the amount of single use plastic we have in our households. Take those multi packs of crisps which are perfect for lunchboxes, they come individually wrapped and then have a single large outer wrapper. All soft plastics. Reduce waste by buying a large bag and decanting the amount you want to consume into a smaller container.

The same applies to items like pasta, bread, salad, cereal, washing up liquid. Take a look at your household shop and think about what you can buy in a bigger size to reduce the amount of plastic brought into your home..

  • Choose loose over pre packed. Invest in a reusable produce bag, most supermarkets have them, and remember to take it when you do your shopping. That way you can choose the loose fruit and veg and reduce the plastics used in pre packed groceries.
  • Zero waste shop – if you’re lucky enough to have a zero waste shop near you, you’ll be able to take in your own containers and fill them up with all sorts of foods, such as pasta, rice, cereals, even eggs and herbs.
  • Keep a small foldaway fabric bag with you at all times. You’ll always be ready for that unexpected purchase and won’t end up buying a plastic carrier.

Reducing plastic waste in children’s items

  • Disposable nappies are typically made from several layers of plastic. 4,000 – 6,000 disposable nappies will have been used and discarded per child by the time they have been potty trained. This is in stark contrast to the 20-30 reusable nappies needed for the same period. If you can make the switch to reusables you’ll be helping reduce the number of disposable nappies heading to landfill. If you want to go a step further choose a brand like TotsBots, the largest producer of reusable nappies in the UK. They use 100%  recycled plastic in their waterproof outer wrap.
  • You can now rent TotsBots reusable nappies from baby clothing rental site, Qookeee. Renting allows you try reusable nappies. If you continue to rent your nappy, you’ll help reduce plastic waste by reusing what is already available instead of buying new.
Rent good quality waterproof and windproof baby outerwear clothes to keep them out of landfill
  • Clothing isn’t often considered when thinking about reducing plastic waste. But good quality waterproof and windproof outerwear is usually made from the plastic fibre polyester. Currently there are few environmentally friendly alternatives.

But instead of buying and later discarding outerwear, try hiring them instead from Qookeee, who rent baby outerwear made from recycled polyester. There are two advantages in this. Plastic waste is diverted from landfill and a useful clothing item created. Renting clothing keeps it in circulation for longer, reducing the amount of discarded clothing plastic waste being sent to landfill.

  • Children are learning more about the environment every day, so what a great idea for a children’s party to make it plastic free. Rubber balloons instead of plastic, cotton tablecloths, paper plates, napkins, bunting.
  • Avoid plastic childrens toys and choose wooden ones.
  • Instead of using plastic childrens hangers opt for wooden ones.

Beating consumables

  • Switch from single use plastic bottles to a reusable bottle.
  • If you’re a coffee on the go lover, invest in a reusable travel coffee mug – no more binning those disposal coffee cups.
  • Love tea? Use loose leaf tea instead of tea bags as so many brands still use plastic to seal the bags.
  • Plastic straws – ditch and switch to paper or metal straws.
  • Use glass storage containers in the home and reduce the amount of plastic containers you use to store things in.
  • Decant your existing toiletries in small reusable containers when you go on holiday instead of buying travel size toiletries.
  • Invest in beeswax wraps as a sustainable alternative to cling film.
  • The milkman is making a comeback! Delivering fresh milk in reusable glass bottle straight to your door, instead of plastic milk containers. If its outside your budget then the next best thing is to buy the bigger milk containers if you can, rather than the small ones to reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home.
  • Having a picnic or a salad for lunch? Use metal or wooden cutlery instead of plastic. If you buy or take salads to work for lunch keep a metal cutlery set in your drawer.
  • Use soap bars instead of liquid soap in those plastic bottles with pumps.
  • How many household waste bin liners do you put out for collection? Plastic bin liners are a huge plastic waste problem. Try compostable bin liners for household waste like these ones from AllGreen.

We hope we’ve inspired you to give plastic free changes a try. It’s not easy but definitely worth persevering with!