12 easy ways to use less plastic

Plastic has become a bad word in households across the country and, when you really look, it’s everywhere. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to lessen or eliminate your use of disposable plastic altogether. Here are top 10 simple tips:

  • Use a refillable or travel coffee mug rather than ordering takeaway drinks in a disposable cup. Many places (such as Costa) already offer an incentive, such as a percentage discount, for using your own. There’s a great range available from Thermos (pictured below).

    Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug
    Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug
  • Invest in a reusable water bottle for using during yoga, at the gym and in the office rather than buying plastic bottles every time
  • Keep some real cutlery and a glass in your drawer at work so you’re not caught out needing a disposable setfork-2462375_1920
  • Use only real plates or biodegradable alternatives, such as bamboo for the kids. We love this bamboo Vintage Apple Lunchbox (available in lots of other styles and prints) from former dotcomgiftshop Rex London.

    Vintage Apple Bamboo Lunch Box (2)
    Vintage Apple Lunchbox, Rex London 
  • Switch to biodegradable baby wipes, nappy sacks and re-usable nappies. There’s a great range here by Naty 
  • Buy only wooden toys where you can. We’re avid browsers of the Wooden Toy Shop.
  • Make sure you take your re-usable bags to the supermarket

    Bags for life at Asda 
  • Try to buy loose fruit and vegetables and products in sustainable packaging at the supermarket or, even better, subscribe to a local, organic veg box
  • Buy products in glass jars or bottles, or have fun making your own. jam-428094_960_720
  • Make sure you recycle and compost your food waste
  • Switch to bamboo cotton buds. Check out Surfers Against Sewage to buy.
  • Never flush anything down the toilet other than toilet roll. Remember, what goes in the ocean goes in you.sunset-3300466_1920

The big plastic clean-up – are big brands and supermarkets doing enough?

Nestle today (10 April) announced that it will “aim for 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025”. It’s the latest in a long line of big names to pledge their commitment to reduce plastic waste, which makes up around 90% of all rubbish floating on the ocean’s surface and kills 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.

Iceland became the first major retailer at the start of the year to promise to eliminate plastic packaging within the next five years to help put an end to plastic pollution, which has become so large scale, it will take thousands of years and significant investment to clean up or at least offset its effects.

Asda followed suit in February by pledging to scrap 5p carrier bags across all its stores by the end of 2018, stop using plastic drinking straws in its cafes, and introduce reusable drinks cups by 2019. Asda has also promised to reduce its own brand packaging by 10%.

But Greenpeace UK says its isn’t enough.

Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “As the largest food and drink company in the world Nestle should be leading on sustainable packaging, but their new commitments lack ambition. Greater transparency, a higher proportion of recycled content, and support for recycling are all welcome, but Nestle needs to do more to move the needle towards the elimination of problem plastic.

“A rubbish truck load of plastic enters the ocean every minute and huge multinationals selling plastic products need to play a bigger part in turning the tide. Nestle should remove non-recyclable plastic far sooner than 2025, and phase out all single-use plastic packaging.”

While your plastic footprint may not be as significant as the big brands and large retailers, there are lots of ways you can reduce your use of disposable plastic too.

Where does the money go?

Ever wondered where the proceeds from the 5p Scottish carrier bag tax go? We caught up with some of the supermarkets to find out.

Before phasing them out, Aldi shared more than £4.5m from the sales of its 5p carrier bags with the RSPB, Teenage Cancer Trust, Farm Africa, the Red Cross and smaller regional charities.

Lidl stopped the sale of single-use carrier bags in store from July 2017. Prior to that, the supermarket supported its national charity partners, Clic Sargent, the NSPCC, and Keep Britain Tidy.