The sustainability message has never been clearer, and as homeowners there is much we can do to lower our carbon footprint and reduce the number of SUP (Single Use Plastic) and recyclable plastics that we use in our home.
As consumer demands grow, more manufacturers are exploring and launching new ways of selling their products. It's fair to say it's becoming easier, so we thought we'd take a quick look at ways in which we can all do our bit to preserve where we live.
We know that there is often little option as to how we buy essential products such as cleaning, beauty and food. Choice is growing but it's not as simple as a one stop supermarket shop. That said, choosing products in glass, cardboard or indeed choosing those in no packaging at all rather than plastic, is certainly a step in the right direction, and will become easier as more manufacturers are choosing recyclable alternatives.
Spick and Span
It's great to see that Cif
is just one household name that has reduced its plastic by offering customers the options to buy refills for their trigger spray bottles, reducing the amount of plastic in the manufacturing process and the amount consumed by households by a staggering 1.5 million bottles.
Taking it one step further, a growing number of households are looking for options such as cleaning products in glass bottles or using reusable cloths for things like bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar instead of manufactured cleaning solutions.
That said, Method
are two manufacturers who offer refills for their products and what they do manufacture, they do so in a responsible way.
Things are gradually improving
in the beauty and cosmetics sector but there us still limited choice. Choosing traditional bar soap over liquid soap in plastic dispensers can make a big saving and there are manufacturers, such as Lush
, who manufacture soap, shampoo and conditioner in bars to eliminate plastic bottles. Some hair care manufacturers are now offering refillable options but we've yet to find one at high street prices and one that is easily available.
Beauty brands for skin care and make up can also be challenging to find but we can do our bit by choosing brand that use eco-friendly and sustainable packaging and don't include plastic in the manufacturing process such as micro beads. Swapping to cotton pads and make up tools that are made from bamboo or other bio-degradable materials is also a great way to go.
In the kitchen
Who's wrapped up food in cling film or food bags and thought that this was such a bad idea, but there was very little alternative? Well now, Beeswax
wraps have hit the high street and are simply amazing! You can now wrap sandwiches for packed lunches, cheese, that bit of onion or pepper that will save for tomorrow's salad or dinner prep, in fact just about everything that you would normally wrap in tin foil or cling film. They come in a variety of sizes and with amazing credentials such as being 100% natural, self-sealing, reusable and bio-degradable we hope they will become the preference of households across the nation. Just remember to tell your friends and family!
It's a habit
If you want to reduce the amount of plastic in your weekly shop, why not change the way you shop. Head to the butchers with empty container and ask for your meat to be placed in those. Do the same with your fish from the fishmongers. Go to a local farm shop and buy eggs in cardboard boxes rather than the plastic ones that are still seen at some supermarkets. Take glass bottles; easily available from Ikea; to one of the ever growing number of loose or refillable shops
and here you could fill bottles with oil and boxes and tubs with flour, cereal, pasta and rice amongst many other products.
Visit markets and greengrocers and take reusable hessian bags to load your produce in. It may make the weekly shop a little different, and perhaps not quite a convenient, but you know it's the right thing to do. After all, it's what older generations did and if we, as the consumer, made the demand, supermarkets and food retailers will provide the solutions when they realise we don't want everything we buy wrapped in plastic.
Since the 5p bag tax across the UK, retailers have seen almost a 85% decrease in the amount of bags used. So why are other popular consumables not being subject to the same approach. At first everyone forgot to take their bags, now most people remember or manage without.
Milk and More
is one company that is returning to a more traditional business model - delivering milk and more straight to our front doors. Glass, returnable bottles that are then refilled are used, indeed there is a whole section named 'plastic free'
. And Morrisons
is the first supermarket to offer bagless fruit and veg where it can be placed in paper bags or just in hessian bags provided by the customer. Meanwhile, Sainsbury's are trialing recycling instore, where you unwrap your food before you bring it home! A great way to tackle manufacturers that have not yet made the move to more sustainable packaging solutions.
Let's think about the wider picture
So, we've tackled the three main areas of our homes where we tend to use the most plastic but, taking a look at the wider picture, what else can we do to eradicate plastic from our lifestyles wherever possible?
We've only scratched the surface here of what homeowners can do to decrease, or eradicate completely, their plastic consumption,
By taking a little time to research what's available in your area, even a couple of small changes will start to make a big difference.