Handy hints to start your plastic free journey
Using less plastic, particularly single use plastic, has become a priority for many individuals and homeowners with many of us trying to find ways to use and waste less.
There are several ways in our homes that we can make a real change and many of them are easily achieved and often costing very little.
In the kitchen
There can be so much plastic waste in the kitchen from the way we purchase our food, to the products we use to clean our homes.
Pre-wrapped fruit, vegetables, fish and meat are one of the biggest areas of non-recyclable plastic consumables, By choosing to purchase these goods from markets, farm shops and other similar outlets you will find that very little, if any, plastic is required. You can even take reusable containers, such as those made from bamboo, to bring your produce home and eliminate the need for it being wrapped in plastic.
For those leftovers at home, or wrapping sandwiches and snacks, remember that Beeswax wraps are incredibly versatile and can replace clingfilm and tinfoil in your kitchen drawer.
Our cleaning products are also one of the biggest culprits of single use plastic – our dishwasher and washing tablets are plastic, our cleaning solutions come in plastic bottles although thankfully many of the latter can be easily recycled through domestic recycling channels. However, you could choose plastic free dishwasher and laundry cleaning solutions and many brands are now offering refillable products to really cut down on the plastic you use.
In the bathroom
This is another place in our homes where lots of the products we choose from mainstream brands are packaged in plastic that we recycle after use. However, wouldn’t it be even better to choose products that were refillable, or didn’t use plastic at all.
There is a great selection of plastic free cotton buds, toothbrushes, reusable cleansing pads and cloths, and you can even get toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners that come in bars or sustainable packaging to remove as much plastic as possible from your bathroom.
In the garden
If you’re a gardener then you will probably find that many of the products you purchase, from plants to bags of compost, are all swathed in plastic. The humble plastic plant pot was introduced in the 1960’s however, now more environmentally friendly ones are beginning to make their way into nurseries and garden centres across the UK. Opt for the alternatives and, for your own home cuttings and plant growing, remember to choose bio-degradable pots.
On the patio, ceramic or terracotta containers that last season after season are better as decorative garden pots than plastic. Furthermore, choose jute twine, wooden plant markers and metal tools that can be used year after year with just a little TLC. These ideas all add up to some really simple ways, as described by the RHS, to go plastic free in your garden or reuse already purchased plastic items.
Going plastic free successfully
In addition to things that we use at home, there are also other ways to live a more plastic free life.
Buy a reusable thermal cup and water bottle and take them everywhere with you. You’ll no longer have to use any takeaway cups or buy water bottles at all. Choose metal or wooden cutlery over plastic, indeed buy a reusable ‘spork’ if you often eat on the go and have your own metal straw for sipping those all-important summer cocktails, or paper straws for the children. Ditch the plastic shopping bags completely – canvas, jute or paper should really be the only ones available – and you don’t have to compromise on style too with classy bags proving popular with celebs too! With the average plastic shopping bag taking 100 years to decompose you can see why this one is particularly important!
Another one that is really important, and a habit that we should all be breaking, is the love of wet wipes, baby wipes, floor wipes in fact any type of wipe! Most contain an unhealthy amount of plastic and are bad for the environment, however they can easily be swapped for reusable, washable cloths and cleansing pads; exchange the liquid soap for a bar, or piece of soap – Lush do some great ones!
Just making a few small changes will all add up to a big difference and remove as much single use plastic from our homes as possible and make the future of our planet a greater place to be.