How can I reduce plastic waste?

Plastic is absolutely everywhere nowadays – it’s used to package our food, toiletries, hygiene products, post, drinks. You name it, it’ll be wrapped in plastic. Our cars, phones, computers, kid’s toys are made of it and it’s hard to get away from it. We are so used to using it for everything and it’s convenience that it’s difficult to get out of the habit, but with Plastic being one of the most difficult materials to recycle, we need to become more aware of the ways that we can reduce our own plastic waste and find alternatives to help our households and workplaces become more environmentally friendly.

We’ve compiled a list of things that you can do to reduce your plastic waste…

  1. Stop using plastic disposable cutlery – Carry your own re-usable cutlery with you in your handbag / pocket, so that you have it for any last minute eat out / takeaway decisions.
  2.  Pack your lunch responsibly – use foil or bags that can be re-used instead of clingfilm, you can also get Beeswax wraps now (even better), Buy the bigger pots of yoghurt and use a re-usable food container to put a portion in instead of using lots of little pots, buy and chop up fresh fruit and seal it in a re-usable container instead of buying the already prepared single use plastic pots from the supermarkets (you’ll save a lot of money this way too).
  3. Buy a re-usable water bottle that you can fill yourself instead of bulk buying lots of bottles from the supermarket. If you don’t like drinking tap water you can try a filtration bottle that filters the water as you go. With water bottles accounting for around 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste per year and 80% of it having to go to landfill, this will be sure to make a difference.
  4. Don’t stop at water… Make your own coffee in a re-usable travel mug in the morning before you leave for work instead of grabbing a plastic cup from a coffee shop. Or if you like the luxury of a coffee that someone else has made, take your travel mug with you for them to put it in – a lot of well known chains now offer you a discount too for using your own cup.
  5. Avoid buying pre-packaged fruit and vegetables and buy loose. It’s often much cheaper this way too. Some supermarkets have switched from plastic to cardboard and wooden packaging for their fruit and veg but there’s still a long way to go. Why not even try out your local farm shop, greengrocer or organic veg box delivery?
  6. An obvious one – re-use your carrier bags when you’re doing your shopping. Always keep a couple in your bag or the car so you always have them there. Better still – why not use a wooden crate or a cardboard box to carry your groceries in.
  7. Buy your bread fresh from the local bakery, or the fresh bakery section of the supermarket. These often come wrapped in a paper bag or no bag instead of plastic, they’re much tastier and often a lot cheaper than pre-sliced loaves AND you’re saving them using all that plastic packaging by doing so.
  8. Use the Milkman like the good old days and swap plastic milk bottles for re-usable glass bottles. With the average household using 480 plastic bottles per year and only 44% of those being put in the recycling bins in the correct way, switching to glass bottles will make all the difference in improving this statistic.