Cutting Down on Single-Use Plastic

Why cut down on single-use plastic?

  • Most plastics are made from petroleum, a polluting, non-renewable resource
  • Plastics can leach (release) toxins that are harmful to our health
  • Plastic litter blights the landscape and poses a threat to wildlife
  • Plastic cannot be recycled over and over (unlike glass); instead plastic is downcycled. This means that when plastic is recycled, a lower quality product is produced (e.g. clingfilm), which in turn cannot be recycled, ending up in landfill
  • Thus, reducing the amount of plastic waste that is generated should be a priority for all

Six tips for reducing your personal plastic use

  1. Don’t buy plastic water bottles, favour re-usable water bottles instead. This great video outlines lots of great reasons to give up on plastic water bottles for good. I am a huge fan of the Klean Kanteen Reflect (silver stainless steel bottle) because there’s no plastic – even the lid is made of stainless steel (and bamboo). So eco!
  2. For coffee on the go, why not favour a reusable mug?
  3. When buying clothes, check the labels for choose natural fibres, such as cotton, wool and hemp. Avoid clothes made from plastic e.g. polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, nylon. Did you know that plastic fragments from clothes were recently found in the thought to be pristine waters of the Antarctic ocean? These fibres are shed from synthetic clothing in our washing machines, where they pollute our waterways, eventually migrating as far as the oceans.
  4. Most of us already bring our own bags to package our shopping from the supermarkets (if you don’t I’d recommend this funny video). But what about when you’re clothes shopping or shoe shopping? Loose fruit and vegetables can also be contained in your own reusable bags, or even just placed in your shopping basket/trolley, instead of taking a plastic bag.
  5. There are all sorts of plastics we can replace with more eco-friendly alternatives. I use compostable loofah sponges for washing the dishes, a compostable toothbrush, wooden hairbrushes and re-usable glass straws. Whenever I need to buy something that’s made from plastic, I do a little research to try and find a more sustainable alternative.
  6. Consider plastic-free feminine hygiene products. Not only do most conventional pads and tampons come in plastic wrappers, they are also made from plastic fibres, as well as cotton. Consider reusable menstrual cups, reusable cloth menstrual pads (both of which you sterilise between uses), or organic Natracare disposable products (made from cotton and plant cellulose, so can be composted). Similarly, an alternative to disposable nappies are reusable cloth nappies.

For more ideas on reducing plastic consumption, take a look at this guide:

Top left-right: using reusable bags, choosing non-plastic clothes, and compostable toothbrushes.Bottom left-right: compostable feminine hygiene products, reusable water bottles and reusable coffee mugs.

Top left to right: Tips include using reusable bags, choosing non-plastic clothes, and compostable toothbrushes.
Bottom left to right: compostable feminine hygiene products, reusable water bottles and reusable coffee mugs.

Do you try to reduce using single-use plastic?
Do you have any tips for avoiding single-use plastics? 

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