For everyone who’s seen Blue Planet II, you’ll know the devasting effects of plastic pollution on our oceans. But for many, these effects aren’t just experienced through the TV screen. Head to any beach in the world and you’ll find plastic bottles, nets, and bags washed up on the sands. In fact, at least eight million tons of the stuff enters our oceans each year. That’s equivalent to a rubbish truck full of plastic being emptied into the ocean every minute! A very scary thought.
Reducing waste and trying to live as sustainably as possible is something I’m really passionate about. I certainly don’t get it right all the time, and sometimes it seems almost impossible to do, with all the packaging and waste thrown at us in supermarkets and shops, but I think every active decision I make to cut waste does add up to something positive.
So here’s my guide to reducing plastic waste and while I’d have thought protecting our planet and wildlife is incentive enough, these changes can also actually save you money. So it’s a win-win.
“If everyone chooses to make made one change, that’d be seven billion changes worldwide. A pretty good statistic.”
10 ways to use less plastic and save money!
- Bring a reusable coffee cup. Make sure they are BPA free and can easily fit into your bag. For inspiration check out my review of the KeepCup. The only cup that comes in barista standard sizes.
- Opt for glass packaging. Where possible choose food and drinks that come in glass packaging. These containers can be reused to store food, as plant pots and tealight holders!
- Make fakeaways. By making your own takeaway style meals at home you not only save on waste packaging but also a lot of money. At least £20 and over for a family of four. Have a go at making this vegan Chinese noodle dish from Jamie Oliver.
- Buy local. You can reduce the amount of packaging waste by going to your local grocers, bakers and shops. They offer a wider range of loose goods which you can pack into your own bags. Plus it helps supports the local community.
- Opt for refills. Where possible choose to refill your goods rather than buying new. A lot of whole food shops offer refills on things like coffee, cereals, grains, washing detergent and spices. Find your local one here.
- Take your own shopping bag. Leave some shopping bags in the boot of your car or in your handbag, so wherever you go you’ll have some ready.
- Switch to soap. You can usually buy several bars of soap for the price of one shower gel. They come in less packaging and don’t contain microbeads.
- Carry a reusable water bottle. Make sure to choose either BPA free or aluminium bottles. If space is a concern, opt for a foldable bottle or pouch as they are easy to carry around and store in your bag. Cafes and shops are now starting to offer free water refill. Find your participating local store on the Refill app.
- Say no to plastic straws and cutlery. These single-use items get thrown away immediately after you’ve used them and very few are recycled. So when you’re next out for a drink, say no to a plastic straw.
- Make your own cosmetics. Making your own cosmetics is surprisingly easy. They usually just require a few key ingredients, like shea butter, aloe vera and a few essential oils, are entirely natural and are better for your skin. Store them in a spare glass container and enjoy. Buying the ingredients in bulk makes them much cheaper to make. Look out for my ‘guide to making your own cosmetics’ coming soon.
So be fantastic and use less plastic! Even better, share these tips with your friends and family and help everyone put an end to plastic waste.