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A Life Less Plastic – tips to reduce plastic use

19th February 2018

This article is reposted from the blog of artist Now Then, Sunshine, who is challenging herself and her family to a plastic-free Lent: A Life Less Plastic. Below are some top tips about how to reduce plastic. This is a topic close to us here at ecoVeritas. We are following news about government policy, supermarket pledges and public opinion closely to see how our future might contain significantly less single-use plastic.


A Life Less Plastic

The world is full of things. Many of them plastic. And far too many of them bobbing around in the sea. We’ve all seen Blue Planet and know that we need to do something, but it’s all got so huge that it’s hard to know where to start. So today’s post is a list of tips – some easy, some a bit more of a faff, but all designed to ease our plastic consumption…

  • First: the usual suspects that we’ve all read about: get a proper reuseable water bottle, take your own cup for coffee shop takeaways, take a load of your own bags to the supermarket, refuse straws, plastic cutlery and all that jazz. But it’s likely that you’re already doing some or all of those, so…

  • Try and avoid buying fruit or vegetables in plastic. I pile my trolley high with individual fruit and veg – and yes it raises eyebrows at the checkout, but if enough people start doing it… etc. For stuff like tomatoes, I usually go and get one of the paper bags they have by the mushrooms and use those instead. If you shop at a greengrocer, the usually have paper bags too.

  • Take one of the plastic takeaway boxes that you have piled high in your cupboard to the cheese and meat counter (or butcher) and ask for products to be put in that, rather than a plastic bag.

  • If you DO buy coffee in a disposable coffee cup, you can take it to Costa Coffee, who will recycle it for you – and it doesn’t matter where you’ve bought it either. (Nice work, Costa!)

  • Shop in bulk – a BIG bag of pasta or rice uses less plastic than several little ones.

  • Choose cardboard over plastic packaging if you can. You can get rice and porridge in cardboard boxes, although I’ve not found a pasta alternative (let me know if you do). And say no to black plastic containers – apparently they’re the devil incarnate.

  • Ketchup and mayonnaise can be bought in glass bottles instead of plastic ones.

  • The bags that sliced bread comes in is rarely recyclable, so bake your own! My favourite recipe is here and it’s totally yummy.

  • Get your milk delivered in glass bottles if you can find a milkman nearby.

  • Use soap and soap shampoo bars instead of shower gel and bottled shampoo. Lush do a good range and the internet is full of great eco brands.

  •  (A weird one, but bear with me…) Don’t buy postage stamps in stamp books (e.g. of 6, 12, etc). Stamp books have a waxy cover on them so that the sticky stamps can be easily removed and this makes the paper difficult to be recycled. (Same goes for the sheets sticky labels come attached to.) Instead, I buy individual stamps at the post office, which also means you can ask for picture ones, which is infinitely cooler. They’re currently running a Game of Thrones edition and they’re ace.

  • Life with a four- and two-year-old is not a clean experience. But instead of chucking everyone’s clothes in the wash automatically after just one wear, I’ve started looking properly to see if stuff does need washing or if it’ll do another day. Fewer clothes to wash means less detergent and fewer microbeads going down yer drain. I’m also going to trial a laundry egg, but I’ve not bought one yet. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Source: Now Then, Sunshine