This year Planet Earth 2 exposed the severe plastic problem currently damaging our planet. It did this to such a degree, that countless more documentary style programmes such as ‘drowning in plastic’ have been created since it aired, highlighting the dire situation in regards to plastic even further. During our travels we saw for ourselves the mark plastic waste is having on our planet’s countrysides, rivers and oceans and now we have decided to do our bit to tackle it. Over the past few months we’ve been changing the way we use plastic in our home and have been finding ways to reduce plastic waste in our house. Here are 10 effective ways to reduce plastic waste.
Invest in some reusable shopping bags
Here in the UK we have a charge for plastic bags, which has encouraged people to invest in shopping bags that last longer than the one trip. There are so many options on the market now from bags for life at supermarket checkouts to shopping bag systems from high street retailers. Ditching the plastic carrier bags makes such a huge difference when it comes to plastic waste and reports have shown a drop in plastic waste ending up on our coastline since the plastic bag tax came into effect in 2015.
Ditch the plastic water bottles
The most effective way for us to cut down on our plastic waste was to skip the packs of water packaged in plastic bottles and instead invested in some stainless steel water bottles. I decided to buy mine from Chilly’s, who not only have some fantastic designs but also created bottles that keep your hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours and your cold drinks cold for up to 24.
Tea, tea, tea.
We get through a monumental amount of tea in Britain and that means we get through a monumental amount of teabags. I recently discovered that most teabags are lined with a type of plastic and so with every cup of tea, I’m contributing to the plastic problem. Although I can’t say goodbye to my morning Yorkshire Tea, I can strike a balance between using teabags and using loose tea with tea strainers. With the amount of tea I drink, even a 50/50 split will make a big difference.
Note: Yorkshire Tea are currently in the testing stage for fully biodegradable teabags.
Stop using Cling Film
We’ve ditched the cling film and have replaced it with Bee’s Wrap, a more eco friendly option that is reusable and biodegradable. Bee’s Wraps last approximately one year and look a lot better than bunched up cling film.
Replace disposable face pads for reusable ones
I get through a fair amount of face pads throughout the week and buy a new pack at least once a fortnight. Over the year it creates a lot of waste and so I’ve ditched the disposables and replaced them with reusable ones. I found some of Etsy, which has an array of different ones to choose from.
Use Shampoo and conditioner bars
This one was a bit of a surprise and to be completely honest, I didn’t think a shampoo and conditioner bar would work all that well. I thought it is best to try them out and come to my own conclusion and I’m so glad that I did. I bought mine from Lush Cosmetics and have found that my hair is actually a lot more manageable and needs washing less often than when I use shampoo from a bottle. The conditioner I bought doesn’t offer quite enough moisture for my hair type, but these things take a bit of trial and error. I’m sure it won’t take too long to find one that is a perfect match.
Switch to natural deodorant
While looking for ways to cut down on our plastic waste, I came across ‘The Natural Deodorant Company’. Instead of buying my usual roll on deodorant from the supermarket, I’ve started ordering natural deodorant online. Instead of being sold in plastic packaging, the natural deodorant company use glass jars with metal lids. I’ve actually found that the natural deodorant works a lot better than the one I used to use. There are both mens and women deodorants available in a range of sizes from small samples to large pots that can last up to two months, so you can give it a try before investing if you want to test it out without making a larger commitment first.
Swap detergent for a laundry ball
With two young children in the house we get through our fair share of laundry and with that, our fair share of laundry detergent. Each pack of laundry detergent comes with a plastic measuring ball, so we ditched the detergent and invested in a laundry ball. We bought our laundry ball for just under £10 and it is predicted to last approximately 1000 washes. We’ve found that for mild to moderate stains it works really well and just add a bit of softener to each wash. For more stubborn stains we still wash the clothes in detergent as the laundry ball doesn’t seem to have the strength to work out those stubborn stains. We’ve found that the laundry ball a great aid in reducing our plastic waste and to cut down plastic waste further, you can even decide to ditch the softener and invest in essential oils to add to your washes instead.
Change to recycled toilet paper
We get through a lot of toilet paper in our house, which means not only are we getting through a lot of it, we are also getting through a lot of plastic packaging as well. Then we came across Who Gives A Crap, who sell bamboo kitchen paper and recycled toilet paper, all of which is packaged in in paper opposed to plastic. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, 50% of the profits are donated to improve sanitation in developing countries. There is a slight issue in regards to emissions as the toilet paper is shipped over from Australia, however they do have a warehouse based in the UK.
Sanitary products are made using a whole heap of plastic, from the backing for sanitary pads to the casing for tampons, sanitary products are a big contributor to the global plastic problem. There are however more eco-friendly alternatives. From reusable sanitary towels (I bought mine from Eco Rainbow Pads) to moon cups, more and more options are filtering onto the market, meaning there doesn’t need to be a whole heap of plastic waste being thrown out each and every month.
Tackling the plastic waste problem
So there you have it, 10 effective ways of reducing plastic waste. You don’t have to go the whole hog and completely revolutionise your lifestyle in relation to plastic, but one small change can make a huge difference. Of course there is still a huge amount of plastic waste clogging up our planet and causing havoc across the globe, so if you want to help tackle the plastic problem take a look at my post about organisations taking the lead when it comes to plastic clean up.