Did you know that a whopping 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year and 40% of that is single use? That means 160 million tonnes just goes straight in the bin!
When you hear figures like these, tackling the plastic problem can seem a little daunting but if you start with small changes you will soon be living a much greener life. There are so many awesome independent businesses offering plastic free alternatives nowadays and by making just a few simple swaps to our everyday routines we can make a big difference. Another example of my eco mantra – every little helps!
Lunches, shopping and mail are three of the easiest areas to ditch single use plastics. Here’s how…
The biggest excuse for single use plastics is convenience. There’s no denying it, especially for those who don’t work from home, but with a little preparation and some reusable items you can easily enjoy a convenient (and cheaper) lunch on the go. Head over to Smallkind and invest a good quality reusable coffee cup, water bottle, lunch box, wax wraps and a washable sandwich bag. There’s no need for plastic cutlery either, just keep a set of metal cutlery in your desk or hand bag.
I use Mama Makes wax wraps which are handmade by a lovely lady called Jo here on the west coast of Scotland. I also have a Keep Leaf baggie from Smallkind which is possibly the most useful thing I’ve bought in a long time!
BONUS – you can get 10% off your Smallkind order with the affiliate code NEST
We’re all getting a bit better at reducing the amount of plastic bags we use since the 5p charge was introduced but hands up if you regularly forget to take your reusable bags to the supermarket…yeah, me too! I try to leave them in the boot of the car but more often than not some “helpful” person tidies them away into the house. On these occasions I resist buying more bags and instead head straight to the checkouts where there is usually a pile of cardboard boxes for you to help yourself to.
Greenpeace state that UK supermarkets are responsible for producing 800,000 tonnes of plastic every year but there’s a few ways you can help reduce this. Avoid pre-packaged fruit & veg and choose your own from the loose produce. You can either use a canvas or net bag or put them straight in the trolley as they are. No need for the flimsy bags provided! A few months ago I actually saw a guy pick up two pre-packaged broccolis and then put them in one of the little plastic veg bags… WHY?!
Most supermarkets let you take your own tubs for deli items and buying a freshly baked loaf of bread will save you the unnecessary plastic of a commercial sliced loaf. Just pop it in a canvas bag or a even a carrier bag you’ve brought from home.
This is the one area that irritates me the most when it comes to single use plastics. Whether its bubble wrap in a parcel from your Granny or plastic wrap from a brochure you probably didn’t sign up for, we often have no choice about what comes through our door so it can be frustrating to be left with all the plastic rubbish.
Try to shop responsibly with ethical brands that use recyclable materials and open your mail carefully so you can reuse the packaging where possible. If you need to buy new bits and bobs for your post then be sure to use sustainable packaging* like cardboard mailers and recyclable kraft tape. You can also sign up for online billing and statements to reduce the amount of post coming through your door.
With around 100,000 sea animals being killed by plastic each year there’s no denying the scale of this issue but if we all do our bit we’ll soon see the tide turning. All it needs is just a little preparation and you can easily reduce the amount of single use plastics you use every day.
Any other simple swaps I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments or find me on Instagram!