In the lifestyle we lead today many of the items we come into contact with on a daily basis are designed to be used once and then thrown away, from plastic packaging to cups, bottles and food wrappers. A lot of the waste we produce is made of plastic and with plastic being one of the biggest problems the environment has, it is one that we need to work on to reduce. Today I am going to give you some easy ideas that you can choose in order to reduce the amount of plastic waste that we throw away.
Take re-usable shopping bags with you, or re-use the plastic ones that you already have. With many plastic bags only ever being used once, and for a total of just 12 minutes, it seems obscene to just use once and then throw away.
When buying tinned goods try to avoid purchasing those multi-packs that are wrapped in plastic to keep them together. Instead, buy single cans where possible, or look for cans that are packaged together with cardboard as it is easier to re-cycle.
Choose loose veg and fruit where possible (it can work out cheaper too). Buy (or make) some produce bags to put your fruit and veg in or just place them, loose in your cart.
I always carry around a set of my own cutlery just incase I decide to buy food when I am out and about. This means that I don’t have to use plastic cutlery that comes with many fast food items. I have a small pencil-case that I keep them in and, once used I put them back into the case to be washed at home and returned to my bag.
Think about whether drinks you buy really need a straw. Where possible, refuse the straw and if you really do need one, think about buying a re-usable straw. I have stainless steel straws that are perfect for most cold beverages.
When I am in work, I make my own lunch at home the night before and pack it into a lunchbox that I can re-use time and time again. This helps me, not only to eat more healthy, but to save money too, because I’m then not tempted to buy a pre-packed sandwich meal deal (with crisps and a bottle of pop).
Buy a re-usable travel flask or cup. Most coffee shops will be happy to use your own cup for drinks so long as it is clean and in good condition. Sometimes places will even offer you a discount if you use your own cup. Or, if you have time, why not sit and enjoy your hot drink in the cafe in a proper mug?
Cut down on your use of cling film. Assess what you use cling film for and have a look on-line for other alternatives, for example, if you use cling film to wrap food items, why not give wax wraps a try? Or for heating food in the microwave (or for covering leftovers) these silicone food wraps are brilliant.
Swap plastic dish brushes with wooden ones. I really like the design of this one, not only can you re-cycle the whole thing but, you can re-use the handle and buy replacement heads for it.
Be mindful of what you throw away. Where possible re-cycle. In my area, we are lucky enough to have a re-cycling collection each week that runs alongside our normal refuse collection. I have 3 containers – one for glass, plastic and metal and a bag for cardboard waste that I put on the kerb weekly for collection, however, even if you don’t have this sort of scheme running where you are, you can still re-cycle. Look online for your nearest re-cycling facility and sort your waste, dropping it to the centre weekly.
There are so many other ways to reduce the plastic that we consume daily, these are just a few ideas to help you along the way. What other ways can we reduce plastic? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!