Less plastic, more joy
If you watched the fabulous Blue Planet last year, you'll have been left in no doubt that plastic is a huge problem for our planet. It’s not just the ocean that’s affected; every piece of plastic waste has to be disposed of somehow, so if recycling isn’t an option, it’s landfill or being dumped in the sea.
Supermarkets are not the only culprit, but they do offer many examples of the unnecessary use of plastics. Packaging items that come with a natural, God-given covering highlights an over-reliance on plastic – bananas, avocados, oranges, even coconuts can all come wrapped in layers of film. With at least one major supermarket aiming to go plastic free, there are obviously alternatives available.
If you love to recycle or just want to cut down on your plastic footprint, there are ways you can save the planet that don’t cost the earth:
- Rather than using individually wrapped washing machine tablets, go for a big cardboard box of laundry powder. The cardboard is easy to recycle and buying in bulk will save you money.
- When you think that bottle in the shower is empty, it’s not, there are still a few washes left inside. Just cut off the top with sharp scissors and make sure not a drop goes to waste. Even better, try a shampoo bar, available with minimal packaging and just as effective.
- Buying in bulk can be a big cost up front before you get the longer term savings. If you have like-minded friends or family, you could club money together, bulk buy, then share out the purchase – this gets round the problem of storing bulk buys too.
- Paying 5p for plastic shopping bags has become a part of everyone’s life by now but what about when you leave your ‘bags for life’ at home? All it takes is a bit of organisation – leave one in the car, get one that folds up to keep in your coat pocket or handbag, then you’ll never be caught short again.
- We have an over-reliance on disposable, one-use products. If we go back just a few years, products that fulfilled the same function but can be washed and reused are still available. This covers, nappies, face wipes, razors and sanitary products.
- Think about all the straws and plastic cups you’ve used since you were a kid. Maybe it’s progressed into disposable coffee cups with a plastic lid. There’s a quick fix for this: use a water bottle from home, a hot cup or a thermos flask. Increasingly, outlets will provide your drink of choice in your own cup or you can be really thifty and make your drink-to-go at home before you leave.
- While we're thinking about food-to-go, how about reusable sandwich bags? Instead of clingfilm or a fresh plastic bag everyday get a cute cotton bag with a wipe clean liner.
It may be because you love creation; it may be because you hate waste. There are many ways that your small changes can make a big difference and help protect our environment for the years to come.