25 Ways to reduce plastics

We’ve all seen the Blue Planet II documentary with Sir David Attenborough filming our beautiful oceans full of horrible plastics. Every minute the equivalent of a truck full of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans – now that’s pretty overwhelming. It’s also overwhelming to think about how we on our own can make any difference at all.

But by making some changes and planning ahead a bit more and dropping the ‘convenience buy it now mind set’ and considering about what plastic you use in your daily life it is possible to make a difference and create new habits and make a difference to future generations (and our beautiful oceans).

The internet is full of negative plastic pollution stories but there are also some good news stories too about people that have made a difference fighting plastic pollution. For example, an incredible clean of the dirtiest beach in Mumbai, India that was led by lawyer and environmentalist Afroz Shah. It’s so clean now that Turtles have taken over and started laying their eggs there.

Single use plastics – plastic bags, water bottles, food wrapping, packaging, are the biggest forms of plastic polluters so reducing use of these will not only ensure less plastic pollution in our seas and oceans but reducing your plastic footprint also helps save your pocket and will give you that warm fuzzy feeling that you are doing good for the environment and setting a great example for your children.

How do you reduce your plastic footprint? 

But before we go chucking out everything made of plastic we actually need to hold fire and remember it’s really important not to just go out and ditch everything that is made of plastic and chuck it in landfill as that’s just pointless. But as something gets to the end of its natural life and breaks then consider replacing it with an environmentally better alternative.

The main cause of plastic pollution is the convenience factor and our lack of time – the ‘buy it now – takeaway – consume it on the go lifestyles’ that we lead. Because we are too busy to plan ahead. But by planning ahead a little more and changing our mindset we can be less reliant on buying things on the go and reduce our consumption of plastic.

We’ve put together our Top 26 ways for reducing plastics in our lives and some useful links too…

  1. Avoid the worst kind of plastic the single use stuff, is a good place to start. The straws (thankfully plastic straws are now pretty much outlawed and cotton buds too!)  Single use plastics like bottles, wipes of all kind, sweetie tubes made of plastic… Try WAKEcup reusable Bamboo Straws
  2. Really take time to notice where there is plastic in your life and what you are using it for. Look and see how much plastic you use in a week or a month keep it all so you can really visualise it.
  3. Don’t ditch it if it’s broken, can it be fixed or glued – change your  mindset if something is broken – can it be fixed? Also using things until the end of their natural life rather than hankering after new.
  4. Don’t over buy plastic toys – look at what they are made of before you buy them.
  5. Try and reduce your reliance on the quick consumables that you might buy on the go from the supermarket or at the filling station – the tubs of brownies, sweets etc.
  6. If you are buying things that have plastic packaging avoid the dark plastic as it cannot be recycled.
  7. Don’t let your picnic become a plastic fest. Plan ahead and make it super environmentally friendly. Planning ahead for a picnic and making things yourself or visiting a bakery that gives you items in a paper bag rather than a plastic tub from the supermarket.
  8. Create a challenge with the children – a reward chart to reduce your plastics month on month.
  9. Reuse those plastic fruit containers to store things or tidy a drawer or fridge – put in pens or crayons.
  10. Some supermarkets now let you take along your own containers for meat and fish rather than buying prepackaged. Or visit your local butcher. Buying more locally from independent stores and zero waste stores will help reduce your plastic consumption.
  11. Plan ahead and fill your water bottles before going out for the day. Encourage children to be responsible for their water bottle and check its full. Tap water costs so much less than bottled! Replace plastic single use bottles with reusable stainless bottles.
  12. Bring your own bags to the shop and reuse any plastic bags you might have. Keep a supply of reusable bags so that you always have some when you are shopping.
  13. Coffee cups are a massive polluter that plastic lid – literally used once and discarded! So, bring your own coffee cups – most coffee shops are now offering discounts on filling cups that are your own.
  14. Encourage local businesses to use vegware compostable cups. If your local coffee shop doesn’t offer them – ask them to consider it. If enough people ask then businesses will make changes.
  15. Wipes of all kind – baby – make up – floor – contain plastics – choose biodegradable ones or try swapping your baby wipes for washable baby wipes and make up wipes for a face cloth and floor wipes for a mop. You’ll also save money too.
  16. Refill your shampoo bottles and ditch the plastic in your shampoo with these gorgeous smelling shampoos from We are Earth London.
  17. Head to local shops that let you buy in bulk in your own containers – try the Source with shops in Battersea and Chiswick.
  18. Go retro use a milkman – ditch the cartons and recycle your bottles.
  19. Love sparkling water? Hate the plastic bottles? Make your own with a water filter and soda stream. More here
  20. Heading to the beach this Summer? – Make sure you do a quick two minute beach clean. 2 minute beach clean encourage people to make a difference and to use their hashtag #2minutebeachclean when you have..
  21. Buying packed lunch boxes for September? Consider a plastic free lunch box. Try Elephant box: a fab company for stainless steel lunch boxes/water bottles/food storage containers. All plastic free!
  22. Soap contains plastic so buy some plastic free All Natural Soap Company handmade plastic free soap and shampoo bars instead of shampoo in bottles.
  23. Heading off on a picnic this Summer – forget the plastic boxes and cling film and consider using  beeswax to wrap sandwiches or stainless steel food containers instead of cling film and foil.
  24. Head to a zero-waste shop where you just take your containers with you – at Hetu in St John’s Hill SW11 their motto is “if we can weigh it you can fill it”. Also try Naked Larder in South London and Refill Larder in Teddington South West London.
  25. Replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one – try Bristle the UK’s zero waste toothbrush subscription service.
  26. Bring your own reusable eco friendly water bottle from Soaper Dupper.

Let us know how you get on and if you have any great ideas we’d love to hear them!