How to reduce your plastic during this Zero Waste Week
Zero Waste Week is an annual event which aims to encourage us all to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Here we look at ways you can cut your plastic consumption.
Our plastic waste can feel so overwhelming you don’t know where to start. Fortunately, by taking small, simple steps you can have a significant impact.
Imagine if we all did one more thing to reduce the amount of plastic we use, it could add up to significant change.
Here’s how to get started. Choose just one to do this Zero Waste Week or use it as inspiration to come up with your own ideas:
Show your bottle
We’re throwing away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year in the UK. However, it’s easy to do your bit by taking a reusable coffee mug when you’re out and about. Some companies will even offer you a discount if you present your own cup to the barista.
It’s the same with bottled water. You’ll save a tonne of money, and lots of plastic if you refill your own water bottle. There are more and more companies offering free tap water refills in cities throughout the country.
Ditch the straw
Many takeaways, shops and cafes automatically assume you want a straw. We can all raise awareness by saying no and encouraging eating establishments to go straw free. If you need to use one, you can purchase reusable ones made from stainless steel.
Grab a spork!
Many meals on the go include disposable plastic cutlery. Consider carrying mini cutlery with you – toddler cutlery is ideal, or a camping spork.
Cleaning the home
Refill stations for cleaning products such as washing up liquid, laundry liquid and fabric conditioner are becoming more commonplace. You’ll save money and reduce the amount of plastic containers you use. Take a look at the Backyard Food based at The Green Backyard which offers a growing refills range.
Make your own
For household cleaning items you can’t refill, consider making your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time oncoming – Glass and mirror cleaner can be made with equal quantities of white vinegar and water.
Health and beauty
Go plastic free
Open your bathroom cabinets and you’ll probably be met with an array of products all wrapped in plastic. When these run out and you need to replace them, search for plastic-free alternatives. Try solid shampoo bars, switch to bar soap, use coconut oil as a skin moisturiser and hair conditioner, and you could even make your own toothpaste and deodorant.
Ditch the wipes
Are you using make up wipes? Why not switch them for something that is reusable? It will save you money and reduce your landfill. Try a flannel, muslin cloth or crochet your own make up wipes.
Keeping hair free
Living with less plastic doesn’t mean embracing your inner cave man / woman. Instead of disposable razors, switch to an old fashioned safety razor. These will last for ages and a blunt blade can be recycled as its metal.
Most toothbrushes are made from plastic. Fortunately more and more plastic-free options are coming into market, including those made of bamboo.
Microbeads are causing devastation to marine life. While microbeads are banned in rinse-off products such as facial scrubs, they are still used in leave on products. Check your labels for Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
You can make your own from old t-shirts or buy reusable bags that will last for years. Remember though, the most ‘zero waste’ purchase is not to make one at all, so if you have old plastic carrier bags at home, just keep using them until they are no longer usable – then recycle them. Most large supermarkets will recycle carrier bags for you.
Fruit and vegetables
Buy loose where you can – most supermarkets sell some of their fruits and vegetables loose. Try our City Market – you can buy just the amount you need which not only saves plastic packaging, but reduces food waste too. Alternatively try a box scheme delivery – most products will come in just a cardboard box which will be collected for reuse.
If you have considerable amounts of packaging from meat and deli items such as cheese, why not take your own reusable containers? Ask the person to put your container on the scales, take off the weight then put your purchases straight into your own container. This will save substantial packaging over the course of a year and you never know who might be in the queue behind you being inspired!