As keen advocates for reducing plastic waste, we’re constantly thinking of innovative and unique ways to reduce the volume of plastic being used across the country. With individual responsibility being capable of having the biggest impact on reducing plastic waste, this February we’re looking at the small changes we can make in our homes that will make the biggest collective impact in reducing plastic waste.
As our homes have become our sanctuaries and workplaces all in one, we’ve been more inclined to make purchases online and get supplies delivered to our doorsteps. By making one or two easy changes to the way we purchase for delivery, we can reduce the amount of plastic used.
- Search for an alternative supplier
Once you’ve decided on purchasing an item, check out the company you're buying from. Look for if they have environmental credentials like carbon neutral delivery or if they state the way they package their products. Head over to Google and search for your product and see if another supplier is making a conscious effort to make a difference instead.
- Request no plastic packaging
If you’re looking at a specialist purchase or something that no one else has, use the comments box! When you go to checkout you’ll often have the opportunity to make any notes, so ask away for no plastic packaging. Alternatively, you can always email or message customer services.
- Send plastic back!
If it is the case that you’ve ordered an eco-friendly product and it’s come in plastic - it happens - then grab that returns label and send it back to them. 'Thanks for sending me my product, I’m really looking forward to using it, here’s your plastic back!'
Household plastics and the Ocean
Coca-Cola aren’t changing to paper bottles without reason. Fruit juices, squash and fizzy drinks have all at some point had their sugar content and ‘healthiness’ questioned, but their plastic bottles and cartons are doing even more harm to the oceans. This includes plastic caps, straws we might have used to consume them and the plastic bag they were transported in.
Here are some quick switches to reduce this:
- We know what our families like, we know the brand and the taste, but maybe it’s time to try something new. Supermarkets will often have a huge range to choose from but local shops and online shops are much more likely to bring you an eco-friendly glass alternative - and the contents are going to be the highest quality!
- Go Reusable. We’ve all been more likely to take our own drinks when we leave our homes to avoid the unnecessary supermarket dash or convenience shop visit. The market now offers us the largest range of reusable bottles, coffee mugs and reusable straws we could ever want. Invest in a quality item; with the copious colour choices, designs and functions you’ll never want to go back!
- Ditch Food Packaging
‘Plastic food packaging now outpaces cigarette butts as most abundant beach trash’ (National Geographic, 2020)
Single-use plastic is becoming a negative word. It surrounds almost every food product we buy. So what’s the easiest option to reduce this in our homes? If the option to shop in smaller local facilities that have healthier buying options isn’t available, we’re fortunate to be seeing an increase in larger supermarkets offering alternatives. But it doesn’t stop there, ditching the cling-film for beeswax wraps, using recycled aluminium foil and completely biodegradable unbleached parchment paper are all ways we can reduce packaging our foods in plastic.
Keeping things Clean
There’s no greater satisfaction than using something that functions well and is effective whilst being better for the environment than the plastic alternative.
- Ditch Disposable
If a packet states an item is disposable - then it was made to be thrown away. It’s cheaper for manufacturers to use various plastics which in-turn gains them their greatest profit. A disposable product is more likely to be made using materials that are harmful to the environment. Stop using disposable wipes, disposable gloves and drop disposable dusters. If they don’t have a non-disposable counterpart than save yourself the money - it’s likely you already have what you need in your cupboard!
- Lose the Plastic Sponge
Did you know the sponge sitting at your sink might have plastic in it? There are many alternatives to traditional scrubbers - dish brushes with natural fibre bristles and compostable sponges are amongst the many. This is one of the easiest switches to make around the home to reduce our plastic waste.
- Change the Aesthetic
Minimalism has taken the world by storm over the last few years, including ideas from the likes of Marie Kondo showing how clear spaces can bring us joy. When this is broken down, when we have less - we have less to clean! If we incorporate this into our cleaning routines by selecting multi-purpose products we simplify our schedules. Reusable dispensers are a great way to reduce plastic waste but also make our kitchens, bathrooms, utilities and other areas look ace!
Making a conscious decision to have a positive impact on anything directly influences how we feel. If we do something good - we’re going to feel good. So with these suggestions, we can all change little things in and around our home to make a difference in how much plastic waste we produce.