Plastic is used just about everywhere. It is strong, light, cheap and very versatile. However, this material can take thousands of years to biodegrade. Taking up tons of space in landfill sites, and is polluting our natural environment. Which is having an enormous impact on our oceans.
I have implemented some small changes, to try and help reduce plastic. These small changes really don’t take much effort at all.
- Ditch the plastic straws and try to use metal or paper ones. We use plastic straws for a few minutes, and it then takes hundreds of years for them to break down, which results in them ending up in our seas and harming marine life. Michael Gove the environment secretary, recently confirmed a ban on the supply of plastic straws from April 2020, after a consultation revealed “overwhelming” public support for the move.
- Metal straws are a great alternative. My preference to stainless steel straws are ones sold by Amazon, which have a silicone tip, and includes a cleaning brush. I will include the link for them, just click here.
- I will occasionally buy paper straws for special occasions. My favourite ones to buy are from Tesco, which come in vibrant colours, in a box of 80 for £2.00.
2. If you are going to use make up wipes or cleaning wipes choose biodegradable ones, which are kinder to the planet. As most wet wipes that aren’t biodegradable, can take up to 100 years or more for them to disappear from landfill. Every small change can make a big difference. For example, one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year from plastic in our oceans.
- I use Dettol multi surface wipes that kills 99.9% of bacteria, made with 100% biodegradable plant-based fibres. I will buy these in bulk when they are on special offer in Tesco.
- I will also use Simple biodegradable face wipes, which I buy from Superdrug. They work just as well as the non-biodegradable face wipes, as a gentle cleanser and an effective make-up remover.
3. I have a love for Lush products, especially their shower gels and body scrubs. Lush have a recycling innovation, if you return five clean pots to Lush, you can choose in exchange any fresh face mask. Lush will recycle all the pots returned. The staff are always extremely helpful, and can give you advice on the best face mask for your skin type. Also, you can take back and recycle all the tops of any lush bottles.
- I think this is a fantastic idea, recycling plastic while also receiving a free face mask in return.
- The Body Shop has recently introduced a new in store recycling scheme: Return, Recycle, Repeat. You can return any 5 of their empty bottles, tubs, tubes or pots. And in return you can receive a reward worth £5. Which could go towards a new hair mask for yourself. You have to be a Body Club Member, which is really easy to sign up for, and can be done online.
4. Reduce plastic by taking a reusable shopping bag with you. I prefer to take a few cotton canvas totes with me, as they are easy to fold in your handbag. I recently bought one from New Look, which has pink love hearts on it for £2.99. An added bonus they are also machine washable. You can buy these types of bags from various stores, including: Lush, Marks and Spencer’s and ASOS.
- It is imperative that we avoid using plastic bags for several reasons. One of the reasons include that research from the University of Queensland determined that approx. a staggering 52% of the world’s sea turtles have eaten plastic debris – much of it originating in the form of plastic bags. This results in catastrophic health problems for many animals.
5. Take your own coffee cup and reusable bottle with you. I currently use a pink bottle from Tesco, which was a bargain at £2.00. This is dishwasher safe, and the handle on it is very convenient to use. I use this constantly throughout the day, and it helps me drink more water. I have also found several health benefits from using this, such as: having more energy and less headaches. I also recommend investing in a KeepCup. I purchased mine from Amazon, but numerous other stores sell them as well. I am an avid coffee and tea drinker, particularly enjoying herbal teas – so this is ideal to take with me. It is estimated that an overwhelming 2.5bn takeaway coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK, and they are practically impossible to recycle. Many coffee chains are now encouraging you to bring your own cup or tumbler with you, by offering money saving incentives. My go to summer drink is a vanilla iced coffee from Starbucks. And if I bring my own cup, Starbucks will give me a 25p discount on my drink.
I hope you enjoyed some of my tips for reducing plastic in your everyday life. If you would like to find out more information regarding Zero Waste in Scotland, please click here.