Updated: Nov 6, 2018
Keep it Simple
I think most of us are becoming aware that plastic consumption is a huge problem for our environment. Recycling has made a big impact but not quite enough. A law has been passed last month to ban single use plastics in areas of commerce where other alternatives can be used. 'Under the proposed directive, items such as plastic straws, cotton swabs, disposable plastic plates and cutlery would be banned by 2021, and 90% of plastic bottle recycled by 2025.' (The Guardian). However consumers can still do their bit to reduce day to day consumption and display to the larger companies that they too want to see a change in this throw away culture that is affecting our greater environment more than we care to know, particularly the world's oceans.
In June I tried to remove all single use plastic from my live completely. Like a new diet, I went in heavy. I started baking my own bread. I invested in reusable nappies, I stopped my partner from buying crisps and yoghurt! Changed our toiletries and visited in one week five different shops to get everything I needed plastic free. Like really strict diets, this completely new way of life was not sustainable for our busy family. So I have found some compromises that keep things a little less stressful, and might help you too. Here are 5...
I have to drive passed a farm shop to get home, no matter which way I drive. I am lucky, yes. So I buy anything I can in here. Veg is always loose and seasonal and they have a great range of frozen stuff that you would normally grab from the supermarket like pastries, smoothie fruits, and some pre made meals if thats your bag. All farm shops/green grocers are different. Do you pass any at all through your day to day travels. It's also really nice to get to know the staff, support local business and feel a sense of community our busy modern lives often miss. This can be in addition to your big weekly shop and can reduce the crazy unnecessarily wrapped goods like bananas, potatoes, onions, swede and other veg that supermarkets typically wrap in plastic.
Toothbrushes, shampoos, body wash and other soap stuffs. There are some great online portals selling replacements for the toiletries you're used to and they even post them in plastic free packaging. My two favourites are www.plasticfreedom.co.uk and https://www.zerowastepathshop.com/shop . If completely plastic free doesn't work for you here then there are some products I like that use plastic that is definitely recyclable and cruelty free; Natural World Shampoo and Conditioner - smells amazing and comes in litre bottle, so an eco friendly bulk buy and the plastic is easily recycled unlike other brands. Originals Source also have a nice body wash range too. Bamboo toothbrushes to wooden razors - all the small swaps make a big difference if everybody chose to make them :)
do you make full use of your council's recycle initiatives like using food wast bags instead of filling up black bags with stuff that could feed back to the earth instead. Or even start your own compost heap if you have garden space 'Which' offer a free guide on starting up your own vegetable patch even if your outdoor space is limited.
4. Coffee to Go...
Simply buying yourself a reusable coffee cup for your takeaway coffee can make a massive difference - especially if you are a regular takeaway sipper like me. Most big brands sell these cups within the coffee shops for a few pound and many also then offer a small discount on every cup when you bring your own.
5. Make it all your Responsibility
Since becoming more aware of the issues surrounding plastic its like my eyes laser beam in on litter in the outdoor places I visit. We live in a fast paced world where its much easier to cast things off as 'not our problem' but make it yours. If you see litter pick it up. Lead the way. Set the example. This is how change is made.
The Dalai Lama once said 'Think you're too small to make a difference? Try sleeping in a room with a mosquito'.
Happy change making.