6 easy ways to use less plastic

We’re all trying to use less plastic. The evidence of plastic pollution is clear: it’s thought that 90% of seabirds now have plastic in their guts. If nothing changes, the UN predicts that plastic will outweigh fish in our seas by 2050. While recycling can help (don’t make these common recycling mistakes) it’s far better to avoid plastic altogether where possible.

A few simple substitutions can make a huge difference. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to cut back  and make a positive impact on the environment.

Use less plastic with a bamboo toothbrush

An easy way to use less plastic is to use a biodegradable toothbrushes. These are increasingly easy to find in supermarkets and health stores. Liz’s eldest daughter — Lily — favours bamboo toothbrushes. Their handles are made from bamboo and their bristles from Nylon 6. This breaks down faster than lower-grade nylon.

At the end of the toothbrush’s life, pluck out the bristles to throw away and place the bamboo handle in your compost bin. 

Ditch plastic packed wet wipes

Wet wipes contribute to plastic pollution as they contain polyester. This means they don’t decompose like tissue — a huge problem if they’re flushed down the loo. When mixed with discarded cooking oil, they form giant ‘fatbergs’, causing 93% of all sewage blockages. When wet wipes do eventually break down, marine life often consume the plastic remnants.

If you can’t bear to be without them but would like to use less plastic, try The Cheeky Panda’s Biodegradable Bamboo Baby Wipes. They’re kind to skin, fragrance-free and fully compostable. 

Skip single-use water bottles

Single-use bottles are perhaps the biggest scourge of the seas. The UK uses an unimaginable 13 billion plastic bottles every year. Nearly of these are sent landfill, incinerated, or end up as litter. As we’re fortunate enough to live in a part of the world with abundant clean water in our homes and workplaces, the simplest solution is to stop buying bottled water. Use a filter if you prefer a fresher taste.

Klean Kanteen makes amazingly resilient reusable bottles in a whole range of gorgeous colours. We love their Insulated Classic bottle, which keeps water cold for up to 50 hours. We can vouch that it’s also great for hot drinks, so there’s no excuse for adding to the 2.5 billion coffee cups thrown away every year in the UK.

Invest in reusable vegetable bags

Nearly all of us have the bag – the one that’s lurking in the corner of every kitchen, perhaps hung on the back of a door. The bag we fill up with other plastic bags from each shopping trip and then forget to take with us on our next supermarket visit. 

Carrinet Veggio bags are a great substitution for the flimsy single-use plastic veg bags found in supermarkets. The bags are made of a BPA-free polyester mesh, so vegetables can be washed through the bags (they can even be used as laundry bags for your underwear!). Just think, using three single-use veg bags on every weekly shop would mean throwing away over 150 a year!

Enjoy a plastic-free cuppa

Not even a cup of tea is sacred. A study revealed that steeping a tea bag for five minutes at 95°C releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into your cup. That’s more than we ingest from just about anything else.

The rise in nylon mesh luxury teabags is partly to blame, but it’s also worth nothing that many of the tea bags we buy contain polypropylene. This is a sealing plastic that stops tea bags from falling apart.

Make a packed lunch

Making your own packed lunch is another great way to save on the excessive packaging of meal deals and take-away drinks. TheVeganKind sell fully-compostable paper sandwich bags and dishwasher-safe, reusable bamboo straws.

 If you need some lunchtime inspiration, check Liz’s go-to salad in a jar recipe. For a sweet treat, try our delicious almond butter and cacao slices.

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