5 Tips for Living with Less Plastic
Every minute around the world a million plastic bottles are bought, according to an investigation conducted by The Guardian. While technically these water bottles are recyclable, research also reveals "fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles."
Recently, the newspaper featured readers ideas for living with less plastic, including your's truly. While the scale of waste from industry, construction, transport, agriculture, etc. is staggering, we can all pitch in to make our own small difference. If everyone began to waste less, the impacts would be great.
So, you're probably clued up on bringing a cloth bag to the grocery shop or a refillable water bottle around, but what are some other ways of minimising waste? Here are 5 tips to get you thinking outside the tote bag.
1. Never refuse to reuse
Glass jars from oils, peanut butter, etc. make great reusable storage containers. Ditto for plastic take away containers, yogurt pots and ice cream tubs. Wash them and start reusing!
2. Just say no
All that plastic packaging on our lovely fruit and veg at the shop is enough to drive me mad. As I pointed out in The Guardian, "the cucumber wrapped in plastic is an abomination of all things holy. I know extending the life of fruit and veg is something to consider, but I’m not buying into those cucumbers. Just eat them quickly.” Shop at farmers markets or subscribe to a vegetable box scheme/CSA to avoid those endless aisles of plastic.
3. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk not only saves money, but saves on packaging. In the US most shops will have entire sections dedicated to bulk buying. Bonus, if you bring your own reusable containers to fill up. The UK, is starting to see more zero waste shops pop up. Until they become more ubiquitous though, try buying in large quantities, as that will save on packaging. In Copenhagen, I look forward to checking out Løs, the first zero waste supermarket that opened last summer!
4. Think beyond plastic
Many products such as soap, sponges, toothbrushes and make-up come in non-plastic alternatives. Bars of soap, natural sponges, bamboo toothbrushes and products packaged in glass can all be used up, composted or recycled.
5. If you want something done, do it yourself
Big shot out to those DIY beauty and cleaning product makers! I myself haven't ventured too much into this field, but there is a whole world of plastic-free alternatives waiting to be used up naturally. My childhood neighbour makes her own cleaning potions using vinegar and essential oils. Don't stop there! Toothpaste, moisturiser, soap, deoderant, the list goes on. Check out Hello Glow for some great tips and tricks to get started.