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3 relatively easy ways to reduce plastic use

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We’re always trying to think of new ways to help reuse household items and clothing but have more recently started to think more seriously and permanently reducing our plastic usage.

We have started with more simple easy day-day ways such as using glass tupperware instead of plastic, not using disposable cutlery and straws in our drinks.

But now after more recent reflection, we’re going to incorporate 3 daily activities to reduce our plastic usage even more each month to really up our game in the fight against plastic! And we’re hoping a few of you will join us too!

This month we’re going to ease in smoothly with 3 relatively easy ways to reduce plastic use.


1. Supermarket shopping

If you shop for groceries the way our society assumes you will, you're definitely going to be heading home with lots of plastic packaging. Supermarkets provide so much packaging on the notion that people don't bring their own bags and need all this extra packaging to transport food home, but this is literally madness! If you can start seeing the weekly shop as a task using the things you already own, as well as taking the time to do it right, then you can seriously reduce the amount of plastic and packaging you bring home (and in the end, actually pay for).

Essential things you should start taking with you on your weekly shop, include: reusable bags, containers, and boxes for carrying absolutely everything. Cotton bags, glass jars even old plastic tupperware. Also finding out which supermarkets and stores will accommodate you bringing your own packaging. 

Some items which can prove difficult with this are grains, cereals, oils, nuts etc. However, so many more stores are now onboard with helping to reduce plastic and in your fresh food sections you may discover more options to bring your own packaging.

Another option is to sign up for a food box to get your vegetables delivered each week. Plastic free packaging and these subscription based options make for an easier shopping experience.    

If you eat dairy, it is becoming easier to source milk in reusable glass jars and cheese directly from the deli counter. Yogurt in glass jars is slightly harder to find, but sometimes there is the option to make your own which is surprisingly easy especially if you have a slow cooker to hand. Check out this recipe from BBC Good Food

Get 'naked' loaves of bread at your local bakery. A pillowcase is the perfect packaging for fresh bread just bare in mind that they need to be transferred to an airtight container at home. Alternatively, you can always bake your own, if you have time.

If you eat meat, this is probably the easiest item to buy plastic-free. Butchers either locally or at the supermarket are accommodating of reusable containers, and it's a much simpler, less messy process that allows you to put meat directly into the freezer or fridge as soon as you get home.

There are still many things that can be hard to buy plastic free from the supermarket at the moment, like condiments, oils, freezer foods and snack foods, but in the overall fight against plastic food packaging. It's best to focus first on the main dietary staples first.


2. Bathroom products

Another huge source of plastic waste really comes from the bathroom. Many products found in bathrooms sometimes contain unsafe chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and respiratory issues. So really you're probably better off without them.

For general washing , unpackaged natural bar soaps are the perfect plastic free option. This eliminates the need for shower gels and liquid soap in plastic dispensers. Olive oil soap is also a great option for removing makeup.

With shampoo alternatives, there are great solid shampoo-conditioner bars available now, Lush Cosmetics have a great range on offer, and all you need to do is store in a metal container in your bathroom. Another alternative if you want to continue using regular shampoo, is to check out Plaine Products, a new company that sells divine-scented shampoo in refillable metal containers. If you are really committed and have the time you could also consider switching to baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

Moisturising options are probably one of the easiest options to keep plastic free and natural. Simply using coconut oil is a great option. We also love the solid massage bars from Lush Cosmetics (they can be a little expensive but come completely without packaging if you buy them in the store). There is also New Zealand-based Ethique who make awesome lotion bars that come wrapped in paper.

An interesting thing is that the fewer products you use on your skin in general - like makeup etc, the less moisturising your skin will actually need.

Dental care, cosmetics, shaving tools, toilet paper packaging, etc. are all other things that can be tackled in an attempt to reduce plastic in the bathroom, but good to make a start with the above items first. 


3. Food on the go

When hanger attacks one's commitment to plastic avoidance has a tendency to fall apart. It's almost impossible to find plastic free packaged food on the go.

There are a few solutions to this problem and mainly this involves being very organised. Packing all the food you'll need before you leave the house each day. Making sure you've got all the snacks and drinks you'll need along the way.

As we all lead very busy lives it can be difficult to remember to pack food in advance, another option is to keep a zero-waste food essentials kit in your bag at all times. This means that, wherever you are, you've always got a container, a reusable straw, a coffee cup, a water bottle, a napkin or whatever else you may need to avoid having to use those nasty plastic options.

Finally, if you're down on your luck, hungry and find yourself without reusable cups or dishes, simply take some time out of your day to sit down and eat in. Order coffee in a ceramic mug and spend 10 minutes of you time at a table in a cafe. Eat your lunch in a restaurant avoiding the plastic takeout containers and disposable cutlery. Ensure to ask for no straw in your drink. This can be a tough shift, especially if you’re used to running around on your lunch break. Although, it can introduce valuable moments of respite in the midst of busy days.

So there you have it, 3 simple categories to make plastic free changes this month. Let us know how you get on in the comments and we’ll give you an update on the challenges we faced too.

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