With each of us contributing to plastic pollution every day, follow our simple tips to reduce waste

Words Georgie Rutherford

Simple Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste

It seems that the world is finally realising the disastrous impact that plastic waste is having on our oceans. Oceanic Global has said that each year we throw away enough plastic to circle the earth and that areas of our oceans contain six times more plastic than life. The real question is: what are we going to do about it?

This is where we can help change these statistics. By altering our daily routine in the slightest way, we can have a real impact. Influencer Plastic Preacher (@plasticpreacher) blogs about simple ways to cut down on plastic and says the best advice is to ‘be prepared’.

That’s why we’ve created a list of simple sustainable tips we can all follow to make a difference.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)

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Who needs to pay 5p when you can just bring your own? This is probably the simplest and easiest way to cut down your plastic waste. Make sure you pack a reusable bag every time you leave the house, as you never know when the urge to shop may strike! There are plenty of environmentally friendly bags you can use. String and tote bags are light and easy to carry with you wherever you go.

Shop The Products, Not The Packaging

While it can be difficult to avoid plastic packaging when doing your weekly shop, it’s good to know that London is quickly expanding its waste-free shops. Customers are meant to bring their own containers with them to refill with products like pasta, tea leaves and even shampoo. Alongside dried goods there’s also toiletries like bamboo toothbrushes, paper-wrapped toilet roll and even dog food. Whole Foods, Hoxton Fruit and Veg and As Nature Intended all encourage zero waste shopping.

Stop Buying Bottled Water

Seeing as we are lucky enough to live in a country where our tap water is of the best quality, we have no excuse when it comes to buying bottled water. In the UK we use more than 35 million plastic bottles every year. The simplest way to reduce that number is to carry a reusable bottle like the ones from S’well with you every day. There’s even an refill app that tells you where to refill your bottle for free.

The Last Straw

Bars tend to get overexcited when it comes to adding straws to your favourite cocktail so it’s your job to say no. If you’re really passionate about changing the tide on plastic straws, Greenpeace suggests getting proactive. Don’t shy away from asking the manager at your local pub or Pret to replace their straws with biodegradable paper ones.

Invest In A Spork

When it comes to lunchtime in the office, this is your time to shine. Ok, so we agree it may not be the most fashionable of accessories but it will stop you from taking plastic cutlery from the local salad bar. Take pride in no plastic!

Cut The Cup

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Despite looking like they’re made of cardboard, 99 per cent of disposable coffee cups are not recyclable. Every minute over one million cups end up in landfills. The quick fix? Buy a reusable cup to take with you on your caffeine mission. Not only will you be helping reduce plastic waste but you’ll also be helping your bank account. Coffee chains will reward you if you bring in a reusable cup with Pret and Costa discounting 50p from any hot drink.

Our favourite reusable cups are: Ecoffee Cup, Frank Green Smart Cup, Chilly’s bottles.

The Sticky Problem

Not only is gum bad for bloating and enamel, it’s even worse for the environment. The reality is that the gum we chew is plastic and it’s impossible to recycle. Consider giving it up altogether or switching to mints.

Get A Milkman

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Surprisingly, there are still plenty of milkmen doing the early morning rounds. So instead of lugging your plastic pint back from the supermarket, have a reusable glass bottle delivered straight to your door. This is effortless and will take you one quick phone call.

Clean Up Your Act

Re-thinking everyday cleaning products, such as machine washable dishcloths, is another good way to reduce plastic waste. A silicon dish scrubber makes for a good swap, and since it’s washable and reusable, it’s also cost-effective.

Say No To Takeaways

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Though Deliveroo are looking to reduce plastics in their takeaway packaging, it’s better not to order one altogether. If you can’t afford the time, or added cost, of dining in, you could grab one of the reusable glass or tupperware containers and see if you’re local deli will fill it for you. Planning meals ahead of time will help you resist the urge for an instant meal.

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