This list will show you plastic free options that will have the most impact on the environment, which we hope you will pass on to others, so they can make a difference too. Plastic can be extremely harmful to the environment and takes over 450 years to biodegrade in landfill, leaching toxic chemicals into the soil and water. This unfortunately, has massive repercussions for our wildlife, vegetation, soil and air, resulting in climate change.
The first step to living plastic-free is to accept that you need to make a dramatic lifestyle change. Here are some simple ways to help you live without plastic.
1. Carry reusable shopping bags
Large supermarket chains are taking the relevant steps to eliminating their plastic waste, by no longer offering plastic bags as an option at the checkout. Invest in a Bag for Life to take with you every time you shop, as it can be recycled over and over again. If you have a car, keep your grocery bags in it and always remember to bring them in store with you. Alternatively, you can bring a backpack in with you instead. Whichever feels more comfortable for you. Just by making this small change, you will be saving the ocean from plastic waste, that takes centuries to biodegrade and is harmful to wildlife.
2. Give up bottled water
Water and other cold drinks are often sold in plastic bottles and are used only once, and take up to a staggering 1000 years to decompose in landfill. Giving up plastic bottled water and other drinks, can make a serious difference, especially if everyone in the world participated all at once. Try investing in a reusable flask, or stainless steel travel mug which you can take with you, and can be washed and reused, and have a life of up to 3 years on them.
3. Carry your own containers for take-out food and leftovers
Try using your own containers rather than their plastic disposable ones, when getting take-out and use instead, eco lunchboxes, stainless steel containers, especially when you are taking lunch out with you.
4. Carry a travel mug with you when drinking coffee or tea
Say no to plastic straws, lids and paper cups lined with a plastic coating. If you are drinking coffee throughout the day, ask to have your mug refilled or reuse it at the office, instead of using single-use cups.
5. Choose milk in returnable glass bottles
When it comes to recycling your milk, you ideally want to be using glass bottles and not plastic ones. If you are using milk for a coffee machine, keep it stored in a milk jug in the fridge and eliminate using plastic milk bottles altogether.
6. Use recycled bins correctly
It is important that you are using recycled bins in the correct way, by paying attention to the labels on each bin to make sure you are recycling your waste properly. You can recycle paper, metal, cardboard and plastic containers in your blue bin, but plastic takes centuries to biodegrade. In your black bin, you will often be throwing away egg boxes, crisp packets, plastic food wrapping and plastic bags, and anything that can not be recycled.
7. Check labels on personal care products
Some facial scrubs, shower gels and other personal care products contain plastic beads and polyethylene in the ingredients, which is not recyclable. Choose instead natural healthcare products, with naturally sourced ingredients. Any shower gels and shampoos are in plastic bottles, so try to find alternatives in tubs, that can be reused.
8. Request zero plastic packaging when ordering online
When ordering online, choose eco-conscious brands, or request that when delivering your products they use as little plastic packaging as they can and emphasise the importance of eliminating plastic altogether. Or, send back unwanted plastic packaging. There are alternative materials you can use, from recycled newspaper, to paper packing tape or biodegradable cellulose tape.
9. Request to go paperless with your bank
There is an option, when in your online bank account, to go paperless meaning you will receive all your statements online rather than in the post, which will save wasting paper every month that will just be thrown away.
10. Recycle rather than throw away electronic parts
This is relevant, especially for offices that are looking to upgrade their electronic equipment. Rather than taking the printer, or monitor screen to the dump, contact local businesses to see if they are in need of the equipment, or donate to local charities so they will still have their uses. Many electronic parts from computers can be recycled, once they have been taken apart by a professional.