12 Easy Tips on How to Live a Plastic Free Life

Do your shopping with a fabric tote bag

Always have a spare cotton tote bag on you to put your shopping in. By refusing to buy one plastic bag one less bag is produced to replace it. It’s important to remember that our shopping habits direct manufacturers and if we stop buying plastic products, they will have to stop producing them.

Buy washable cotton pads

Up until recently, I had been using single-use cotton pads. Every time I threw another one in the bin I felt guilty. Finally I went on and ordered two sets of reusable cotton pads. You need about 15-20 of those to last you enough until the next wash. It’s so convenient. Don’t think twice about it. They will last you for years and you’ll get your money’s worth.

Don’t buy plastic water bottles

Purchase a reusable water bottle online and have it refilled at home, work or at a free refill station. London is introducing many water bottle refill point. And you can currently find them at London Liverpool Street and London Charing Cross. Alternatively, when eating in a restaurant or cafe, ask the staff to refill your water bottle.

My personal preference is the Chilly’s water bottle. I’ve got a 750 ml bottle in matte black. Both the inside and outside of the bottle is made of stainless steel meaning it will last forever. The water stays really cool even on the hottest day. A lot better than its plastic counterpart.

Get a reusable coffee cup

Having a cup of coffee every morning is nice and refreshing. The disturbing news is 2.5 billion coffee cups in the UK alone end up in the landfill every year. A small reusable coffee cup costs on average around 5 pounds and a bigger one is no more than 10 pounds. There are a lot of makes and designs to choose from. And in many places you can get up to 50p off a takeaway coffee using your own cup. Consider buying a coffee cup that will last a lifetime. I can recommend the Ecoffee Cup brand. Their coffee cups are made from the sturdy natural bamboo fibre so you’ll never need another one again.

Bring your own lunch in a container

The most eco-friendly people are those who bring homemade lunch to work. Most sandwich or salad packaging can’t be recycled due to cross-contamination. This is also the main reason why up to 84% of recyclable waste gets rejected.

It’s understandable that preparing a fresh meal every day is very time-consuming. I value my time so I just take the leftovers from dinner or make a quick omelette or pitta sandwich.

Use biodegradable bin bags

I must confess, this is still on my to-do list. Biodegradable bin bags are relatively expensive and for now are mainly used for food waste. However, if you don’t have a separate food waste bin at home, like myself, let’s start buying biodegradable bin bags for general waste. It decomposes a lot sooner than a normal plastic bag meaning that all the food and other waste trapped inside will start breaking down sooner.

Drink your cocktail like a real man

I’ve noticed that a lot of cafes, restaurants and nightclubs have switched to paper straws. Whilst single-use paper straws are considered more eco-friendly, they still end up in the landfill. “No, thank you” is my response when I am offered a straw with my drink. I also add loudly that I am trying to be eco-friendly.

Avoid buying single-use plastics

Any product that can be used only once is useless. The end use of single-use plastics such as straws, film and plastic bags is landfill or incineration. Both are bad for the environment. I wouldn’t even recommend using recyclable plastics only once if it’s possible to reuse them. When you find a way to transform and reuse by-products, unwanted materials and all potential waste it’s called upcycling. Always opt for upcycling rather than decycling.

Replace your toothbrush with bamboo

Toothbrushes and toothpastes are household essentials. To be more precise, 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes worldwide are used every year with around 300 used in an individual’s lifetime. Sadly they can’t be recycled but there’s a way around it. Many manufacturers offer toothbrushes from sustainably grown Moso bamboo.

Stop buying pads for your period

This is something I am really keen to change. It scares me when I think of how many sanitary products women use that end up in landfill or the ocean. If you feel the same, there are a few things you can try – self-absorbent underwear or a reusable mooncup (a menstrual cup).

Both alternatives sound interesting and I feel ready to test them and review on my site. I’ll let you know if I make it through the whole work day without a single ‘red accident’.

Use natural rubber gloves

I know many people use rubber gloves to do the washing-up or cleaning, however not many opt for the natural and ethically sourced rubber gloves. There are quite a few eco-friendly options to consider. For example, biodegradable rubber gloves will decompose a lot faster than average. Whilst synthetic materials break down, the particles in them never fully decompose.

If you buy cotton or more hard wearing rubber gloves, which are super long-lasting, you won’t need a replacement for years to come. Yet remember to always say ‘no’ to single-use products.

Never eat on a flight

I don’t fly very often although it makes me cringe when I think of how much waste one flight generates. I am sure you can make it through a 4-5 hour flight without eating. Have a fruit snack or make your own sandwich. But please don’t jump on the bandwagon and get all excited about the cabin food. Besides, it’s not even that nice.

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