The plastic scourge is in the media a lot at the moment, and rightfully so. It’s far too easy to swap the environment for convenience, or to be pulled in by shining new packaging. I admit that I often start with the best of intentions. But even I have had to hold my head in shame on occasion.In short, I need to do better. We could all do better.
So I thought I’d share with you some quick ways that I’m trying cut out as much plastic as I can. Note that I’m not suggesting for a minute that you should get rid of all plastics. While that would be commendable, I’m a realist and like all things sometimes we just need to focus on a few small things we can do TODAY which will make everybody’s TOMORROW better.
Don’t buy bottled water.
You can get so many lovely water bottles that the days of walking around with a bottle of Perrier to show how hip you are should be long gone (showing my age?!). My favourite ones are by Sistema as I find they are comfortable to hold, usually fit well into a bag and come in lots of pretty colours. The seals are also amazing. I’ve never had a leak! I keep one at the office and one for at home and out and about. Don’t be embarrassed ask for a refill of tap water in a coffee shop!
Take your own coffee cup.
Disposable coffee cups are evil. There I said it. The plastic can be recycled but that plasticised lining makes it incredibly hard to recycle the rest of it. It makes me cringe every time I use one because I’ve forgotten to bring a cup with me.
I’ve tried several travel mugs over the years, and as you know a thermos mug is one of my top gifts for new mums to ensure they get a hot drink at least once in the day. If you want to feel a little more like you’re having a coffee franchise experience though, these bamboo e-coffee cups are lovely.
They’ve very light which means slipping one in your changing bag or handbag isn’t a massive pain. They also fit perfectly into the drinks holiday in most cars – perfect for when you’re stopping for a city break or when you have a toddler asleep in the car. If you follow me on instagram you might recall me in a panic when I thought I’d lost the lid off mine.
Use canvas or reusable shopping bags.
I’m pretty proud of myself here. I’ve quite the assortment of reusable bags in my hall cupboard. I love canvas ones for everyday shopping, and sturdier reinforced ones for grocery shops. I find most “bags for life” so annoying in terms of size, but they’re handy for slipping in a pocket as a back-up. Ethical Superstore sell lots of cool recycled bags, but many of the supermarkets have lovely ones too. I’m still using a Tesco Orla Kiely one which is about seven years old I think.
Say no to straws and plastic cutlery
If you have a toddler you may already be carrying around plastic cutlery so this might not be a stretch for you. I love the kids cutlery from IKEA as it’s a decent size and I always have a couple in bag. They’re plastic but robust so you can use them over and over again. Think the type you’d have in a picnic set but in slightly cheerier colours. Same goes for straw – if you’re going to use plastic, ensure they can be used time and time again. Even better, try bamboo ones!
Buy less pre-packaged groceries
I remember back in the halcyon days of my youth when you used to buy your fruit and veg in a paper bag. Now you’re faced with either picking them up loose in the supermarket and adding them to a disposable plastic bag, or buying a bag of pre-packed, perfect veg. The budget minded part of me says buy whichever is cheapest per weight, or per unit. More often than not this is the “loose” fruit and veg, but then what do you do with the plastic bag?
If I’m buying a small number of items or something like a big bunch of bananas, I’ll put them in my basket loose. But what about a dozen carrots? Somehow that doesn’t feel right. Smaller cloth bags come in handy here, but I’d love to hear what others do?
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