It’s getting towards that time of year, again, where we come up with something to make an improvement on the way we live for the following year. I think that the amount of media coverage on the problems with plastic has been so huge that it would be fantastic if people were considering cutting the amount of plastic they use and end up sending to landfill. It’s a nice idea, one that will not only make a difference to your own life, but also to everyone else's on the planet too. It’s difficult to know where to start though, so I have listed some really useful reusable, biodegradable/natural items that you can substitute to help you kick the plastic habit.
Compost all your plant-based food scraps, this compost can then be used to grow more food.. how's that for a circular economy! Rob Greenfield makes composting look cool!
Switching to natural fibre clothing is one of the biggest and most effective changes you can make. When you wash synthetics hundreds of thousands of non-filterable microfibres leach out straight into the ocean. Natural fibres will do the same but these degrade and aren't toxic!
Take a reuasble bottle (or cup) out everyday, it will eventually become a habit!
If you're big on coffee then take a reusable cup out with you. Most coffee shops now give you a discount for using your own! If you forget to take it, ask yourself, do I really need that coffee today or can I live without?
Take a bamboo or stainless steel cutlery set with you to avoid using the plastic ones.
Switch to loose tea and use a strainer instead of tea bags. Plastic is used to seal tea bags and it stops them biodegrading in the compost.
Take a bamboo or stainless steel reusable straw to the cocktail bar... you sometimes get a funny look at first, but it will become the norm! Be quick to tell them behind the bar though, they're quick to put multiple straws in your drink!
Remember to always pick loose vegetables, if the vegetables you want aren't loose on that day, can you pick a different option?
Use a safety razor like the one in the picture below. The stainless steel blades are cheaper to replace and of recyclable! These things can last a lifetime saving around 9,000 going to landfill for each person!
Use the toilet paper with paper packaging.
If you order online, ask for your eBay or Amazon parcels not to be wrapped in plastic. It may not stop them this time, but if lots of people start to request then it will eventually make the sellers think.
Below is a list of some of our favourite online shops where you can buy them. Don’t make the mistake of throwing out the plastic items that you already own though, wait until they break or no longer function before you get rid...
Nth Turtle - www.clingcloths.com
Nth Turtle make cling cloths, a reusable version of cling film. These are fantastic considering cling film is extremely useful for stopping your food going off, but 100% not recyclable. Cling cloths can easily be cleaned and “made with organic cotton cloth, locally sourced beeswax, European pine resin, and organic jojoba oil.” You can buy these in different sizes or multipacks; they even make one loaf-sized for bread - perfect for taking to the bakers!
Buy Me Once - www.buymeonce.com
On this website you’ll find pretty much everything. They say that they only sell good quality products which are made to last; the mission is to change the way people buy and get away from the idea of fast fashion and built-in obsolescence.
Nature Shop - www.natureshop.co.uk
A personal favourite of mine, most of the clothing sold at the Nature Shop is made from natural fibres. After what has emerged in recent times about how every time we wash clothing made from synthetic fibres releases hundreds of thousands of unstoppable microfibers; it’s the perfect time to consider shifting your wardrobe towards natural fibres. The natural fibres that they stock are merino wool, eucalyptus tencel, cotton, bamboo and bambor.
Sin Plastico - www.sinplastico.com
Based in Bilbao, these guys sell loads of inventive alternatives to plastic items which last a lifetime or will biodegrade. For example, stainless steel food containers (for lunches or storage) which will never crack or break like the plastic alternative, or copper scouring pads - these are more hygienic than their plastic (or steel) counterparts and don’t rust either, so they last much longer!
Boobalou - www.boobalou.co.uk
Boobalou have a huge range of products, under the categories: Ecolady, Ecobaby, Ecohome, and Ecoliving. They have tonnes of great products for sale, some for the more avid zero wasters, but loads of useful items for those who are just starting out. This is the place to buy your safety razor! They also have an offers page where there are quite a range of products with up to 20% off.
Who gives a crap - www.whogivesacrap.org
100% recycled toilet paper wrapped in recycled paper. These guys will deliver large quantities to your home without any plastic packaging, and they give 50% of their profits to a charity who build toilets for those in need.
Chilly's water bottles - www.chillysbottles.com
High quality, long lasting drinks bottles. Chilly's bottles keep hot drinks hot for 12 hours, and cold drinks cold for 24 hours. These would work well as a gift for a budding zero waster too!
The Clean Kilo
Of course, if you buy all these reusable items you’ll need a place to buy products plastic free! Unfortunately, we won’t be there to help with your New Year’s resolution from the word go, but we hope to be open as soon as possible. As well as being able to buy all your supermarket products without packaging, we’ll also be able to give you advice and support on your new zero waste journey. But remember ‘zero waste’ is something to aim for, don’t get down trodden if there are situations, where you end up using and disposing of plastic, which are out of your control. People who are able to commit to this way of living have been working on it for years!