8 Ways You Can Cut Single Plastic Use

The hot topic on the lips of the world now is ways to reach net zero and reducing single plastic use – and rightly so. Who can fail to be moved by the images of our oceans suffocated by plastic waste? We can all do our bit, no matter how great or small, to reduce our use of single use plastics. In this article we list 8 everyday items that we can substitute plastic items for environmentally friendly alternatives.

Reusable shopping bag, plastic free, eco living and Zero waste concept

Food Packaging

Thankfully, many supermarkets are moving towards removing the plastic bags that were frequently used for bagging loose fruit and vegetables and are encouraging us to bring our own bags and containers to transport our produce in. Lakeland do a great range of net fruit and vegetable bags that can be used again and again. To increase the benefits to the planet, try shopping at a zero-packaging store!

Re-useable Shopping Bags

The plastic bag charge was introduced in England in October 2015 in response to need to cut the use of single-use plastic bags. Since then, a massive 85% reduction has been seen in their use. Re-useable shopping bags have become the norm in the UK, with many stylish foldable, packable options available. We know it’s difficult to remember to take them – why not pop one in your bag you use each day, in the glovebox of the car or hung by the front door, ready to go. We love these nature inspired offerings from Sophie Allport.

Cutlery

Although the frequently offered option for eating food on the go is plastic cutlery, there is a gradual shift to only providing implements if asked or bamboo alternatives. Carrying your own set, in a handy carry case to keep them clean and hygienic, is a great way to eat on the go and do your bit. Try these stylish cutlery sets from Etsy

Re-useable Bottles

Zero Waste Home is a great website to visit to find where you can go to refill your old bottles with day-to-day products, such as laundry detergent and washing up liquid. Tesco launched a re-useable packaging system in September 2021 to help us to reduce the amount of waste from our everyday supermarket purchases.

Cling Film

Although seen as a good way to keep food fresh, as a disposable plastic item, it’s not good for the environment. There are great alternatives to the use of clingfilm however – re-useable bags and food covers or stretchy lids. Wax Wrap UK offer some great cotton food bags – great for keeping food fresh and free from flies on a picnic.

Coffee Cups

We all need a little coffee to kick start us in the morning on the morning commute, but single use coffee cups have plastic film on the inside so the ability to recycle these is removed. A re-useable coffee cup is a very stylish and environmentally friendly alternative. The Independent gives a roundup of some of the best.

Soap Nuts

The plastic packaging that comes with the various bottles of laundry detergent and fabric softener can really mount up, especially of you are doing a lot of laundry each week, not to mention how heavy they can be to lift around! Soap nuts (we know they sound a little odd but bear with us!) are little, dried-fruit shells which contain a 100% natural soap. They can be used at all temperatures (30 is best for the environment) and on all fabrics. You don’t need anything special to use them – just stick them in a sock, tie it round and pop them in with the wash. Try SoapNuts.co.uk for some great ways to get started.

Toothbrush

For good oral hygiene we should change our toothbrush every three months, but that adds up to a lot of plastic waste! A great alternative is a bamboo toothbrush. The bristles can be made from a range of materials – including nylon, boar hair and plant-derived materials such as corn and tapioca. It can be put in the compost bin after use or re-purposed into a plant marker for the garden. Get started with these from Holland and Barrett they also have a range of recyclable electric toothbrush heads!

Bit by bit, every small change we make has a huge impact on our environment. Which small change will you make?