Globally each year 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean, and in the UK, 7.7 billion plastic bottles are used every year. It’s a crisis that we’re all casually contributing to. This likely won’t be news to you, maybe reducing your plastic usage is one of those things that you’ve been meaning to do for a while, or maybe you’re already a pro! Either way, to celebrate Plastic Free July we’ve put together some of our favourite tips to get you started, or keep you going on your plastic reduction journey.
Food & Drink
- It’s so easy to reduce the single-use plastic tied to food- start by shopping locally at your greengrocers, butchers and fishmonger. You’re far less likely to see food pre-packed in plastic in these kinds of shops. Check out local refill shops for dry goods and invest in reusable storage solutions for pasta, rice, pulses, etc.
- For anyone with an addiction to sparkling water, a soda stream is a perfect way to reduce plastic bottle usage. As are charcoal water filters if you are concerned about drinking tap water.
- Another easy way to reduce plastic in your kitchen is to switch to beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm. Beeswax wraps are a sustainable, reusable alternative to clingfilm, and are available using traditional beeswax, or a vegan alternative. They’re a bright and joyful way to ditch plastic in the kitchen.
- Harsh cleaning products in plastic bottles can be harmful to the environment on both fronts. In many situations bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar will work just as well! Plastic free bicarbonate of soda can be purchased from Sea No Waste and vinegar can be bought in glass bottles or in bulk to reduce plastic.
- In addition to homemade cleaning products, there are a huge range of brands offering effective cleaning products in tablet or drop form, meaning you can reuse the bottles, and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping water unnecessarily! We like Ocean Saver and
- Washing up can be a sneaky consumer of plastic, refill your washing up liquid at your local refill store and ditch plastic sponges in favour of compostable sponges like cellulose-based Seep.
- While not as quickly consumed as some food packaging, plastic cosmetic packaging still adds up – approx. 520 million shampoo bottles are thrown away every year in the UK. There are a few companies that offer glass shampoo and conditioner bottles now, but refill shops are definitely the most cost-effective option. If you don’t have a refill shop nearby, Faith in Nature offer 5 and 20L refills that can be returned and reused once you’re finished with them. Shampoo bars are another really great cost-effective solution.
- Plants are a quiet consumer of single-use plastics, try to avoid buying plants in plastic pots. The best solution is to ask your friends for cuttings and propagate your own. You’ll find plenty of how-to guides online!
Fashion – a subject close to our hearts!
- Try to avoid seemingly innocent products like vegan leather, these items are often just PVC in disguise.
- In general, always try to buy natural fabrics, synthetic fibres like polyester and acrylic will not biodegrade and they release harmful microplastics into the water during washing. At Wild Clouds we use organic cotton and pure linen, our elastic is fully biodegradable as are our eco-friendly Coroza buttons. Plus, our packaging is completely plastic free!
These kinds of changes can initially feel a little daunting, but the reality is so many of these companies have worked out how to make your life easier by operating subscription services, so you never run out of essentials if you’ve forgotten to buy them at the supermarket and switching to bulk buying essentials mostly saves money even if eco products can initially look a little pricier. We love all the switches we’ve made, and we hope you will too!