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How to use less plastic at home

Each and every piece of plastic that has ever been manufacture still exists on this planet.

Right now, 90% of plastic bottles aren’t recycled.

Plastic sent to landfill releases dangerous chemicals into soil that pollutes water and harms animals, birds and insects.

Furthermore, the average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is 450 years, but can take as long as a millennium.

Worrying, isn’t it?

Watching documentaries about what plastic consumption is doing to our planet might make the situation feel hopeless but if we all commit to some small changes, we really can make things better.

So, with a view to mucking in to make this planet a cleaner and less polluted place, here are our top tips for using less plastic in and around the home.

Plastic bags

Since the charge for plastic carrier bags was introduced in the UK, purchases of them have fallen by 85%. So, a lot of the hard work is already done here, but many of us now need strategies to remember to carry bags with us!

Keep bags by the front door, in a coat pocket, glove compartment, car boot or handbag… wherever they can be easily accessed. If you forget, is it really that inconvenient to carry a few items home if you live nearby, or are close to the car?

Don’t struggle with armfuls of groceries but don’t accept the offer of a carrier bag without considering if you really need one.

Got milk?

Few people get their milk delivered, but you absolutely still can! If you have milk delivered, it’ll arrive in a glass bottle that will then be collected. Most of us drink plenty of milk in our cups of tea and pour it on our morning cornflakes, so you’ll save plenty of plastic! To find out about milk deliveries in your area, click here.

Bulk buy

Buying items in bulk reduces the amount of packaging you’ll ultimately consume when using one particular thing. Hand soap, washing up liquid and laundry detergent can all be bought in large packages.

You’ll also need to go shopping less, which means that you’ll not only do the environment a favour by not driving everywhere, but you’ll also save money by not making repeat trips.

Think about drink

Despite the bottled water companies’ best marketing efforts, we now have research results that show that tap water is actually healthier than bottled water. This is particularly true in the UK where the bottled water industry is far less regulated than tap water.

Brits go through an estimated 8 billion plastic water bottles a year – the cost and environmental impact of this is mind-boggling!

The healthier and more planet-friendly option is to carry your own reusable water bottle. You can refill water bottles at home, work and the gym!

Some of the best water bottles are made from stainless steel or glass as they are easier to clean. However, even reusable plastic bottles will help address the issue of wastefully purchasing new ones all the time.

Get composting

Rather than use lots of plastic bags to dispose of rubbish, consider composting. It is likely that more than half of your rubbish is compostable, and it’s absolutely fantastic if you decide to start growing your own vegetables.

Composting also helps to reduce the pollution that is created from plants decaying. In landfill, plant matter doesn’t decay cleanly. This airless environment in landfill causes rotting veggies to produce methane gas as it decays, and methane is more than twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide. Composting removes this risk.

Refuse disposable straws and cutlery

This is a particularly hot topic in the news right now and for good reason. From bids to be the first plastic straw-free city to local restaurants taking their own small steps, disposable straws and cutlery are only used once before being thrown away, and then they either contribute to more landfill or enter our oceans.

Carry your own cutlery with you and refuse straws when ordering drinks. Some people have really sensitive teeth and can’t forego the straw. If this is you, go for paper straws or reusable stainless steel ones.

Living with less plastic doesn’t require seismic amounts of change to your lifestyle, and using less plastic can be so transformative to our environment.

Reading up on how to make some changes is the first step! All the best with influencing some changes, and well done you on considering our planet!

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