Simple Steps To Reduce Plastic Use

With the plastic straw and drinks stirrer ban coming into effect in the next year, companies (including fast food mega chain McDonald's) are finally taking action to help reduce their plastic use. We make every effort to recycle and savour every bit of the fruit but when it comes to plastic, we're all guilty of accepting excessive supermarket packaging as 'the norm'. A recent study shows that roughly 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown out in the UK every year,  much of which ends up in oceans - containing 150 million tonnes of plastic waste. 

Whilst we're not perfect - we're currently phasing out single-use plastic for demo's and looking to refresh our packaging to be plastic-free - there are some simple day-to-day hacks that will go a long way to reducing your overall plastic usage. The straw ban is just the start of a very long journey but it's a step in the right direction; the plastic bag charge, cutting our usage by 85%, is testament to how things can change for the better. Whether it's a small daily change or a major brand movement, here's how you can help do your bit...

Get friendly with local, packaging-free shops
Get a refill of your favourite pantry essentials and save on packaging at one of many zero-packaging shops across the country. Alongside being better for the planet, it's a more sustainable way of consuming as it ensures you only buy what you actually need.

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Say NO to straws
One of the easiest ways to cut your plastic use, simply say no. If you can't face your daily spirulina shot without a straw, invest in a reusable glass or bamboo one. 

Ditch the convenience food
You've been working late, it's taken an hour to get home and you pick up a ready meal because you don't fancy cooking. It happens. But bear in mind that 1.3 million plastic trays are dumped in landfill every year because recycling plants don't recognise them in the recycling process. Food for thought indeed... 

Join the plastic-free movement
There are several social enterprises championing the plastic-free movement and it's easy to support them. If you're a business or cafe owner - get in touch with Kids Against Plastic who provide encouraging information on reducing plastic use in the workplace. Love running? Adidas have designed a collection in collaboration with Parley (an enterprise helping to end marine plastic pollution) made from upcycled waste from beaches and coastal communities. It's nearly impossible to remove all the plastic already in the ocean, but by signing up to Surfers Against Sewage's individual action plan, we can all stop putting more in.

Get your fill
Invest in a reusable water bottle (we like S'Well, Chilly's and BKR ) and you'll not only reduce the amount of plastic destined to landfill and the oceans, but you'll save yourself hundreds in the long term too. Unsure where you can get your fill? Find businesses on board with the Refill scheme here.

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One of the most obvious and easy ways to do your bit: recycle. The general rule is that if it's plastic and bottle shaped, it's recyclable. We're getting much better at recycling in the kitchen (most new builds even have colour-coded built-in bins) but the bathroom is often overlooked; always check the label but chances are, your beauty and haircare bottles and products are recyclable.

If you want to try and eliminate beauty plastics entirely, why not make your own natural skincare products? Founder Danielle Copperman has created some all natural recipes in her book Well Being that are not only better for your skin (as they're free from harmful chemicals and fillers) but better for the environment too.

Savvy swap
We've all seen the harrowing images of birds and marine wildlife with stomachs full of plastic. A few savvy swaps will go a long way to helping stop the amount that ends up needlessly killing animals... Ditch your lighter in favour of matches. Shun the plastic bag and invest in a cotton tote or shopper (we LOVE these breakfast themed designs). Treat yourself to a refillable bottle. Freshen up with natural mints instead of chewing gum, which is usually made from synthetic rubber that doesn't biodegrade. And always recycle!

Biodegradable brushes
The average person uses 300 (!!) toothbrushes over the course of their lives, so why not switch to a biodegradable one? 

Wave goodbye to wet wipes
The discovery of a 130 tonne 'fatberg' in London two years ago was a wake up call for the millions of people that had been flushing face wipes d

Glitter has to go
Yes it looks pretty and yes it'll jazz up your party outfit but glitter is a sheep in wolfs clothing. Much like microbreads, glitter is making it's way into our seas and as well as harming animals, can end up in the food chain. it's so small that it's almost impossible to remove from the environment. If you really can't face going without, there are a few brands such as Eco Glitter Fun,  Glitter Revolution and Wild Glitter that are all biodegradable and animal friendly.