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Plastic Free July: 50+ Quick Ideas To Cut Down on Plastics

Plastic Free July: 50+ Quick Ideas To Cut Down on Plastics

Plastic gets everywhere. For good reason, too. It's a cheaply sourced material that can be easily formed into a whole range of shapes and purposes. But we need to cut down on the amount of disposable plastics we use in our everyday lives. 

We're giving away five copies of How to Go Plastic Free by Caroline Jones. As part of the competition, we're asking you for your best tips to reduce the amount of plastics you use every day. There are some great ones in here!

Plastic Free July 2022: Ideas To Cut Down on Your Plastic Waste

Why Go Plastic Free?

Cutting down on your plastic usage is better for you and the planet. Whether it's microfibres from clothes or those harmful microplastics filling our seas, plastic is more than just unsightly litter on the street. 

Plastic all too commonly ends up in the sea which can choke all kinds of animals. Microscopic pieces of plastic are consumed by fish which severely affects their health. 

So by using less single-use plastic, we can protect our seas. At the same time, we can cut down on the energy needed to produce items like plastic bags, polyester-based clothes and disposable water bottles. 

Without Further Ado Here are 50+ Quick Ideas to Help you to use Less Plastic in 2022!

1. Rosalyn - "I've started taking my bottles to fill up in a shop called Bare + Fair. I have been buying washing detergent and dishwasher tablets from Smol for a long time now. So I don’t have too many bottles to refill!"

2. Ro - "Say no to disposable plastic cutlery."

3 & 4. Audrey - "I take a reusable metal water bottle to work instead of buying plastic bottles. Also keep cloth or hessian shopping bags in my car when going out to avoid using plastic bags."

5 & 6. Lucy - "I buy all natural toiletries in bulk, thus cutting down on plastic and pollutants. I try to buy produce loose and locally and I use a re-usable drinking bottle ♻️💚🌱."

7, 8 & 9. Wendy - "I refuse to buy my children anything that has a plastic toy inside, whether it is magazines, chocolate eggs or children's meal. They're usually one off plastic toys anyway and would soon be discarded. I also use reusable cotton pads for make-up and always ring any takeaways I order online to not provide any cutlery."

10. Kim - "Re use jam jars for all storage."

11. Craig - "Don't use plastic cups. We use a bamboo bottle."

12, 13, 14, 15 & 16. Gill - "Bamboo toothbrushes, reusable nappies, washable wipes, search out second hand wooden toys for children and THINK before you buy when out shopping. There are ways to go plastic free, bamboo toothbrushes and ways to reduce plastic by reusing plastic packaging bags for dog poo bags and using washed out plastic tubs for fridge and freezer containers."

"I recommend The Humble Brush available at Holland and Barrett and other outlets. The Paddock, High Spen sell non-plastic toothbrushes by Evermore and even the head is mostly none plastic material. I bought our first none plastic handled toothbrushes at Home Bargains, Stanley.

"Another tip to reduce your plastic use and save loads - make up your own sandwiches, salad etc and reuse your own box rather than buying plastic wrapped food every time. Empty takeaway boxes seem to last a very long time as do empty spread boxes. They stack well in kitchen cupboards too."

17. Rebecca - "We only use reusable drinks bottles, paper straws and cotton shopping bags"

18. Jo - "I’m now using soap instead of shower gel and shampoo bars rather than in a bottle. I like the gruum one for shampoo it really creates a good lather and doesn’t feel dry. Soap wise gruum orange and grapefruit smells divine!

"I have a couple of sets of reusable cutlery so I don’t need to take disposable ones in cafes etc. I have been carrying a water bottle with me for a long time and use the app to find out refill spots. Also I keep any plastic containers with lids that I do get, i.e. hummus containers, and make sure that these get reused again and again for storage so I don’t have to use clingfilm in my fridge."

19. Claire - "Reuseable water bottles, no plastic straws or plastic carrier bags."

20. Marlene - "I have started using shampoo bars. So no more plastic bottles!"

21. Helen - "I do love to wear synthetic fabrics but know how bad they are in terms of the microplastics they shed and impact of production in the first place - so I don't ever buy new clothes and choose to extend the life of existing garments by buying preloved."

22 & 23. Cornelia - "I buy loose washing powder in a cardboard box, dishwasher cleaner in tablet form which avoids a plastic bottle, large sachets of washing up liquid to decant as needed. I have been making mesh scrubbies for the kitchen from the plastic nets that some fruit & veg comes in - rolled up together they are as good as bought ones."

24. Bianca - "Reusable bags."

25. Paul - "I don't buy items wrapped in plastic".

26. Declan - "My top tip is inspired by a recent trip to the supermarket. A fairly brawny-looking man was carrying a week's worth of shopping in his arms. No plastic bag. Loaf of bread delicately poised on his shoulder. Might require a gym membership though..."

27. Isabelle - "I use a moon cup."

28. Margaret - "Be mindful when shopping. Don't be swayed by unmissable prepacked offers ! Buy loose and fill your reusable shopper.

29. Freya - "I make sure to take my insulated water bottle with me so I don't have to buy bottled water."

30. Natasha - "Don't use balloons, banners or encourage any throw away plastic at kids parties."

31. Emily - "Try to freeze food before it goes off, be inventive and use up leftovers."

32. Rachel - "Stopped using disposable period products over 4 years ago! And always carry a reusable natural cotton tote bag in my backpack for any purchases."

33. Stacey - "I've swapped to getting milk delivered in glass bottles and having the bottles taken back to be cleaned and used again."

34, 35 Danielle -  "Most garden centres will take your empty compost bags, to recycle them. Same with some supermarkets now taking any pet pouches and certain plastic that cannot be recycled at home."

"Use reusable bees wax to cover open food."
36. Savvy Mama - "We get fruit and veg from the farm and they don't use plastic, they provide reusable boxes. The rest of the shopping is done with reusable bags."

37. Nuala - "I get a farm delivery of loose fruit and veg. On the odd occasion I have any plastic, I return it to Tesco, where they recycle most plastic wrappers etc. I also use beeswax wraps for sandwiches and storage of food."

38. Natalie - "Re-use tupperware and containers that food comes in".

39. J - "My 2 reusable water bottles,1 small one for my handbag and 1 large one for the car. Have been using them for years. One was free with Scottish Water and the large one bought brand new in a charity shop for £3, so there's no need to buy expensive bottles "

40. Melanie - "Writing to companies, when you think they are using too much packaging on their product."

41. Karen - "I take my own bottle to festivals to fill up. This has the added benefit that it saves the queues as I can fit way more than 1 drink."

42. Michelle -  "Instead of shrink wrap I use kitchen towels that are no longer useful for dishes. They are great for bread, baking items, vegetables, etc."

43. Janine - "I always choose plastic free options when shopping."

44. Eilean - "Tried various things with varying degrees of success but the biggest difference has been switching to reusable sanitary protection for me and then starting my daughters straight on it so they've never known any different and hopefully less likely to buy the disposable ones from the shops."

45. Roger - "I always reuse my bag for life carrier bag."

46. Amanda - "I've made fabric shopping bags out of old curtains and quilts also use a reuseable bottle for water when out."

47. David - "We grow our own vegetables and fruit along with our neighbours and our sharing spare produce cuts down totally on plastic and waste."

48. Karen - "We try to make green choices for our showers and washing, using shampoo bars instead of shampoo, soap instead of handwash and shower gel, etc. I love Mary Jean's range - like the May Chang tangerine spearmint shampoo bar."

49. Champaklal - "When buying fruit and veg in plastic punnets - ask for them to be put in a paper bag - so that they can RE-USE them AGAIN - or the Government can start a scheme, where customers take back the plastic fruit and veg containers to the shops for re-use - rather than recycle and reproduce."

50, 51. Donna - "I buy my laundry capsules, fabric conditioner, stain gel and dishwasher tablets from Smol and toilet rolls and kitchen roll from Who Gives a Crap. I also fill my bottles at a shop called Something Good (they have lovely oat milk) and buy bamboo toothbrushes. Yorkshire soap is great for shampoo and conditioner soap bars too!"

 

 Bonus Tips

Psst, you've found the bonus tips! 

Bonus Tip #1 Repurpose Plastic Bottles as Funnels

A great of reusing plastic bottles is to cut them into funnels. To do this you can just cut the bottle in half and use the top end of your bottle. This is great for when you need a funnel for a messy task like adding some screenwash to your car. 

Bonus Tip #2 Triple check if you can recycle it, somewhere

It's becoming easier to recycle a greater range of plastics. Lots of soft plastics can be taken to your local supermarket. So it's a good idea to have a container at hand near the kitchen so you can gather them up easily. Always worth checking the label to make sure you can recycle them. 

Bonus Tip #3 Space saving tip for plastic bags and mailing bags

If your house is full to the brim with plastic bags or those mailing bags, you can create a bit more space by folding them up. Then you can tuck them away in a drawer. 

 

Bonus Tip #4 Switch to refillable household cleaning products

We can save on so much plastic just by switching to a refillable washing up liquid, for example. Of course, you can go the whole way and swap out all your other cleaning supplies too. As an added bonus (we love bonuses!) you're more likely to be using a more sensitive, eco-friendly product rather than the nasty stuff in supermarkets! Read more about refills here

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