Time is precious so imaging how to live with less single use plastic can be hard.Our advice - don't try to go plastic free in one big leap! You could maybe start by making a list of all the plastic you get through in the day. Then choose your top 10- either based on the amount of something you use, or the ease with which you think you could replace it with something more sustainable or even just by how much it annoys you! Good habits may take time to seep into your daily routine but don't be hard on yourself if things don't go well. Here is a list of simple changes you can make that will save you money, reduce the amount of plastic you use and ultimately reduce the amount of plastic waste that you generate .By REUSING and REDUCING your waste you also be saving energy reducing your CO2 footprint.
Keep a reusuable bag in several places!
I have often had to do a quick shop and found I have forgotten my bag. Carrying several items in your arms can be a bit of a balancing act and WARNING! eggs are likely to get broken!! (as if speaking from experience!:))
So pop a bag in your bag/a bag in the car/ a bag in your coat pocket/leave a bag by the door..like anything it takes a while to get into a good habit but you will certainly reduce your plastic bag usage and even be plastic bag less with practice. Should you end up with a plastic bag, do not discard it, love it,wash it if necessary make it last!
Keep a water bottle in your bag
Remembering to refill and take out your water bottle can also be difficult to start with. Placing a memo by the door helps, you may find leaving it in your bag or by the sink each day ensures you are never without it. By using a stainless steel water bottle you can avoid your water hanging around in a plastic environment all day-although there is limited research into this you may prefer to avoid keeping your food and water in plastic as the jury is still out on if and to what extent chemicals leach from containers and whether this effects our health..
The average number of water bottles used each year in the UK is 170 per person.So at around a pound a time you will be saving money. The good news is that many more cafes, pubs and public spaces will help you with a refill.
Keep a reusuable coffee cup in your bag
7 million coffee cups are thrown away each day in the UK. They have plastic lids and the paper is lined with plastic.The polystyrene coffee cup still lurks in many a cafe.So you can either make your own drink and take it out with you or keep your reusable coffee cup in your bag and ask for your coffee in that. Again you will save money,waste and energy.
Keep a reusable knife and fork/spoon in your bag
If you know that your lunch will be a take away then this is a must. Bamboo utensils are light and easy to keep in your bag.
Keep a reusuable straw in your bag
If you have ever joined in a beach clean you will know that along with water bottles and wrappers, straws make a common appearance on our beaches so by keeping a few stainless steel straws in your bag or in the car ( especially if you have children) you can start to say NO to the not quite as innocent as it looks plastic straw. Often cafes will give you straws when they are not even really needed. So remain alert and ready to ask for NO straws when making your next order.
Avoid cling film
By buying a selection of lidded containers to keep food in you can avoid cling film. You may prefer glass or stainless steel and you may be happy with reusuable plastic containers. I also use a beeswax wrap for cold leftovers such as cheese or as a covering if I have a container with no lid.These wraps can last up to a year with careful use,
If you have a food product that you often buy that is over packed then start to look at alternatives. You could even go through your regular list of shopping and again make a list of easy to buy without plastic and "challenges". As and when you have time try to replace the baddies with a better option. If you are lucky enough to have a good grocer, vegetable delivery service, farmers market or even a wholesaler near to you then it will be easier to get fruit and veg with less or even no plastic. Finally when you are in the shop maybe buying a unforeseen snack just try to develop that voice in your head that guides to towards the least plastic item. Chocolate is more and more wrapped in plastic foil wrappers but I know there are some like Rolos with foil and paper that I can fall back on in an emergency.
Don't delay challenge yourself today! (for all those procrastinators out there!)