Time to Ditch the Disposables
We live in an age of disposables, they’re everywhere! It’s fair to say that for many of us disposable items have become ingrained in our daily habits. They may seem insignificant but using them every week, or even every day, makes a huge impact on our world.
Waste and recycling are some of the most prominent debates surrounding the environment right now. We have seen the threat of plastic waste in the Attenborough series Blue Planet. Stacey Dooley also tackled a number of issues surrounding waste and pollution in her BBC documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets. We are even seeing a growth in the number of Zero Waste and Recycling campaigns splashed across social media platforms.
But what now? Being aware of the destruction is important, but as consumers are we actually making the changes we need to make a difference?
We’ve made a list below of what you can do to limit your waste and ditch the disposables.
Start with your habits at home and do a ‘plastic audit’ of each room, once you know what you’re working against you have the opportunity to seek out alternatives.
Make the kitchen is your first stop. It’s an anti-treasure trove of plastics and disposables which we use every day, without even considering our environmental impact.
- Take a peek inside your dry food cupboard, how much of your rice and pasta products are wrapping in plastic? As well as sauce packets, snacks and nuts. A possible alternative is using refill stations at ‘Zero-Waste’ shops. These allow you to take your own jars and containers and help eliminate the need for unnecessary plastic packaging. Waitrose has started introducing refill stations into their stores, the first of the UK supermarkets to introduce this kind of ‘waste-free’ campaign in-store.
- Clingfilm has a bad rep anyway, so if it’s still in your cupboard then it’s definitely time for a change. If you haven’t heard already, if not used properly there is a risk of chemical migration from the cling film to the food – scary!
Regardless – it’s plastic and non-recyclable or reusable. A lot of folk opt for foil as an alternative which is recyclable but still arguably a throwaway item. You could always invest in some tupperware or eco food wraps like Bee Green Wraps!
Your bathroom is a plastic hoarders haven; you’ll find shower bottles, deodorants, hand wash, shampoo bottles… and that’s without all the plastic and polythene that packages your toilet rolls, soap bars and lots of your other bathroom accessories.
- You can ditch the hoard of bathroom bottles for soap and shampoo bars. There are lots of amazing brands nowadays offering eco alternatives, including highstreet brand Lush. If you are making the swap to soap look for the brands using recycled packaging!
- Don’t forget your toothbrush! It’s something you get plenty of use out of, but after 3-4 months it becomes an addition to the millions of plastic waste ending up in landfill. Now we aren’t saying you have to keep that little toothbrush forever (yuk!), but next time you need a replacement look for a bamboo brush!
- Now one just for the ladies.
It’s perhaps not the most discussed disposable item on the list, but its environmental impact is huge. Tampons are used by over 100 million women worldwide, a product which takes centuries to biodegrade – and that’s not the mention the plastic packaging it comes in.
What are the alternatives?
Sustainable options for products over the past few years have grown massively, from food products, beauty and even cleaning products. Alternatives for women’s hygiene seem pretty scarce in comparison and remain a niche option, but is this just because they don’t have the huge marketing budgets behind them?
They are out there though! Check out the menstrual cups from DivaCup or OrganiCup.
Out and About
- Sit on the streets of any major city in the UK and you’ll see hundreds of passes by with their takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles. For anyone who works in the hustle and bustle of the city it’s the habit of a lifetime, and is that single coffee a day really hurting anyone?
Well yes, it kinda is. Would you believe that 7 million plastic-line disposable coffee cups are thrown away every day in the UK?
And the alternative is so easy! Nowadays you can pick up reusable coffee cups and bottles everywhere you go, and just ask your favourite coffee shop to fill her up.
Check out brands like; KeepCup, Chillies, rCUP,
- What about cutlery? Not the stuff in your kitchen but the ones you pick up with you on-the-go lunch or the plastic foldable spoon tucked into your shop-bought salad bowl. Maybe you can’t help how the shops are packaging their food options but you can be better prepared, and carry around your own reusable set. Bamboo alternatives have flooded the market over the last year or so, with even more popping up on Kickstarter campaigns all the time, so you are spoilt for choice!
Same with straws too – search for the glass, metal or bamboo alternatives and avoid the plastic.
- Tote bags and reusable bags
Having a reusable fabric shopping bag with you is always handy because you never know when you might need to nip to the shops – we’ve all been caught short before I’m sure! There’s hundreds of retailers, selling their own recycled or eco tote bags – we love Lucy & Yak’s simple Recycled Corduroy Tote collection!
According to reports, plastic bag sales have reduced by 86% since we introduced the 5p charge here in England back in 2015.
There’s a lot of ways you can reduce your impact on the climate, maybe you’re already living a greener lifestyle and consuming more considerately. If you have any of your own tips of favourite eco brands let us know in the comments and help others on their journey to sustainability.
Above image is figure 1: Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash