A little swap can make a big difference to reduce plastic pollution.

It’s Plastic Free July – a global movement designed to get people thinking about the amount of single-use plastic they use, and to encourage them to make greener, more sustainable choices to help end the plastic pollution that’s choking the planet.

Most of us are familiar with the growing plastics problem. Earth’s valuable resources are being hoovered up to create a material that will hang around for hundreds of years, clogging up landfill, endangering wildlife and posing an increasing risk to human health. The amount of plastic that already exists on the planet is staggering, so we need to massively reduce the demand for more. And as plastics are made from fossil fuels they also contribute to global warming – another key reason to tackle the problem.

It’s completely doable, as long as we all make small changes to our usual routines. There are so many plastic alternatives available now, cutting down on the amount of single-use plastic we use isn’t the challenge or sacrifice it once was. Here’s a bumper list of easy plastic swap suggestions – commit to just one or two and you’ll be playing your part in the global fight against plastic pollution.

Reducing plastic in the kitchen

  1. Ditch cling film for beeswax food wraps – here are eight more tips for a greener kitchen.
  2. Choose a plastic-free teabag – PG Tips is leading the charge on this.
  3. Buy reusable straws – there are plenty of metal, bamboo and silicone options on offer.
  4. Make your own cleaning products from pantry ingredients instead of buying harsh chemicals in plastic bottles.
  5. Purchase a Guppyfriend laundry bag – this stops microfibers leaching out of your washing machine and into waterways.

Reducing plastic in personal care

  1. Choose toilet rolls that don’t come wrapped in plastic – here’s our guide to eco-friendly loo roll.
  2. Choose cotton buds with paper sticks.
  3. Buy reusable cotton pads to ditch the plastic packaging.
  4. If you must use wet wipes, go for genuinely biodegradable options.
  5. Try a shampoo bar instead of bottled shampoo – here are more tips on greening your beauty routine
  6. Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush.
  7. Switch to reusable period products – here’s everything you need to know.
  8. Swap disposable nappies for reusable alternatives – just swapping a couple of nappies a day will make a difference.

Reducing plastic while out and about

  1. Buy a reusable water bottle – learn how they’re making a real difference here.
  2. Buy a reusable coffee cup – most coffee shops and cafes will happily prepare your order in your own cup.

Making sustainable shopping choices that reduce plastic use

  1. Wrap presents in brown paper or recyclable paper instead of the typical plastic-coated stuff
  2. Look for refill packs for things like hand soap, washing up liquid and fabric softener – these use less plastic than the standard product packaging.
  3. Keep a few bags for life in the boot of your car or tucked into your handbag so you always have one to hand.
  4. Discover shops near you that sell refillable products – learn more about the Refill Revolution here.
  5. Vote with your wallet – choose supermarkets that have made a commitment to plastic reduction.

The bottom line

Plastic has been the default material for almost everything for so long that it’s easy to underestimate how much we use on a daily basis. Granted, there are some things that we can’t replace just yet, but with so many alternatives to common plastic items available, making a couple of simple switches could really make a big dent in the amount you get through – and with barely any effort required at all.

We would love to hear your comments and stories about the issues raised in this article:

  

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