There is a growing movement to try and live with as little single use plastic as possible due to the realisation of what a devastating effect it is having on our planet. There are a lot of small changes you can make to massively reduce the amount of plastic waste you, as a person, produce. Some of these changes involve a little bit more upfront cost but due to the amount of use you will get out of these, it often works out cheaper in the long run.
Starting with household products…
- The first obvious change to make is to remember your reusable bags! If possible, bags made from sustainable material are a big help and, at the end of their lifetime, will have a very minimal impact on the planet by decomposing naturally. Look out for materials like Hemp, bamboo, organic cotton. Or buying pre-loved one is a great and cheap option!
- When doing your food shop, stick to loose items in the fruit and veg aisle. More of this is becoming available, and shopping at farmers markets/farm shops tend to have more options. You can also order fruit/veg boxes from local farms through places like Greener Kirkcaldy’s Fife Food for Fife Folk Project or also Pillars of Hercules in Falkland. You can specifically ask to have the items unpackaged or packed in paper (on a side note, you can ask a lot of websites to provide a plastic free delivery and they will try to comply). Buying in bulk where possible helps, we are severely lacking in bulk stores in Fife but you can get some great online stores like The Plastic Free Pantry
When you buy your shopping – try to avoid using the plastic bags in the fruit/veg/bakery aisles. Instead you can get reusable produce bags that will last you time and time again and can be washed if needed. There are lots available now, I have been using these from Earthwise for a while and have never had a problem having them accepted in supermarkets.
- Ditch the clingfilm! Enough cling film is used every year to circle the earth 30 times. This is very hard to recycle so most of the time ends up in landfill or even worse, the sea. It is very difficult for a turtle to distinguish between plastics like this and jellyfish which is one of their main food sources.
Beeswax or soywax wraps are a great alternative to cling film. You can use them to cover bowls in the fridge, wrap sandwiches and all sorts. They can be wiped and used time and time again. You just need to heat it up a bit in your hands and it will stick to itself!
Silicone toppers for bowls is also a great way to reduce on cling film or tin foil. You can buy these online for pretty cheap and can use time and time again. Just stretch over your bowls to keep food fresh. Lots of different varieties available.
- Try and buy as much in glass, tins, paper as possible. Glass is one of the most successfully recycled materials and you can also use it for storage in your own home! I personally store a lot of seeds/dried beans/pasta in jars that i’ve bought in the supermarket and they’ll last forever (assuming you’re not clumsy!). Buy eggs and cereals in paper packaging where possible. Tins are also really well recycled and tend to have long dates and cheap prices.
- Make your own versions of supermarket finds. For example, hummous is easy to make if you have a blender. Lots of different recipes online, you can freeze it too, as one can of chickpeas will make you a pretty big portion. Bread is also cheap to make and will leave your kitchen smelling fantastic.
- REFILLS! This is catching on. Greener Kirkcaldy has done this in their Eco Shop for a while, you can take your empty bottles in and refill with washing up liquid, detergent, all purpose cleaner for cheaper than you would pay for the new bottle. There are other areas in Fife now offering this including Health Food and More on St Clair st in Kirkcaldy (which now offers refills on shampoos as well) and Food for Thought Cafe in Burntisland. If you’re really keen there are also a lot of recipes online for your own home made household cleaners.
I hope some of these ideas are helpful and trust me, your green bin will be 10x lighter once you get started! Good luck and enjoy the plastic freedom.
Stay tuned for more tips on reducing plastic waste including tips for kiddies and cosmetics!|