When I was asked if I wanted to have a stall at the Nancledra Eco-Awareness Fayre I had no idea what to expect but I did know that I wanted to support the local children in their campaign to reduce plastics. My stall showcased a range of household items to help people see how they could reduce their plastic waste with minimal effort and cost.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Product Swaps to Reduce Plastic Waste
One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic waste is through simple product swaps. Here are some of the ones which now feature in my home:
1. Switch your toothbrush to a bamboo one. This article goes into some depth with regard to whether these toothbrushes are fully biodegradable, bristles and all. I have gone for one with charcoal enhanced bamboo bristles and I figure that it is a step in the right direction even if the bristles are not found to be fully biodegradable.
2. Buy cotton buds with a stem made out of cardboard rather then plastic. Plastic cotton bud stems are a regular occurrence on our beaches due to people flushing them down the toilet but with an increasing selection of environmentally friendly alternatives this is something we can all easily change.
3. Reduce the number of beauty products that you use and look for non plastic packaging. As an example I now use coconut oil as a cleanser, conditioner and body moisturiser and reuse the jars for other beauty products. It is also now possible to buy a range of solid bar products such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, perfume and moisturiser from shops like Lush, all nicely packaged in a paper bag.
4. Buy loose leaf tea instead of tea bags. I was amazed when I learnt that most tea bags were sealed with plastic but this is an easy one to resolve. It also gives you an excuse to shop locally and try a huge range of different teas.
5. Switch to biodegradable glitter – when I heard that children’s nurseries were banning glitter because of micro-plastics it was almost a step too far for me. It was therefore with joy in my heart that I discovered that a range of businesses were specialising in biodegradeable glitter. This one by EcoStardust is made from plant cellulose; Eucalyptus Trees would you believe!
6. Stop buying the plastic plug-ins and scented candles wrapped in plastic, switching to natural air fresheners instead. This is a win-win as not only do you cut down on plastic waste but you also avoid the chemicals found in synthetic scents and paraffin candles.
7. Shop Locally – this has to be one of the simplest ways of reducing plastic packaging, whilst supporting your local fruit and veg shops at the same time. Local butchers seem to be open to customers taking in their own containers for meat purchases as well.
8. Buy a reusable coffee cup and water bottle. I would recommend buying good quality ones so that they last for a long time. And yes, that is a plastic sandwich box you see in the picture but if you have plastic containers, make good use of them to save using cling film – just make sure that they are BPA free.
9. Try making your own natural cleaning products using a few simple ingredients and reusing your old cleaning bottles. It has taken me a few months but all of my cleaning products are now natural, reducing my exposure to chemicals and plastic bottle usage.
10. Buy a natural scouring pad for your washing up to avoid plastic fibres going out with the wash water. Made from plant fibres, you can buy them from your local health food store. I have to admit I wasn’t convinced at first but once wet it expands and becomes much softer. I am now a convert.
11. Buy or make your own beeswax wraps as an alternative to cling film. They are great to use and I now have a number which I use for sandwiches, crackers, cake and covering food in the fridge.
Where it is not possible or easy to switch to a plastic free alternative just try your best to buy plastic which can be recycled. We are so dependant on plastic now in our everyday lives that it is no mean feat to go plastic free.