Updated: Nov 2, 2020
OKAY let’s be honest, it is pretty much impossible to avoid plastic. It is everywhere. It's in your phone, your TV, your makeup bag and your lunch. Literally, everywhere. No matter who you are or where you are, your life will be filled with plastic. So, we don't blame you for feeling like you're fighting a losing battle, because so do we! Even though a plastic-free life is virtually unattainable, it is totally worth doing the little things to help reduce your plastic footprint. Here are some tips and tricks (that don't include telling you to carry your own reusable water bottle or coffee cup - although you should definitely do both those things) to help you do just that.
1. So, your kitchen is probably the first place you'd think of when trying to rid your life of plastic. It is not easy; trust us we know!! And yes, supermarkets are slowly starting to use less packaging for things like fruit and veg e.g. Sainsbury’s just stopped using plastic bags to encase their organic bananas. But they're certainly not doing enough. So here are our top tips for making your kitchen more ocean-friendly:
- More and more shops (especially in London and Bristol) are starting to offer ‘plastic-free aisles’ where you can fill up your own container with dry food products such as rice and pasta. Just jump on google and find out if there is one near you!
- Buying in bulk can also be a simple way to reduce waste, try shopping wholesale
- Storing food can be difficult as your first port of call may be clingfilm, but this cannot be recycled and is pretty difficult to reuse over and over (I’ve tried). So instead use aluminium foil or if you want to up your game buy Beeswrap. There are plenty of companies making these and the thing that is so great about them is they last for years and will biodegrade! We also really like Stasher silicone bags, they come in all different sizes so they can be used for pretty much anything!
- Something I hadn't really thought about until recently is baking parchment and cupcake cases. I love to bake but neither of these can be recycled. So instead you can use silicone baking sheets and cupcake cases.
- Cleaning products also come with a lot of plastic and the ideal situation is to make your own cleaner, but if you can't do this try buying brands such as method and ecover! Both of these brands use post-consumer plastic to make their packaging and can be easily recycled kerbside unlike brands such as harpic or detol which can't! They also don't contain as many toxic chemicals so they're better for the planet all round!
- And of course, you can’t forget about replacing plastic straws with metal, paper or bamboo alternatives
2. The bathroom is probably the next place you will want to reduce your plastic waste. Almost all the products you have in your bathroom will come in plastic. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, the list goes on and on. Our favourite plastic-free alternatives are:
- Salt deodorant rocks, homemade coconut oil deodorants (mix coconut oil, shea butter, bicarbonate of soda, arrowroot powder/cornstarch and a combination of your preferred essential oils - my personal favourites are peppermint, eucalyptus and lemon for a zesty and fresh scent) or compostable deodorants are a fantastic option. I know many people are sceptical of natural deodorants but I can completely vouch for them!
- Homemade body butter is almost the exact same recipe just leave out the bicarbonate of soda and arrowroot/cornstarch! This is also a great palm oil free option!
- Shampoo bars are a personal favourite! I have found that they can replace shampoo and conditioner as these natural bars are filled with loads of oils and don't have all the drying toxic chemicals liquid shampoos contain. Soap bars are also a great alternative to liquid body wash. Lush sells some amazing ones but there are many cheaper alternatives that are also palm oil free unlike your standard liquid soaps
- It is extremely hard to eradicate plastic from your makeup routine! Yes, lush make a range of plastic-free make up products (and yes the lipstick is amazing) but as for foundation and concealer I can’t say I’m sold- so if you cannot go without, (we both suffer from acne so we totally get if you can’t) opt for a glass bottle foundation/concealer
- Rosehip oil (comes in a glass jar) is a great alternative for a night time moisturiser
-We love metal safety razors as an alternative for plastic ones, and they are perfect for everyone!
- Period underwear will drastically reduce your plastic footprint, the average person will use around 12,000-16,000 disposable sanitary products in their lifetime. I have been using them for a year and I can honestly say they have changed my life (I will do a full review on the blog soon)
3. Your wardrobe may not be the place you immediately think of when attempting to improve your impact on the planet. However, there is a lot more plastic in your wardrobe than you might expect. Common fabrics in clothing like Lycra, polyester, nylon and viscose are all derived from plastics. The reason this is an issue is that tiny fibres will come out of your clothing in the washing machine and eventually end up in the ocean. Also, in this day and age with fast fashion, tonnes of clothing ends up on landfill. Just have a little look at the clothing you own and just see how much plastic there is. Now, I am no angel when it comes to fast fashion. We all have our weaknesses, and I am now making a conscious effort to stop buying synthetic materials especially brand new. So here are some tips and tricks I have adopted that could help you:
- Buy vintage/used clothing from charity shops/thrift stores/eBay (fashion trends are constantly returning so you can often find current trends in clothing made decades ago)
- Try to buy clothing made from natural fibres such as organic cotton and bamboo
- Washing your clothes in a specially designed bag that catches all the microfibers released by your clothing, is another effective option
Now, we don't expect you to go out and buy everything we've suggested on this list (as we aren't all made of money). However, adopting just a few of these plastic-free alternatives can make a huge difference and start you on your journey to a more Eco-friendly life.