Plast-ick! Eco-friendly alternatives that are helping us to refuse single-use.
Plastic, and in particular single-use plastic, is having an increasingly detrimental effect on our environment. Even so, at this very moment of the Anthropocene much of our plastic consumption is still frivolous. As a result we are contributing to an unfortunate legacy for our climate and ecosystem; just by buying the most popular and available products, products that we need!
This #PlasticFreeJuly more of us are starting to realise that the aggregate effect of many people making little changes will help turn this pandemic around. Refusing single-use plastics as often as you can is a great way to challenge yourself to live more sustainably. By deciding to have an environmentally kinder life-style you are becoming part of the solution, rather than the problem. In the process, you'll come across many reusable products from wonderful eco-brands that offer genuinely cost-effective alternatives that you will love to trade your disposable items for.
Here are 7 substitutions we can all make to cut down on plastic this July and beyond:
Have you had the final (plastic) straw? Image: Bunkoza
Plastic straws might well be the token of the plastic-free movement, but their environmental impact is far from novel. They have also been a massively powerful tool in highlighting just how much customer preference can influence big business. Consumer awareness has accumulated to independent, national and international businesses opting for biodegradable alternatives including paper and even pasta straws! You can buy high quality reusable straws from Bunkoza in Bamboo or Stainless Steel.
2. Coffee Cups
Frank Green offer a range of customisable eco friendly reusable coffee cups in various sizes.
Coffee cups are a huge source of plastic pollution with billions thrown away each year, yet less than 0.25% of them are recycled. Don’t be fooled by their cardboard surface, as lurking beneath is usually a plastic lining to help keep your beverage warm. More and more high street cafe's are opting for an environmentally conscious outlook that recognises how disposable cups are harming our oceans and lands. Buying a reusable coffee cup and making the most of your at-home coffee machine or own-cup discounts could save you a small fortune in the long run, so there really is #NoExcuseForSingleUse.
We love Sea Salt's canvas bags. You can get these for £5 each or 2 for £8.
England’s introduction of a plastic bag charge was a resounding success that highlights the importance of proactive legislation to help nudge us towards more sustainable lifestyles; within the first six months the number of plastic bags used plummeted by over 85%. Thankfully, our response has led to a drastic decrease in the amount of plastic bags found in the sea. Recycled or canvas bags can be a great staple to your sustainable lifestyle- helping you to ditch plastic bags completely to carry your weekly shop, packed lunch and reusable items in. There is an ocean of choice that are practical as well as fashionable. Wear your sustainability with pride and convenience, others will catch on!
4. Period Products
On average, a life time of menstruating requires around 11,000 period products per person. Considering it can take centuries for applicators and pads to break down, it’s scary to know that the Marine Conservation Society found 20 sanitary items per 100m of shoreline. Luckily there are all kinds of safe, plastic free and affordable options on offer in many shapes and sizes to suit all needs. Why not try a menstrual cup, ditch applicator tampons, and buy 100% organic?
Grace & Green are excited to launch at the end of Summer, and to call for #NewBeginnings for you, your period and our environment.
5. Food Wrapping
Large Vegetable Box with 14-16 varieties of fresh organic vegetables from Leigh Court.
Food wrapping is one of our biggest plastic waste issue at hand, with a large stake in our growingly troubling excess of unrecyclable and non-biodegradable garbage. Luckily there are many companies you can order fruit, vegetable and dairy boxes online directly to your door- in Bristol we love Leigh Court Farm. For some, growing your own can be a great way to cut down on avoidable plastic, whilst encouraging you to reconnect with nature. Is there a community garden or allotment plot near you? Consumer demand is also spurring on the emergence of many new independent stores across the UK promising minimum or no waste and a truly sustainable shopping experience.
Each purchase from The Humble Co. helps to improve the oral health of children in need through the provision of products and education. They're developed by dentists too!
Too many plastic toothbrushes are building up in landfill and in the stomachs of marine animals. Currently, we throw away 260 million of them each year which take 100s of years to break down- but there are various solutions to this stream of plastic waste. There are several 100% biodegradable, sustainably grown bamboo toothbrushes on the market. For a happily sustainable smile, why not consider buying eco-friendly floss and toothpaste. Or even better, you could make your own mouthwash and toothpaste!
Chilly's Bottles keep your drink cold for 24 hours (or hot for 12), and are available in over 30 styles.
In the UK 700,000 plastic bottles are littered every day. Many of us seem to prefer buying bottled water over using our taps, in fact we are buying double the amount we were 15 years ago. However bottled water is doing no favour to our health nor environment, not to mention our finances. By buying a reusable bottle you are more likely to consume the recommended daily water intake at a much lower cost. Maybe you could experiment with fruit infusions or other chilled alternatives to enjoy a healthier lifestyle inside and out.
Our choices shape our world, and there are many sustainable solutions to some of the problems our environment is facing. These products help simplify switching to eco-friendly alternatives, reducing your contribution to our plastic problem. If you are making positive changes, let us know about them by emailing email@example.com.
For more ways to avoid common and avoidable plastic litter, click here.
Written by William Cuthbert for Grace & Green