In December I was lucky enough to be invited by Hubbub to a a workshop all about single use plastic and about a campaign called #LeedsByExample. This brought to light some really interesting, and unpleasant, facts about single use plastic. After this, I have personally tried to make changes, where possible, to stop using single use plastic in 2019.
Many people have seen the harrowing video of a turtle with a plastic straw stuck up it’s nose. This was a change I tried to make pretty much instantly after seeing that, however, this has become SO much easier with many bars and restaurants now using paper straws. I also have a metal straw that I love (thank you Hubbub, from The Jar Tree, Leeds) This makes it easy when I’m at home and have made a smoothie, or I also sometimes take it out and about when I go for drinks etc.!
2. Plastic Bags
It’s a no-brainer really, if you reuse plastic bags, or use canvas/tote bags, rather than get them at a shop you will 1. not be wasting as much money (5p a bag adds up over time!) and 2. be reducing your single use plastic in one of the EASIEST ways possible. I personally have a couple of tote bags or ‘bags for life’ that I carry around, and try to use these where possible. It’s always worth carrying a tote bag in your handbag/pocket in case you unexpectedly pop to a shop you weren’t planning on! This is one of the easiest ways to stop using single use plastic in 2019.
3. Coffee Cups
So many coffee places now are happy to put a coffee in your own personal reusable coffee thermos/cup, and most main stream coffee shops now actually take between 20p and 50p off your drink! Have a look at this article for which coffee shops offer what! Again, saving the planet AND getting a cheaper coffee? What’s better than that!? I personally have a fold-able coffee cup to save space in my bag, meaning I can take it wherever I end up getting a coffee from!
Unless you have an electric one, you can end up buying plastic tooth brushes every couple of months. Even the heads of electric toothbrushes are plastic, so every time you throw away an electric toothbrush head away, or a regular toothbrush, think about what happens to it! You can now easily get bamboo/wooden toothbrushes that are FULLY recyclable – there are many varieties out there and personally I’m loving mine at the moment (again, thank you Hubbub from The Jar Tree, Leeds).
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5. Reusable Face Wipes
This one is a big one for me, I use reusable face wipes which are machine-washable with micellar water to take off my make up. Most mainstream face wipes and wet wipes have plastic in them, and the packaging too, making them not very environmentally friendly! You can get reusable make up wipe from places like Etsy, here. Another super easy way to stop using single use plastic in 2019.
6. Meal Prep
if you can pre-prepare meals for lunches etc. that means you’ll be less likely to buy from a store. Especially when most meal deals or quick lunches from shops use single use plastic as packaging. I make butternut and carrot soup and chicken, lettuce and guacamole wraps for my lunches, and simple take my soup in a flask or wraps in a lunch box. This makes a huge difference and I have realised since I started preparing my lunches how much money it saves me too!
7. Gift Wrap
Gift wrap and wrapping paper is usually coated in plastic to make it shiny. Something we discussed in the Hubbub Leeds By Example workshop was that you can easily create beautiful gift wrap yourself by using newspaper for a shabby chic look, or plain brown paper and a nice colour of string to tie around. I personally prefer this over the over-the-top wrapping paper people usually get too!
Just as with taking bags with you so you don’t need to pay for plastic bags, think about buying loose fruit and vegetables rather than those that come in plastic packing. This also goes for items such as rice and pulses, loose tea etc. as you can go to shops such as The Jar Tree, and fill up any container you have such as mason jars, meaning you wont be buying wasteful packaging. Also, be wary that items like teabags have plastic in, (ew!) so loose leaf tea and a tea strainer might be the way to go!
Toiletries such as shampoo, deodorant and other come in either plastic bottles or plastic packaging meaning that there is single use plastic just going to waste. You can get deodorant in a solid bar form, as well as shampoo and other toiletries. Lush has a good range of packaging free items like deodorant bars, solid toothpaste and solid shampoo and conditioner bars – I will link to their packaging free section here! #
I always realise how much packaging I waste when buying new cosmetics, or throwing old ones away! Lush (a great brand for being eco-friendly) have a great range of packaging free solid foundation (with a great range of shades!), solid highlighters, and solid concealers! These are all great ways of saving single use plastic, but if that isn’t your thing, try and take advantage of schemes like the Mac ‘Back to MAC’ scheme where in return for recycling 6 empties, you get a free lipstick – that is a win-win if you ask me!
10 tips to stop using single use plastic in 2019
The Hubub and Leeds By Example team were so helpful and I hope you enjoyed me passing on the ideas and tips we discussed. Some are simple and easy to do like reusing plastic bags, more a little trickier like using solid deodorant and cosmetics – but I really suggest you give whatever you are happy to a try to stop using single use plastic in 2019. It really is a case of every little helps! Here’s too a more thoughtful and planet friendly 2019!