With a new year brings new opportunities, targets and personal hopes to live a better, more fulfilled life. One thing that has certainly been apparent this year on all forms of media is the change in climate and plastic pollution.
Frightening facts pop up such as; if we keep using plastic at the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050, making it obvious that our casual plastic use is causing far more damage to marine life than it’s worth. Thanks to greater awareness and concern about the environment, however, we have seen some steady changes in relation to plastic use: the plastic bag fee which came into effect in October 2015 for example, and the forecasted ban of plastic straws and cotton buds this year.
New Year is the perfect time to set some new goals and leading a plastic free life is one of the best and easiest methods of self-improvement you could opt for this year. Forget your optimistic gym membership and your harsh diet plan, dropping plastic is an achievable and massively rewarding new year’s resolution that we should all try. Small switches can make big changes and, though you may feel like you can’t personally rid the world of excess plastics, you will certainly be making a difference if you make minor, simple changes to your everyday life.
We’ve outlined our top ten tips on helping you on your to achieving your plastic-free goal in 2020.
Invest in a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
Takeaway coffee cups and lids are a major source of waste material, and plastic bottles take a shocking 450 years to decompose. With this in mind it is more pressing than ever to make the switch to reusable items. KeepCups and Chilly’s Bottles are popular brands that focus on sustainable products and you can choose something that matches your personality too.
Only buy unpackaged fruit and veg
Many supermarkets are now making switch to packaging free products, which is great. If you have the option, choose to load up brown paper bags with fruit and vegetables that require packaging rather than choosing pre-packaged food, and if the item doesn’t need it, leave it loose.
Say no to plastic bags and straws
Luckily, these items are becoming less commonplace in the UK today, however, it can still be difficult to avoid them at times, especially if you order something online and have no control over how the item is packed. When you pick up a takeaway for example, don’t be afraid to say no to the excess plastic bags your food is wrapped in.
Get your hands on a bamboo toothbrush
Plastic toothbrushes take 400 years to decompose, and if you consider how many you go through in a lifetime, the life span of them all is shocking. A bamboo toothbrush, on the other hand, only takes five to ten years, which is not perfect but minimal in comparison.
Find a refill station for your laundry detergent and washing up liquid
Instead of throwing out the plastic bottle when your washing up liquid runs out, hold on to it and get it refilled. Lots of sustainable shops now offer this service, making it easier than ever to opt for refills rather than wasting more plastic.
Switch to soap and shampoo bars rather than bottles
Shampoo and hand soap always seem to come with excess plastic packaging. There is simply no need to coat these items in plastic, as they work perfectly well in bar form. This is another tiny switch that will make little difference to your daily routine but really help the environment.
Shop at ‘zero waste’ shops
Thankfully, zero waste shops are becoming far more common in the UK. The idea of zero waste shops is that they sell produce with absolutely no plastic packaging. Switching up your shopping routine and choosing a zero-waste shop would be a great habit to get into in 2020. You can find a list of zero waste shops and where to find them here.
Switch to beeswax wrap rather than clingfilm
Sustainable food storage is another factor that people often forget to consider. We throw away single use clingfilm without a second thought, because it seems like such a necessity within our lives. Now however, there are plenty of alternatives to use if you want to go plastic free. Beeswrap, for example, is a ‘natural alternative to plastic wrap’ which can be used time and time again.
Up your sustainable storage container game
Along the same theme, consider switching to sustainable storage containers. There are plenty of alternatives to wasteful plastic, such as bamboo, glass, or stainless-steel alternatives – Oxfam do a great range.
Cut down on shopping and spending
This last one is essential, although perhaps not as easy as the other lifestyle changes. Every time you buy something, especially online, it is likely to come swaddled in needless layers of plastic. If you cut down on this spending, you could make a real environmental change.
Article provided by Where The Trade Buys, a commercial print business and provider of square business card printing, with bases in London, Sunderland and Surrey.