1. Educate yourself and others, lead by example
Much literature is available on why, and how reducing your personal plastic footprint is important. And, if, in addition to reducing your own consumption of plastic, you manage to get your family, friends and co-workers to do the same, the impact of your actions for the good of the planet will increase exponentially.
2. Avoid single use plastics
Items such as plastic; cutlery, straws, plastic carrier bags, food boxes and cling film can all be replaced with reusable alternatives. Reusable cutlery kits now come in all shapes and sizes, metal reusable straws can be bought and used time and time again, as well as cloth shopping bags, and natural cling film alternatives.
3. Carry a water bottle or reusable coffee cup
By taking a reusable water bottle you can refill and avoid generating unnecessary plastic waste, and the same with a reusable coffee cup. You may even receive a discount on your coffee for using a reusable cup!
4. Food shopping
When food shopping, buy dry goods in cardboard boxes where possible, or bulk buy dry goods to reduce the amount of packaging.
Even better, if you have access to a Zero Waste Shop, take old glass jars with you to refill with your favourite dry goods time and time again.
When buying fruit and veg, use a paper bag if available, or take a reusable cotton bag to avoid plastic packaging.
If you drink cow’s milk consider getting your milk delivered in a glass bottle by a local milk delivery service. Many milk rounds now also offer additional services such as selection of fruit juices.
Choose your teabags wisely, unfortunately many brands have plastic in them, look to buy plastic free teabags or switch to loose-leaf tea.
Avoid buying frozen food in plastic packaging where possible or check the plastic resin code to see if the bag is made of recycled content. If you need to buy food in plastic packaging, you can find your nearest recycling point for soft plastics on the Wales Recycles website.
5. Cleaning products
Zero Waste Shops now supply a range of liquid and powered laundry detergent, hand soap and cleaning products, which means you can reuse the container time and time again!
Alternatively, consider making your own which will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple bottles of plastic cleaner or buy dry detergent in cardboard boxes if you don’t have access to Zero Waste Store.
6. Personal care
Swap out plastic bottles of; shampoo, deodorant, body wash with plastic free alternatives, or reuse your bottles with refills from Zero Waste Stores.
Avoid buying cosmetics that contain microplastics.
Buy plastic free toothpaste in the form of tooth tabs if possible and look to buy face and body creams in glass jars which can then be reused.
Another way to save on single use plastic for both is to buy a razor with a replaceable blade. And if you can, make the switch from sanitary towels and tampons to a menstrual cup.
7. Eating out
Bring your own container for take-out or to use in place of your restaurant’s ‘doggy-bag’ since many restaurants use Styrofoam plastic which cannot be recycled.
8. At work
Take a packed lunch in a reusable container or bag and try and buy metal or glass Tupperware rather than plastic. Opt for fruit and veg as a snack to avoid single plastics, or buy lunch served in compostable packaging if you can’t take a packed lunch. Take a reusable water bottle and coffee cup.
Look to buy second hand and check your labels to see what items are make of. Look to buy natural fibres clothing and avoid clothing which contain plastics. Give your old clothes a new lease of life by upcycling them, or take them to a clothes swap, or donate to charity.