15 Easy Swaps For Plastic Free Living
Are you taking part in the Plastic Free July challenge?
Millions of people are joining together this year to fight against plastic waste by choosing to say no to single use plastics this month. It’s undeniable that living life without using single use plastic is tricky, but whether you feel up to the challenge of cutting out plastics entirely or just feel ready to cut back where you can, we can all do our part to reduce plastic consumption.
Billions upon billions of single use plastics are used every year. They are damaging to our oceans, our ecosystems, and are even making their way into the food chain in the form of microplastics. Some studies have even suggested that we eat as much as a credit card's worth of plastic every single week.
With that being said, here are top 15 easy plastic free shops to help you on your way to plastic free living!
1. Ditch Single Use Plastic Bags and Use Reusable Bags
Annually, over 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. That’s more than one million bags every minute. Taking a reusable bag and refusing single use plastic options is quite possibly the simplest way to reduce your plastic consumption. Plus, with so many cute options from brands such as Kind London and Herd, it’s not hard to find a bag for life that puts a smile on your face every time you use it.
2. Avoid Single Use Plastic Bottles and Choose a Reusable One
In the UK we are using 38.5 million plastic bottles every single day and are struggling to recycle even half of them. By choosing to use a reusable water bottle instead, you can do your part to reduce the demand for single use plastic bottles. Our favourite reusable bottles are the ones from S’wheat – you should definitely check them out! Not only do S’wheat bottles help you cut back on the single use plastics, but they are also made from sustainably sourced materials, are carbon neutral, and plant a tree for every order.
3. Say No to Plastic Straws
Avoiding plastic straws can be difficult, especially when eating out during the summer months when you are enjoying the occasional (or frequent!) Aperol Spritz out on a patio. Make your icy drinks guilt free by thinking ahead, bringing a reusable straw, and opting out of using single-use plastic ones.
4. Try Shampoo Bars (They Are Life Changing!!)
The bathroom is definitely one of the most plastic-heavy rooms in the average household. However, it doesn’t have to be! Easy plastic free swaps like substituting shampoo bottles for shampoo bars can help you cut back your bathroom plastic to zero.
A huge proportion of the plastic bottles thrown out each year in the UK are shampoo bottles, so opting for a plastic-free shampoo bar can easily help you reduce your personal plastic consumption. Plus, they are super easy to find and make your hair feel fab.
5. Use Glass Tupperware Instead of Plastic
Next time you are restocking your tupperware, look at glass options over plastic. Although it may be heavier, glass is fully recyclable so it is much better for the environment. Glass tupperware is also likely to last you a lot longer as it doesn’t absorb or get stained during food storage. Plus, glass tupperwares can often be more versatile – you can pop them straight in the oven for cooking.
6. Buy a Biodegradable Phone Case
Have you ever thought about how many single use plastic phone cases must go to waste each year? According to Reboxed, 1.5 billion plastic phone cases go to waste each year. It’s an absolutely mind blowing amount of plastic! Choosing a compostable phone case instead of plastic is a great way to ensure your phone case won’t be sitting in landfill for hundreds of years to come.
7. Shop from Brands That Use Plastic Free Packaging
There is nothing more disheartening than buying a new product and finding it wrapped in single use plastic packaging when it comes to getting it out of the box. Before you buy something, do your due diligence and try to find brands that actively avoid using single use plastics in their packaging. At Pantee, we package our sets in recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes lined with biodegradable tissue paper. There isn’t a piece of plastic in sight!
8. Don’t Forget Your Reusable Coffee Cups
Another super simple one! Take a reusable cup with you so you can say no to single use coffee cups that end up in the bin after you finish your much needed morning coffee. Some of our favourite options include Stojo, KeepCup or if you are an iced coffee kind of girl, the Ice Queen by Partner in Wine.
9. Buy Plastic Free Foods & Produce
The amount of plastic sitting on the shelves of supermarkets can be overwhelming. It can be extremely hard to find everything you need and avoid plastics, especially when we lead such busy lives. If you do have the time or the resources to do so, shopping at small & independent bring-your-own-packaging stores can be a fun way to mix up your weekly shopping and avoid plastic packaging in the process. Local market stalls can also be a good option, with the added bonus of supporting small local businesses.
10. Find Comfort in Biodegradable Shoes
Most shoes have a plastic based sole and it can be hard to find options that are better for the planet. The good news is that the number of brands that sell biodegradable shoes is on the rise! Allbirds are a great example – their soles are made from sugarcane and their insoles are made from castor bean oil, making them biodegradable.
11. Choose Loose Leaf Tea Over Tea Bags
One of the most surprising places to find plastics is in your tea bags! It’s very common for people to think that tea bags are compostable, but sadly the tea bag often includes plastic. As an alternative, choosing loose leaf tea and making your brew with a tea strainer can be a great way to avoid plastic lined tea bags. Plus, it’ll make your cuppa feel like an extra special treat.
12. Brush Your Teeth with a Bamboo Toothbrush
Another way to remove some of the excess plastics in your bathroom is to switch to a bamboo toothbrush. There are a number of benefits to using a bamboo toothbrush – bamboo is strong, biodegradable, and has very little negative impact on the planet.
13. Silky Smooth Shave with a Sustainable Razor
Razors are another huge form of plastic waste, but thankfully eco-friendly options are becoming more and more accessible as new brands carve their way into the market. Sustainable, reusable razors can be used time and time again, with easy switchable blades for a smooth shave every time. Here are some great sustainable razor options as recommended by Be Eco.
14. Refillable Cleaning Products
Refillable cleaning products mean you don’t have to compromise between a clean planet and a clean home. A number of brands are saying no to single use plastic bottles and are instead providing consumers with simple refillable cleaning products that are much better for the planet. If you’d like to try refillable cleaning products, here are 12 eco-friendly options that are recommended by our friends at Pebble Magazine.
15. Plastic Free Period With Sustainable Eco-Products
Most period plastic products contain plastics, especially pads which are sometimes up to 90% plastic. More and more people are switching to more sustainable options such as period pants, reusable pads or menstrual cups. Although they may be a more expensive cost up front, in the long run it’ll save you a small fortune.
How many of these easy plastic free swaps have you tried?
It’s undeniable that going completely plastic free is a difficult task, but when we all try to make small changes every day the combined impact is huge! Although it may sometimes seem like just one straw or one plastic bag, it quickly adds up to millions when everyone shares that same mindset.
We hope these easy plastic free swaps will give you some new ideas for how you can minimize the single-use plastic use in your day to day life. If you have any other ideas, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below to let us know how you cut down your plastic footprint.