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How to Reduce Plastic in Your Home

by Rona Hollows |

Most us try to do our bit for the planet by recycling bottles and containers and avoiding buying items with excess packaging, but we thought we would help you highlight other plastic in your home you were maybe not even aware of and give you alternative solutions.

Kitchen & Laundry: 

Teabags– This will come as a shock to most people, but your daily teabags contain a thin layer of polypropylene plastic which ends up in our soil and then goes into our rivers and the sea. To avoid this switch to using loose tea like your Grandma with a tea infuser.

Coffee Cups- If you end up drinking your hot drink on the go on the way to work, although you may think coffee cups are recyclable most of them are not due to a thin layer of film inside. Help cut the number of cups going into the environment by buying a reusable coffee mug or flask.

Straws– It has been great to see bars and restaurants starting to act on straws and either removing them or offering paper alternatives but we all need to do our bit by refusing to buy or use them in and out of the home.

Fruit and Vegetables – In supermarkets often our produce is either in a plastic bag or wrapped in a thin film of plastic and sometimes even includes a polystyrene tray. To avoid this, try and buy from your local market or look at one of the many veg-box schemes out there delivered straight to your home.

Milk bottles– it may seem very old school now but ordering milk from your local milkman not only reduces the use of plastic bottles but supports the local community milkman and they also offer many other daily food items.

Laundry Liquid – You may already use an eco-laundry detergent and wash at a low temperature to help the environment but what happens to your plastic laundry bottle? Many supermarkets offer refillable packets of detergent you can just tip into your existing bottle to avoid buying more bottles and it also works out more cost-effective. Alternatively, have you considered trying soap-nuts which are little, dried-fruit shells that contain a 100% natural soap? You pop a few in a sock, tie it up and throw it in the machine with your clothes.

Bathroom:

Shower Gels/Shampoo and conditioner –  much as we love our daily bathroom essentials that is a huge number of bottles being thrown away especially if you have a large family. To avoid this switch to using bath soaps, bath bombs and buy shampoo and conditioner bars.  A recent study also discovered that liquid soap takes 5 times more energy to produce and can use 20 times more packaging therefore, making it heavier and less efficient to transport.

Biodegradable cotton buds – many people flush cotton buds down the toilet thinking they are the same as toilet paper; but as they are largely made of plastic they can be deadly to the marine life that swallow them. The government has acted and announced plans to ban them, but you can help right now by switching to organic cotton buds with 100% biodegradable card sticks.

Toilet Paper– whilst some manufacturers are now offering recycled toilet paper, many still wrap them in single-use plastic packaging therefore, defeating the object of being recyclable. Apart from checking the packaging to see if it is recyclable or biodegradable you could buy in bulk to help reduce plastic waste or look at options such as ‘Who Gives A Crap’ toilet paper made from 100% recycled materials and plastic-free packaging, ‘Greencane’ toilet paper which is made from recycled bamboo and sugar cane and comes in plastic-free packaging or ‘Ecoleaf’ toilet paper; made from 100% recycled paper with compostable packaging.

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We hope some of these ideas have helped you see what alternatives are available and if you would like more information, Friends of the Earth currently run #PlasticFreeFridayevery week where they challenge you to live without plastic for one day a week so go to www.friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics/plastic-free-friday

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