Reducing plastic waste, reusing what we can, and recycling are three issues that we all think about a lot. When you start researching lifestyle changes you can make that will save the planet, it’s a little overwhelming. And if you start to think about it, it can feel like nothing is enough. But if we all make some small changes, it can and will make a difference. We’ve created a list of a few changes you can make at home to reduce waste.
Swap Plastic Wrap and Plastic Bags for Reusable Options
Say goodbye to cling film and foil and say hello to beeswax wrap instead! Simply wrap your food, wash and reuse. It keeps food fresh and lasts for a really long time, as long as it’s properly looked after. There are plenty of places where you can buy them now, or you can make your own.
If you need bags for dividing and freezing portions of vegetables or meat, you can purchase washable silicone bags which will last much longer than thinner cheaper bags you purchase in the supermarket. They come in a variety of sizes so you can easily find a set to suit your needs.
Opt for Eco-Friendly and Refillable Cleaning Products
When it comes to cleaning, we need to be mindful of what chemicals we are spritzing around our homes. Not just for our own health but the planet too. Of course, we need to think about the plastic containers we buy these products in too or move away from single-use products such as disinfectant wipes.
There plenty of ‘zero waste’ and refill shops opening in many towns and small high streets. You can take your old pump soap or disinfectant spray bottles to refill with an option that has been made with the environment in mind. Many will often sell a selection of dried foods that come in non-recyclable plastic bags such as pasta, nuts and grains for you to stock up on too. It's a great way to support local businesses and reduce your waste at the same time.
Buy Loose Fruit and Veg
Opting to buy loose fruit and vegetables if you can is a great way to reduce your plastic waste as you won’t have all of those wrappers that only end up going straight in the bin. We are often told that writing and sticking to a list is a way to save money too. So if you only need four carrots for a recipe you are making, don’t buy a whole plastic bag full. By only buying what you need, you’ll be reducing food waste too! Many supermarkets now sell reusable mesh bags which you can use instead of plastic.
Take a Reusable Water Bottle or Coffee Cup with You
Having a good quality reusable water bottle is essential. Stainless steel is longer lasting and better quality than opting for plastic and will keep your drinks cooler for longer too. You can use the Refill App when you’re out and about to find free places to refill your water bottle whilst you’re out and about. Plus, it means you’ll always stay hydrated, which is especially important in the summer.
Whilst plastic water bottles can be reused and recycled, takeaway coffee cups from most cafes can’t be due to the plastic lining inside them. So, if you regularly purchase hot drinks, invest in a reusable one that will keep your drink warmer for longer. Some chains will even give you a discount as an incentive to use them, so if you’re buying a coffee daily you’ll make the money back pretty quickly.
Don’t Forget a Reusable Bag
We’ve been paying for our plastic bags since 2015, but still, you’ll often find yourself caught out when making an unexpected purchase and paying that little bit extra for one. Chances are, given how long we have been paying for bags, you probably have plenty to reuse at home. To stop you from being caught out again, always keep a spare stashed in your bag or leave a couple in the car boot.
Swap Plastic Straws for Bringing Your Own
The UK uses about 8.5 billion plastic straws per year, which averages out as 130 straws per person! If you enjoy or need to use straws, switching to a washable, reusable option is the best way to go. Stainless steel is both durable and easy to clean. If looked after properly, these will last you for many years to come.
Change How You Brew Your Tea and Coffee
Us Brits are well known for enjoying many, many cups of tea a day, but did you know most tea bags include tiny pieces of plastic, which means you can’t throw them into your compost bin. Making the change from teabags to loose leaf tea and strainer is a small swap you can make that is better for the environment. You will even find that your cuppa tastes better too!
If you’re a coffee-lover, there are a few options. You can buy refillable pods to fill with your choice of coffee or a reusable filter instead of single-use paper ones. These allow you to ditch single-use products without sacrificing the quality of your drink.
Swap Baking Paper for Silicone Baking Mats
We’re big fans of baking but using baking paper to line trays is another piece of non-recyclable waste we can eliminate. You may be thinking, but it’s just paper I can put in the recycling, right? Nope! Unfortunately not, as it’s a plastic coating which makes it non-stick. The best alternative is silicone baking mats, which are easy to clean and can be used indefinitely. You can even buy round ones in the sizes to fit your cake pan.
Use Reusable Cotton Pads
Skincare can contribute to a huge amount of waste. Using reusable, washable cotton pads will help reduce waste. You can buy a pack that will last you a week for a relatively small cost, or if you are crafty, you can make your own.
Ban Bottles from Your Shower
Making the change from liquid shower gel and shampoo to bar-based products is a simple swap that can limit the amount of plastic you bring into your home. A few of the UK's leading brands have created shampoo bars, which are now sold in supermarkets, making them more accessible and affordable for everyone. They are also a great option for travelling as they are small and can be popped into your hand luggage.
These are just a few simple changes you can make around, there are plenty more to try!
And if you’re looking for some more sustainable products for your home and kitchen shop the Salter Eco Range. All of these products have been made with the environment in mind and the aim of reducing waste.