Top 10 Tips for reducing your plastic footprint
This month around the world people have been celebrating #PlasticFreeJuly by reducing their plastic waste. This is great for reducing plastic pollution, but why stop the good work at the end of July? To help you keep reducing plastic waste and pollution all year round, here are our top 10 tips for reducing your plastic footprint.
Plastic Free July is a global movement that unites millions of people trying to reduce plastic pollution so that we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and communities. Going plastic-free isn’t easy, as almost every object we buy and use contains plastic. However, there are plenty of ways to reduce your plastic consumption by thinking carefully about some of your daily habits. It’s easier than you might think!
Every individual taking action to reduce their plastic footprint contributes to protecting our planet for future generations.
1. Bring your own bottle
Plastic bottles are one of the biggest offenders in plastic pollution, often ending up on our beaches and in our rivers. The lids are harmful to wildlife, especially birds who mistake them for food, resulting in plastic trapped in their stomachs. Next time you head out, make your reusable water bottle with you. We recommend investing in a bottle that keeps your water nice and cold for 24 hours. The colourful designs of Ocean Bottle are particularly popular at Treepoints HQ. Plus every bottle sold funds the collection of 1000 plastic bottles from our coastlines.
2. Ditch the cling film
It’s a little known fact that tin foil can be recycled, unlike cling film, which goes straight into landfill and can be highly dangerous to animals if left out in nature. If you want to be even more environmentally friendly, pick up some beeswax wraps to keep your food fresh. They’re reusable and compostable and completely plastic free.
3. Make your cuppa plastic free
Did you know that most teabags are made of plastic? When we throw them away, they shed microplastics, which go into our waterways and eventually into our food chain. Companies are slowly starting to wake up to this – PG tips is introducing biodegradable teabags – but in the meantime, you can switch to loose leaf tea with a metal strainer or tea pot, cutting out plastic altogether. And don’t forget to take your thermos or KeepCup for your brew when you’re out and about.
4. Say no to plastic cutlery
The average person is responsible for using 466 items of plastic cutlery, plates and straws every year. And how long do we use these little pieces of plastic for? 3 minutes. That’s right. What could be more wasteful than making a new plastic product, just to throw it away after 3 minutes. Instead, investing in some reusable cutlery and straws will cut down your plastic usage, reducing the demand for single use plastic.
5. Bring back the milkman
Remember the milkman who brings round fresh milk in glass bottles every morning? Not only does this support local businesses, you’re also cutting down on plastic pollution by avoiding plastic milk cartons. Check out who your local delivery service is and swap to glass bottles to reduce your plastic footprint. Some services offer extra tasty goods like fruit juice and yogurt too.
6. Reuse your clothes plastic delivery mailing bags
Next time you get a delivery, don’t throw away the bag that it comes in. Instead, you can use this as waterproof wrapping next time you’re posting something to a friend. Or selling your clothes on Depop or Ebay. This gives the plastic bag a second lease of life, and reduces your overall plastic consumption as you won’t need to buy new plastic wrapping. Plus, selling your clothes promotes sustainable shopping and reduces waste by not sending them to landfill.
7. Give up the gum
In the UK, we’re the second biggest gum consumers worldwide, with an estimated 130 sticks per person each year. Chewing gum is literally made of plastic, which is why you can see lots of the stuff littering our streets – it’s never going to decompose on its own! If you can’t quit the gum, swap to a plastic free alternative such as Chewsy, which is 100% sugar free and biodegradable.
8. Ban plastics from your bathroom
It’s easy to spend a lot of time reducing plastic in your shopping and in your fridge, and we end up forgetting about our bathrooms altogether. However, research shows that while 90% of packaging is recycled in our kitchens, it’s only 50% in our bathrooms, and most bathrooms are packed with plastic bottles of lotions and potions.
Adding a little recycling bin in your bathroom is a good reminder to recycle your bathroom waste, cutting down on plastic going to landfill. But there are also plenty of ways to reduce the amount of plastic you buy in the first place. For example you can switch from shower gel to a bar of soap, toothpaste in a tube to toothpaste tablets, and reusable facewipes instead of disposable ones. With a few simple switches your plastic footprint will quickly diminish.
9. Switch to reusable sanitary products
In the UK alone, over 200,000 of sanitary products end up in landfill every year. That’s the same weight as over 1730 blue whales. This is a huge contribution to plastic pollution. Making the switch to reusable sanitary products is better for the environment and for your body – they are completely free of the fragrances, dyes and chlorines found in disposable sanitary products. They’ll also save you a lot of money long-term. If you’re not quite ready to go fully reusable, check out Grace and Green’s organic and eco-friendly period products, which are 100% plastic free.
10. Make sure your glitter is green
When we’re getting ready for a party or a festival, we don’t often think about the environmental impact of the glitter we’re putting on our skin. But it’s such tiny flakes of plastic that can be extremely harmful to our oceans. This microplastic can eventually end up in our food chain as plankton and shellfish eat it. But don’t worry, you don’t have to give up the glitter. There are plenty of eco-friendly, biodegradable glitters that will let you sparkle, and reduce your plastic footprint.
Treepoints is proud to support the collection of ocean bound plastic
You’ve probably got the idea by now – at Treepoints we hate plastic pollution! This is why we have recently added plastic collection to our Planet Positive Subscription to help. Every subscription funds the collection of plastic waste in coastal communities around the work, reducing our global plastic footprint. For this work, we’re proud to support Plastic Bank, who set up collection points in coastal communities so that locals can exchange plastic waste for premiums that they can spend on groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition and health insurance.
Find out more about our planet positive subscription and pick the plan that’s right for you today to start fighting plastic pollution and the climate crisis.
For more ideas on going plastic free, check out the resources on Plastic Bank’s website. And for more sustainable living inspiration, here are our top recommendations of blogs and accounts to follow.