When trying to reduce your waste, the first thing to do it to avoid bringing the waste in to your home. If you look at your shopping habits, it may be that you are able to reduce your waste, importantly non recyclable waste such as some plastics.
Here are some smarter shopping tips to help you combat plastic waste:
Take reusable shopping bags with you to the shops. This is a given now, but avoiding single-use plastic like a carrier bag is an easy way to instantly reduce your usage. Once you are used to it, it will become a habit and you will remember your bags all the time.
Where possible, buy items such as peppers, onions and apples loose. It allows you to buy the amount you need (thereby reducing food waste) but also means you don’t take home any unnecessary plastic wrappers or nets. Avoid using the thin produce bags too by taking a cloth/fabric shopping bag for fruit and veg.
Check out your local greengrocer, baker and butcher. Much of what they sell will be less highly packaged than supermarket bought produce. You can also take along your own containers helping save even more.
Where possible, buy things in glass instead of plastic. This includes things like jars of mayonnaise and ketchup. Did you know glass can be recycled forever without losing quality, unlike plastic which has a life span of a couple of reprocesses?
If it is something you use often and has a long shelf life like pasta or rice buy in bulk, or opt for a bigger bag to make it last longer and reduce the amount of packaging you use.
Use Tupperware or reuse old butter and margarine tubs or glass jars to store leftovers in instead of using single-use items like cling film or foil. Clear containers make it easier to see what is in there too! Did you know glass is better than plastic because it doesn’t stain and will last longer?
You can also buy reusable backing sheets if you are avid baker, perfect for cookies!
Did you know most tea bags are sealed using plastic? Maybe it is time to switch to loose leaf tea? The leaves can be put in your food waste bin and you can buy a bag of loose leaf tea for under £2 from most major supermarkets. There are companies starting to switch to alternatives to sealing with plastic so do your research!
Traditional bars of soap bought wrapped in paper produce less waste than a plastic bottle of shower gel or hand wash. This is a simple change that could be the difference between recycling a plastic bottle or two and a small piece of paper. Shampoo and conditioner bars are also available from well-known high street cosmetic stores, so look around. If you choose to stick with plastic bottles, make sure you rinse them out and recycle them.
By implementing a few of these changes into your habits, you will be able to reduce the amount of plastic waste you will be creating, saving the planet one plastic bag at a time.