Ditched the plastic straw? Here’s 6 things to do next

So you’ve mastered the basics: ditching plastic straws, using a reusable coffee cup, carrying a refillable water bottle, taking bags to the supermarket, avoiding plastic cutlery and getting vegetables without packaging. But what to do next in your quest for plastic free?

It’s a huge challenge to go completely plastic free. And not all plastic is necessarily bad, as long as it doesn’t end up in our countryside or in our oceans and rivers. But reducing our use and reducing the demand for plastic coated products is key to a more sustainable and plastic free future. It is possible, even quite easy, to eliminate a lot of single use plastic from your lifestyle.

Here’s 6 things to try next on your plastic free journey.

Prevent micro-plastics reaching the sea

The vast majority of micro plastics in the oceans come from microfibres in our clothes. Most of our clothes, especially women’s, are made of synthetic fabrics. When we wash them the fibres get loose and go straight into our waterways, eventually ending up in rivers and then our oceans. There is a friend who can help – the Guppy Friend! It’s a laundry bag that captures those plastic microfibres in the wash.

My Guppy Friend is one of my most prized possessions. I’ve used it enough now to see small clumps of microfibres gathering in the corners, so it definitely works! They are so tiny it takes a while for them to become noticeable. The bag also helps protect your clothing so they actually lose less microfibres than they would normally too, helping them last longer.

Also, when buying clothes, it’s worth considering going for 100% cotton wherever you can. You don’t need to put pure cotton or wool garments in the Guppy Friend bag as their natural fibres won’t harm our environment.

Plastic free plasters

It’s shocking how many everyday items have plastic in them. So much so you might not even think about them. Plasters for example, I hadn’t really thought about them containing plastic until I stumbled across an alternative. You can now get plastic free plasters, who knew?! Find them here.

Going plastic free in the bathroom

Going plastic free in your washing routine is one of the easiest things to do. Lush sell plastic free soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant and even foundation. They come in bar form but don’t let that put you off as they still work well and smell amazing! The shower gel bar does feel a bit like gel that lathers (though I plan to stick to the soap in future).

Lush also do toothpaste tablets which I’ve bought but am yet to try. They do come in a plastic bottle but they encourage you to return the bottle so they can reuse it. I’m thinking about trying this toothpaste once I’ve used the tablets.

Plastic free periods

There are so many sanitary products out there for women there’s really no reason to still be using plastic filled pads and tampons. I use Earthwise reusable pads. They are soft, absorbent and easy to clean. There’s also moon cups and similar which act more like reusable tampons.

If using reusable products is not your thing then switch to using Natracare pads and tampons instead. They are organic, plastic and chemical free so far better for the environment than the plastic options.

Avoid plastic-coated wrapping paper

This is another easy one. Simply, don’t use traditional wrapping paper! It is nearly always covered in plastic, making it both unrecyclable and able to cause plastic pollution. Use brown parcel paper or newspaper to wrap your presents. There’s also lots of reusable and beautiful alternatives on the Internet such as Lush’s knot-wrap. I use brown paper and stamps to make my presents look pretty.

Create ecobricks out of plastic waste

Ending up with unrecyclable single-use plastic is sadly still inevitable in today’s society. But recently I was excited to discover the ecobrick project. You can turn your waste plastic into ecobricks that will help build all sorts of things for communities. All you have to do is make your own ecobricks using single-use plastic and plastic bottles then donate them to a project. Check out their website to find out more. Go here to find out if there’s an ecobrick project near you where you can donate your ecobricks.

Do you do any of these things already? What other things have you been doing to help reduce plastic waste?

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