This past year, amongst other things, has been one of reawakening. It has forced us to reassess our priorities and appreciate just how precious the little green earth that we inhabit really is.
When incorporating more sustainable living habits, it’s important to be kind to yourself while remembering that this is a journey and that unlearning behaviours takes time. In honour of Plastic-Free July 2021, we have compiled a list of some eco-friendly switches which will help you ease up your reliance on everyday plastic products.
Don’t get us wrong, the list does not include the big lifestyle changes. We aren’t saying move to a self-sustainable farm with a compostable toilet and adorn your whole roof with solar panels. However, from your beauty regime to your kitchen, these are the small and easy switches that you can make right now to live more sustainably.
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is an annual global movement that encourages people to reduce their plastic consumption for the whole month. By inspiring people to consider their everyday plastic usage and make small lifestyle changes, the campaign shows how we can all help reduce the impact of plastic on our planet.
Plastic stays on earth without biodegrading and clogs up animals’ stomachs whilst polluting our waterways and motorways. If we don’t change our ways, by 2050 there could be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the sea.
Here are a few swaps you could make to your lifestyle to become more environmentally conscious.
Wild and Stone Reusable Mesh Produce Bags, £6.95
To replace: Plastic bags
Since the UK government rolled out its plastic bag charge in 2015, there has been a dramatic drop in the number of plastic waste in our supermarket shops and an increase in the use of cute, canvas tote bags to carry our shopping home.
Yet, we still haven’t given up using those little plastic bags on offer when picking up our loose fruit and veg. If you would rather avoid picking up the plastic-packaged fruit and veg, these fab little vegetable bags are the switch for you. The set includes small, medium and large bags that can hold your fruit and veg. The netted construction allows air to circulate so your fruit and veg stay fresh.
These little bags offer a great alternative to plastic, and help you to stop reaching for the pre-packaged fruit and veg. They are also lightweight so won’t add to the weight of your fruit and vegetables when checking out. Just pop these in your canvas bag to take to the shops with you.
Stasher Silicone Bags, £12.99
To replace: Tin foil and cling film
Plastic cling film hangs around in landfills for up to 1000 years, while tin foil sticks around for half of that. However, aluminium foil is far worse for the environment, largely due to its complex manufacturing process.
Although, if it is possible, avoiding both cling film and tin foil is the best route to go down to keeping a sustainable kitchen when it comes to food storage. These silicone bags from Stasher are made from platinum silicone and are free of plastic, so easy to clean and use, multipurpose, and most importantly reusable.
Not only can you use them to keep your leftovers fresh or carry your packed lunch around, but you can also use them to marinate your meat and even steam your vegetables. Don’t you just love a multipurpose product? You won’t look back once you’ve made this green switch.
Wild and Stone Beeswax Food Wraps, £12.50
To replace: Cling film and tin foil
Similarly to silicone bags, this is a great alternative to using up tin foil and plastic wraps. These beeswax wraps are made from 100 per cent natural ingredients. They use only one hundred per cent global organic textile standards (GOTS) certified cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and natural tree resin.
Not only are these food wraps reusable so therefore more eco-friendly, but they will also save you money in the long run too. They are also naturally antibacterial, so you can simply use cold water to clean them off ready for your next use.
Garnier Ultimate Blends Coconut Hydrating Shampoo Bar, £7.99
To replace: plastic packaged shampoos
According to a research poll conducted by Circular online, the UK public throws away more than 520 million shampoo bottles every year. If you are looking to ditch the bottles for good, then shampoo bars are a good way to go. They function in much the same way as a traditional bar of soap, simply lather up the bar in your hands and apply as normal. To prevent losing product just keep out of the stream of water – a lot of brands sell their bars in little metal containers to avoid any waste in the shower.
Garnier Ultimate Blends Coconut Hydrating Shampoo Bar, with Aloe Vera is blended in a gentle recipe, with sustainably sourced ingredients, including Coconut Oil & Organic Aloe Vera, to nourish & hydrate hair. The Shampoo Bar is also a 100% vegan formula and it’s 97% biodegradable formula leaves hair softer, shinier and healthy-looking! Although this is on the upper end of the price range for traditional shampoo’s, this little bar really made up for it with its longevity.
Ecovibe Reusable Cleansing Pads with Wash Bag, £9.99
To replace: Makeup wipes and regular non-reusable cotton pads
This sustainable switch also surfaced when considering the environmental impact of our daily routine and seeing as how many make-up wipes are already piled up in the bin it makes sense to switch. Instead of buying your usual make-up wipes, you should consider swapping to reusable cotton pads.
These from Eco Vibe are a great choice. They are made from seventy per cent bamboo and thirty per cent organic cotton. The reusable cotton pads are completely biodegradable and come in recyclable packaging (obviously). The velvet ones in the pack are gentle on your skin and won’t tug as much as a standard make-up wipe. The pack also includes soft scrub terry pads which will gently exfoliate your skin as and when needed. They also come with a washable bag so that you won’t lose your pads in the wash. If that is not enough, these little pads will last for over 100 washes, so will save you money in the long run. It’s a win win for sure.
The Environmental Toothbrush, £2.65
To replace: Plastic toothbrushes
According to Greenpeace, every piece of plastic ever made, still exists. That is hard to visualise when you consider how much plastic you must have encountered in your whole life, but to contextualise this fact, consider how much plastic you come across in your everyday routine. Then assuming you replace your toothbrush every three months, around four a year, that adds up to an alarming number of toothbrushes. Then times that by the number of people on the planet, and it gets even more staggering.
So, instead of buying your standard plastic toothbrush, only to discard it to landfill in three months when it gets a bit tired, consider swapping out for a bamboo toothbrush, an eco-friendly alternative to using plastic.
This toothbrush is made from Moso bamboo, which grows a metre a day without the need for fertiliser, making it highly sustainable, safe and eco-friendly. This species of bamboo is dubbed “panda-friendly” because pandas do not eat it or inhabit the area where it grows. These toothbrushes are water-resistant, preventing the growth of mould when you leave it in a steamy bathroom, and gives a higher quality finish. They are well made and solid to hold. The medium nylon-6 bristles are on the softer side, which dentists recommend to minimise damage when giving your teeth a good scrub.