We can all help in the fight against waste, all it takes is a few swaps here and there to start making a difference. It can also save you money too. Some might need an original outlay for re-usable products but once bought, they just keep on giving. That alone is a good incentive to make the swaps to reduce waste.
- I have added ideas from Amazon for you. The links may earn small commissions that help keep this site running. If you do purchase through them, I thank you.
What to Swap?
1). Changing to reusable food wraps. There are organic and natural beeswax wraps available. There are also silicone lids and bags available. Yes you do have the original outlay but once you have them they can be washed and reused over and over. You can buy them in different shapes and sizes in lovely designs.
2). Swap your plastic water bottles for a reusable water bottle. I like the stainless steel ones because they work like a thermos they keep hot things hot and cold things cold. I find mine will keep my water nice and cold for hours. There are a great variety of styles to choose from, they don’t have to be boring or cost a fortune. There are also silicone collapsible bottles available in a variety of styles. You can get BPA free plastic ones but though you aren’t getting the chemicals they are still plastic.
3). Stop using paper coffee cups they do not recycle, despite any claims, they have a wax and/or plastic coatings on the inside. Many went away from the plastic to cardboard to make it look as though they are more eco friendly but the reality is they aren’t. Many of the coffee shops encourage customers to bring their own refillable cups now. That is a brilliant idea. Below are 3 different types, the first is a collapsible silicone, the second a double walled stainless steel with a ceramic lining and the third is made from bamboo.
From the Independent newspaper. Read the article HERE
- Cups are technically recyclable, something that some coffee companies actively promote on their packaging.
However, due to the complicated way in which they are produced, the vast majority of coffee cups do not end up being recycled.
Though they are made largely of paper, disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic polyethylene, which is tightly bonded to the paper making the cups waterproof and therefore able to contain liquid.
4). Stop using plastic straws and replace them with reusable straws. There are quite a few on the market now. There are stainless steel straws, telescopic ones are handy for carrying with you, silicone straws and bamboo straws. All come with at least 1 handy brush to thoroughly clean the inside when washing.
5) Refuse classic cutlery and paper napkins when you order takeaway. I don’t personally have ready made food delivered but am told this can be a thing they do automatically. Unsure why they would add such things as if you are at home you already have proper cutlery available. I decided to google it and discover the amount of plastic waste is quite horrifying.
From the Daily Mail an article updated 9th Feb 2020. Read more HERE.
- Takeaway delivery companies distribute more than one billion plastic trays, lids and bags every year, according to estimates published yesterday.
- The online meal industry, worth £8 billion annually, provides 200 million takeaways a year and a typical delivery is likely include six pieces of plastic – from the boxes and lids used to pack food down to straws, cutlery, and sachets of sauce.
- The Sunday Times found that 15 meals ordered from three leading delivery companies – Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats – for between £20 and £30 contained more than 100 plastic items, even after offers of plastic cutlery had been declined.
6). Instead of using using plastic carrier bags, swap them for fabric bags. I have a small fold up bag I keep in my handbag, it is so useful and takes up very little room. We also have neatly folded cloth bags in the side pocket of the car door. There are massive floating islands in the ocean that are just plastic and plastic shopping bags. Here in the UK shops are supposed to charge for plastic bags but I have seen the plastics bags still readily handed over to customers. It’s such a small change that can make such a big impact for the environment.
7). Replace single-use tea bags a tea infuser and leaf tea. Or get a teapot, tea strainer and tea. Why? Not seen the new about teabags? How they contain plastic?
From the Independent newspaper website. Read the article HERE!
- You might think tea bags are just simply paper and tea, and that of course they decompose, and that you’re doing your bit by putting them in your home food waste to compost.
- But, you’re wrong – unless you use plastic free tea bags, that is.
- In actual fact, many of the tea bags we buy contain polypropylene, which is what the tea bags are sealed with, so when you put in the used bags in your food waste, you’re actually putting toxic chemicals into your beautiful compost that will eventually seep into the ground.
From the BBC news website. Read the article HERE!
- “The tea bag … is in the process of a large-scale reinvention.”
- So reads a 2006 New York Times article on the rise of nylon mesh tea bags, an innovation that diversified the tea market and offered a new, fancier echelon of tea bag. “Instead of paper,” the writer explains, “the leaves will be enveloped by nylon mesh bags in a delicate pyramid shape,” allowing for a larger brewing area and tastier drink, all without the “chore of cleaning up the soggy remains”.
- Good news, we thought. The innocent tea bag gets an upgrade, while remaining harmless. Not so much. These tea bags actually flood every cup with multitudes of microplastics – according to a new study released by researchers at McGill University in Montreal last week.
- Nathalie Tufenkji, a professor of chemical engineering, began studying nylon mesh tea bags after one was served to her at a local cafe.
- Tufenkji and her team discovered that steeping a single silky plastic tea bag at brewing temperature (95C) releases approximately 11.6bn microplastics and 3.1bn nanoplastics (the latter are 150 times smaller than a hair, possibly small enough to permeate human cells) made up of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into a single cup of tea.
So improving the teabag or upgrading it, didn’t really work either. They were still toxic. During the time of the discovery that teabags contained plastic, the sale of teabags dropped. No surprise there.
But surprisingly to me at least, was the fact that after a time people went back to happily drinking plastic with their tea because it was more convenient and easier. Many still continued drinking loose leaf tea, finding it a much better flavour. Teapots with infusers are very useful, I have used one myself in the past.
What I really prefer to use are the infusers in the centre. In my local tea shop they are nearly £5.00 but you get 5 in this pack for less than the price of 2. I was surprised to find silicone reusable tea bags, though I should have realised there would be as so many silicone things are popping up.
7) How about swapping a liquid soap for a bar of soap. A soap bar lasts so much longer and if you buy handmade organic it will be much nicer on your skin. It will not have chemicals in which is so much better for you and the planet. I much prefer my bars of soap. Left on an open base soap dish helps it to last longer and prevent it going soft.
8) You could try replacing your shampoo and conditioner with a bar version of shampoo and conditioner . Not everyone likes them or gets on with them but those that do rave about them. I use an organic liquid shampoo at the minute, but intend to get round to trying shampoo bars.
A few swaps or even one at a time can make a difference to less chemicals in your home, on your skin and being breathed in, as well as to the planet. Doing your bit to help the environment has never been so easy.
With so many choices readily available it makes you wonder why more people aren’t trying these swaps/alternatives.
Will you give it a try?
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