Reducing plastic: tried and tested products that will not cost you or the earth
After realising that every piece of plastic ever created still exists, I have become determined to reduce the amount of plastic in my daily life. Initially I thought this would be difficult, and sometimes, it still is. However, it has been easier than expected, largely due to these great everyday products. If you live in the UK these are very easy to get your hands on, and will not cost you more than you are already paying. Better yet, these products do no damage to you, the earth, animals, or fellow humans!
1. Silicone lids
Eco Lids are fantastic. These silicone lids are versatile and easy to use, and will completely remove cling-film from your life. These can be bought from a number of places online, such as Earth & Friends.
2. Mesh fruit-bags
These bags are lightweight (and will therefore not cost more than using single-use plastics when weighed on a scale), see-through, reusable and eco-friendly. They can be purchased from Sainsbury’s for 30p (they are usually in the fruit aisle), or they can be bought online together with your Eco Lids. As always, try to go with the more sustainable option if you can!
3. Dishwasher & Laundry pods
These two different pods from Smol are 100% plastic-free, 100% recyclable, cruelty-free, and just as good as your current products (if not better!). I am obsessed with these. Smol even allows you to trial a free pack to see for yourself, and I recommend you do. 4. Soap, shampoo and conditioner bars
Switching to bars instead of bottles is an easy way to reduce plastic. These are eco-friendly, made with natural products, and long-lasting. Soap-bars can be found in most supermarkets (try to buy the one that is not packaged in plastic!), whereas shampoo/conditioner bars can be found in-store and online at Holland & Barrett, Peace To The Wild and Lush amongst other places! Make sure to also look at ingredients and stay away from ones that contain conventional palm oil, which drives deforestation.
5. Makeup removers
This is a two in one: if you start using these Halo makeup remover pads, you can also stop using a makeup-removing product (which is probably also packaged in plastic, am I right?) All you need is warm water! These reusable pads save around 200 reusable cotton pads for the average consumer, and can be purchased from a range of places: Boots, Amazon, Halo, and Holland & Barrett. These are great for applying soap and foam-based products, but are quite thick, and therefore can absorb a lot of liquid products.
6. Reusable cotton pads
An alternative to the Halo pads, I use reusable cotton pads to apply products to my face. There are hundreds of different varieties of these but I personally use these ones. Check material composition carefully as some can contain polyester - go for natural materials like organic cotton or bamboo.
7. Cleaning products
Another great brand with a great mission! Ocean Saver has cleaning products for all your cleaning needs - they give you a spray-bottle for each product and from then onwards they give you the product only in a dissolvable pouch, to be mixed with water. This reduces your single-use plastic by providing you with the option to reuse the bottle you already have.
8. Dishwashing sponges
Did you know that the average dishwashing sponge contains more germs than your toilet? Not only are they bad for the environment, but they are not great for your health either. The Wonder Sponge is a silicone-based sponge that does not harbour bacteria and is pretty much infinitely reusable- when it gets dirty, just pop it in the dishwasher or in a pot of boiling water!
9. Reusable menstrual products
If we estimate that on average, a period lasts 6 days, and people use 4 disposable products each day, this is nearly 300 disposable products thrown away per year. For someone who has their period from the age of 15 till 50, this is more than 10,000 tampons or pads going to landfill. Swapping disposable tampons and pads for reusable menstrual products is a great way to reduce plastic waste, whilst being way cheaper in the long run. Some options to try are menstrual cups (take the cup quiz to find out your ideal brand and size), reusable cloth pads (lots of options on Etsy or try browsing on Babipur), and reusable period underwear (try brands like Cheeky Wipes and Wuka).
Cutting down on plastic and other climate-harming products can be daunting, I know! Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration for things you can do in your daily life to help save the earth and fight climate change.
Want to have a bigger impact?
Reducing plastic use helps the fight against fossil fuels and is a big carbon-saving impact change. Log this in future with The Climate App and you will see the exact difference you are making to help save the planet, whilst inspiring friends and family to also do the same.
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If you feel inspired to make other carbon-saving changes in your life, read our guide to eating less meat.