Plastic free July may be over but it's important to keep up the momentum and continue efforts to reduce plastic usage. We do understand that isn't always easy and you don't have to have an 'all or nothing' approach to plastic reduction. Small changes really do make a difference so don’t be mad at yourself if you slip up! We believe that for changes to be sustainable in the long term, they need to be easy so we have put together a small list of easy changes you can make around your home, that will help you in living a lower waste lifestyle.
Why do we need to cut plastic consumption?
Before we get into it, it's important to be clear on why it is so important we reduce our plastic consumption. According to Plastics Europe, the production of plastic is set to almost quadruple by 2050 and we can't just recycle our way out of the problem - only 9% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled! Meaning that a whopping 91% is in landfill or the natural environment. This is not sustainable. We need to cut the demand for new plastic and utilize and repurpose the plastic already in circulation. Last year, over 300 million people participated in Plastic Free July, and collectively avoided using 904 million kg of plastic waste. If we continued only half of what was achieved throughout Plastic Free July, an astronomical amount of plastic saved. Understandably, the pandemic has made things difficult, PPE plastic face masks are being produced on the same scale as plastic water bottles (around 43 billion a month) but unlike plastic bottles, there are no official guidelines on mask recycling meaning most will be in the environment or landfill.
Easiest ways to cut plastic usage around the house
Transitioning to a lower waste lifestyle can often be overwhelming, so we have compiled a list of the easiest ways you can cut plastic waste around your home, highlighting some of our favourite brands:
Refill shops really are amazing. There is a huge variety of products available and the prices are comparable to the supermarket. As well as food cupboard essentials, you can refill different household cleaning items such as floor cleaner, hand soaps, washing up liquid and much more. If there isn't a refill shop close to you, many now deliver so check your local area! Other great brands, including Bower Collective, will send you pouches to refill your bottles in the post along with a pre-paid postage label to return the pouch. As more attention is being turned to the importance of cutting plastic waste, more and more great brands are popping up, making it easier and cheaper to live low waste.
Smol for household cleaning
Multisurface sprays, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets will all get delivered straight to your front door in plastic free packaging with Smol. Smol are one of our favourite brands, all the products work great, the price is the same as supermarket, and your plastic usage and waste will be cut drastically.
Low waste bathroom
Switching from liquid soap to soap bars is probably the easiest thing you can do to cut plastic waste. We love The Body Shop soap bars, they smell amazing! For shampoo and conditioner we use Zero Waste Path shampoo bars and get refillable conditioner from the local refill shop - most refill shops do also sell refillable liquid shampoo. For toilet paper, we order a big box that is sustainably sourced and plastic free, from Amazon.
Upcircle is our favourite brand for plastic-free skincare. The products are non-toxic, smell amazing and really do the trick. To highlight how great the skincare is, we have been buying our friends Upcircle products for their birthdays and every single one of them has purchased more since. You definitely do not need to compromise on great skincare products when going low waste. Our favourite products are the chocolate charcoal chair soap bar (face wash) and the face moisturiser with Argan Powder.
We buy refillable, aluminium-free deodorant from wild refill. This deodorant is great, works a treat and there are multiple different case colours and scents to choose from. Like the above, it is super easy to order and all gets delivered in the post.
Sometimes it is difficult knowing where to start, hopefully the above will help you on your journey to cutting plastic waste and creating a more relaxing and decluttered home environment. Sometimes using plastic is unavoidable but the changes you have adopted at home will have saved so much waste from going to landfill. Picture how many bottles of body wash, shampoo and washing up liquid you throw out every year, and now over a 5 year period. With these easy changes, this has now gone to 0. The bottom line - small changes really do make the biggest difference!