Have you ever wondered how much of your household waste is plastic? When you stop and think about it, it can be a shocking amount, from shopping bags to bottles to reams of film wrap.
Is it all really necessary? Here are 6 ways we can instantly cut our contribution to landfill with some surprising added benefits:
1. Dare to Soap Your Hair
Replace your shampoo with shampoo bars. These are like soap bars but are specially formulated for the hair, reducing your need for bulky plastic bottles. Many of the shampoo bars that are being introduced to the market are made of natural ingredients so you won’t be exposing your scalp to any harmful chemicals. They will last longer too.
2. Ditch the Shower Gel
Similarly, instead of using shower gel, go back to basics and just use a good old fashioned bar of soap. There’s so much variety to choose from these days. Look out for those made with natural ingredients often found at craft fairs and thankfully some commercial supermarkets are catching on. When you consider that our skin is the largest organ of the body and is porous, a bar of gorgeous smelling, natural soap is ever more appealing.
3. Get Your Own Personal (and Perennial) Water Bottle
Take the time to find your own personal water bottle that you can carry with you wherever you go. This will save you money, but more importantly will have a significant long-term impact on the amount of plastic bottle waste in landfills. In the US alone, landfills are currently estimated to be overflowing with 2 million tonnes of plastic bottle waste not to mention all the transportation that it took for them to finally get there.
If that isn’t shocking enough, these bottles are not BPA free so they are also leaking chemicals into your water. You are better off buying a glass or stainless steel bottle. Fill up before you leave home and refill throughout the day.
4. Get Box Clever with your Laundry
Choose washing detergents that are sold in boxes instead of plastic bags or bottles.
5. Don’t Wrap It – Contain It!
Rolls of film food wrappings are unnecessary, not to mention fiddly and annoying. How many hours have you spent trying to find the start point or keep it straight as you tear a sheet off? Ditch it and just use reusable containers. If you need to cover your food for a short amount of time, simply use a tea towel.
6. Lose Your Unnecessary Baggage
Every supermarket offers durable and reusable shopping bags, which make carrying your shopping so much easier compared to twice the amount of plastic bags you’d get otherwise. You can also get small bags that fold neatly into your bag and can be carried everywhere.
Also when you buy your fruits and vegetables, take a second to consider if they really need to be packed in yet more plastic bags. Ask for the labels to be stuck on the food item where possible. And if you really do need plastic bags, then save and reuse them. You can even find fabric bags to replace these.
All of these things require very little effort. It’s so easy to think “What’s one more plastic bag or one more plastic bottle?” but creating long-term habits for the better is a much bigger hit, even starting with one household!
What’s more, none of these changes are actually a compromise or sacrifice anyway, just simple switches towards less waste, cleaner air, cleaner water and less disease. Together we can make a difference.