15 Top Tips to Use Less Plastic (And Save Money)

To celebrate the latest episode of The Green Room, all about plastics and what we can do to reduce waste, we’ve put together some of the best and most simple ways to cut down your use of single-use plastics.

Tips marked with the 💸 symbol not only save you from plastic use, but also save you money.

  1. Take a reusable cup when you buy coffee; a lot of places charge less if you buy this way. 
  2. Carry a reusable bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade, but a cloth alternative is cheaper, uses less plastic, and looks a lot better with your outfit than that Tesco bag for life that you keep buying more and more of.  
  3. Purchase cupboard food in bulk. Cereals, couscous, those giant bags of pasta that uni students love. Bigger packets mean less plastic used on separate packages, besides which, who doesn’t need 5kg box of cornflakes?!
  4. We use a truly insane number of plastic straws in the UK but it’s time to switch paper or a bamboo/metal equivalent. Or just… ya know… use your mouth… 
  5. Say it with me, gang: your fruit and veg do not need plastic wrapping. Paper is just as good. Local greengrocers are great for this, and generally, their products have much lower associated carbon costs.
  6. The average newborn requires changing around 12 times a day, which is a whole mountain of waste. Cloth nappies provide a practical and plastic-free alternative. While some might turn their noses up (pun intended), it’s been proven to be safe, healthy, and clean; your washing machine is perfectly capable of washing them thoroughly. 
  7. Try making your own fruit juices and cleaning products (please don’t mix them up).
  8. Shampoo bars like this one offer all the same benefits as your favourite bottled brand, but without the plastic.
  9. Bakeries are not only great for fulfilling your Instagram dreams, but also use a hell of a lot less packaging.
  10. Ditch the clingfilm and invest in a set of beeswax food wraps. Additional benefit of having a variety of designs to jazz up your fridge.
  11. Whilst we’re on the subject of storing leftovers, remember that takeaway containers do not need to be single use! Just because your chow mein is but a memory, doesn’t mean the Tupperware needs to be too. Wash and reuse. 
  12. Often products like laundry detergent are available in cardboard, which is far more easily recycled.
  13. Toilet paper doesn’t need to come in plastic packaging. The wonderfully named Who Gives A Crap offers eco-friendly, 100% recycled toilet paper rolls that come paper-wrapped and delivered in a cardboard box.
  14. Some plastic products are necessary purchases, but before you buy them new try to find out if they’re available secondhand. Gumtree, eBay, and local charity shops are all great for this. 
  15. Freeze your own ice cubes and make your own ice lollies. Ice lolly sets like this one mean that you can get creative with your food, save a whole bunch of money, and cut down on your waste, all in the time it takes to fill a mould. 

Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?

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