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Needless to say, environmental issues are hugely important right now, with everyone trying to make small changes here and there to be a little more Eco friendly. These small changes may not feel like much to us as we go along, but when hundreds, thousands or even millions of people follow suit, it does have a big impact on the earth and helps to slow down the damage being done each and every day. With large companies like McDonald's implementing huge changes with their packaging and production, it's become a bit of a mission for many to make a few plastic free swaps in their own homes and daily life to do their part too. With this in mind, I thought I'd share eight simple swaps you can try at home, in work and on days out to reduce the plastic that may otherwise go to waste.
Reusable cups and bottles
If you're someone that regularly picks up a cool bottle of water while you're out, or visit coffee shops for a drink on the go, then try investing in a flask bottle and/or reusable bamboo coffee cup. Before heading out, fill your bottle up with water or juice to keep hydrated and steer clear of the disposables. You can take your own cup to any coffee shop, with some encouraging the use of your own cup with special offers. When you think about how many bottles and cups we use needlessly, making this change will make a big difference.
Reusable straws and cutlery
Much like the cups and bottles, bringing your own reusable or paper straws to have on hand when needed can really help save on needless plastic waste. There are plenty of options such as bamboo straws, as well as metal and even glass in all kinds of designs. Although there isn't much need for plastic cutlery nowadays, if it's something you find yourself using at work or on the go, it's well worth keeping your own reusable option close by.
Washable face cloths and wipes
As someone that has previously abused packet wipes and single use face pads, making the change to reusable is really noticeable. Although we don't instantly think of plastics with wipes etc, they are in there and I think this is possibly one of the easiest swaps we can make. You can buy ready made Eco options or even make your own, but having cloths to use again for cleaning and skin care will not only save the environment, but save you some money along the way too.
Bamboo toothbrush and Eco floss
With millions of people still using disposable tooth brushes made of plastics, it makes sense to have a simple switch to a bamboo option. Bamboo can decompose in just six months when composting, so it's a much more earth friendly option and makes no difference to those that use them. If you're a flosser (teeth not the dance), then you can even opt away from the plastic thread and plastic packaging and choose something like plant based thread or natural silk that can decompose instead.
Washable sanitary items
Although this can be a trickier switch to find your right match, swapping your sanitary items such as tampons and pads that are packed with plastics can be pretty simple. There are fabric sanitary towels, absorbent pants and even organic tampons that have less plastic and less needless waste. As long as the job is done and it's affordable, it's a simple enough change. In the long run, switching to washable options will save us a fortune. If pads aren't for you, you could invest in a cup which is probably the cheapest option. Although menstrual cups are made from silicone, they last a long long time and can be used over and over, so they are a great investment for an instant relief of plastics and cash.
Take your own packaging
Much like bringing your own cup, you are well within your rights to take your own boxes and reusable packaging to places like butchers etc to have your food put into. The weight can be reset, so it doesn't matter how much your packaging weighs, but it saves on plastic packets and pointless packaging that will be disposed of at home. You could also buy from shops that sell by weight so that you can simply buy what you need and take it straight home ready to pack away.
Buy food in bulk
By buying food in bulk, we can reduce the amount of waste. If you're not ready to opt for plastic free shops completely yet, then buy larger packets and split them up at home. If you are ready for a change, take a look and see what bulk buying stores are near to you. Supermarkets tend to pack small numbers in excess packaging, so this is a great switch to make.
Change your habits
Like most things, adapting to a more plastic free life will take some getting used to. Once we do something multiple times it becomes habit, so filling up a water bottle, stashing some shopping bags in the car or sticking your face cloths in with the wash will at first take a while to become a part of a routine, but they soon will.
Other ways you can be a bit more Eco friendly
As well as making simple changes to reduce our plastic uses, there are lots of other simple ways we can be more Eco friendly. One big thing we can consider is reusing things that can't be recycled, as well as buying second hand. When it comes to things like kids toys for example, having a good as new toy second hand saves a lot of packaging and waste along the way, as well as saving a few pennies. There are also many people switching to veganism to reduce their environmental impact and although it's not something I've embraced just yet, I have been fascinated reading posts and recipes from vegan Bloggers and learning a little more about the impact the meat industry has. As well as using less plastics, altering our diet, maybe even having a more Eco friendly wedding and creating new habits in our lives, we can all make a big difference.