How to use less plastic at home

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  • Save the planet (and a bit of cash) with these easy ways to cut plastic out of your life

    Single-use water bottles, 5p supermarket bags, coffee cups and even straws – plastic is everywhere in our day-to-day lives.

    With a shocking 37 per cent of Brits admitting they don’t think their recycling efforts make any difference, it’s no surprise that there are more than 5 TRILLION pieces of plastic waste in our oceans.

    Go green: How to make compost – feed your garden for free

    Whilst we’re moving in the right direction with the government’s bottle deposit scheme, and personal pledges to use less plastic, some of us are still finding it hard to reduce our plastic footprint.

    So help get you started, we’ve crafted some simple hacks you can incorporate into your daily life to help you along the way.

    1. Ditch the straw


    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Whether you’re in a fast food chain or a fancy cocktail bar, refuse the offer of a straw. Unless, that is, the drink is particularly sugary and you want to protect your teeth. Or you could use paper straws like these.

    2. Invest in a reusable coffee cup


    Don’t rely on your local coffee shop to serve your morning pick-me-up in a disposable cup. Instead bring your own reusable one – you might find you’ll also get a discount on your drink, so everybody wins.

    Our pick is the Hydro Flask, because it doesn’t leak and keeps your drink hot for hours.

    Buy now: Hydro Flask, from £18.95, Amazon

    3. Hire a milkman (or lady)


    Image credit: Alun Callender

    Go back to the ‘good old days’ and have your milk delivered to your doorstop. Make sure they bring it in glass bottles, which they’ll collect again and reuse.

    4. Always keep a cotton tote in your handbag

    You never know when you’ll need to do a top-up shop, and it will save you 5 pence every time!

    5. Use an essential oil diffuser instead of a room spray


    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Not only will this help you cut back on plastic, but it also reduces the number of toxins and artificial scent particles in the air.

    6. Buy loose fruit and vegetables

    Some supermarkets offer plastic bags to wrap these in, but opt for a brown paper bag instead – you might need to bring your own. Or just pop fruit and veg into your basket as they are.

    7. Switch to loose leaf tea


    Image credit: Carolyn Barber

    Did you know that regular tea bags contain plastic particles? So use loose leaf tea instead.

    8. Store food in Tupperware

    Other brands are available! But it is kinder to the environment to keep leftovers fresh in sealable, reusable plastic boxes, rather than wrapping them in clingfilm.

    9. Cut out the drinks bottles


    Eighties kids were always nagging their parents to buy them a SodaStream. So now you’re all grown up, why not get one for your family? Enjoy fizzy drinks and sparkling water without the single-use bottles – the ones that come with your machine can be used over and over again, and the cylinders that create the fizz are also recyclable.

    Buy now: SodaStream Spirit, £84.98, Amazon

    Even if you only adopt a few of these habits, you’ll be well on your way to slashing your plastic use.

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