A photo of a plastic bottle washed up on a rocky beach A photo of a plastic bottle washed up on a rocky beach

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10 ways to reduce your plastic use

This National Marine Week, we share 10 practical ways to reduce your plastic waste and help prevent its damaging effect on marine life.

An estimated 12.7 tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, a measurable threat to marine life. In recognition of The Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week, we recommend 10 practical ways to reduce your plastic waste and help prevent its damaging effect on the marine environment.

1. Replace your bottled bathroom products
Next time you run out of shower gel or hand wash, opt for unpackaged bar soap. Shampoo and conditioner can also be found in this form and, kept out of the water stream, last a long time.

2. …then take them travelling
Resist the free personal care products offered by hotels; take your new soap and shampoo bars instead, or at least fill recyclable travel bottles.

3. Check the ingredients in your cleaning products
While microbeads have been banned in UK for some items, they are still allowed in cleaning products, sunscreen, paints and lipstick. If you discover any liquid products containing microbeads in your home, use a coffee filter to strain before use.

4. Prepare on-the-go meals
Avoid the excess plastic from supermarket meal deals by making your own Tupperware picnic before heading out. As well as cutting down on plastic, this will probably help your wallet and your waistline too!

5. Decline disposable coffee cups
If you can’t resist a takeaway latte, be sure to take a reusable mug to your favourite coffee shop. For cold drinks you can also carry a reusable straw.

6. Stop buying bottled water
If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap-water, opt for a tap filter, refrigerable filter jug or an on-the-go filter bottle instead of shelling out on disposable plastic bottles.

7. Avoid packaged fruit and veg
Thanks to rising demand, more and more supermarket products are available package-free, especially fruit and veg. Some stores accept customers’ own containers for deli items as well.

8. Order-out smart
When ordering takeaway, ask them not to include anything plastic that you don’t need: dip or condiment sachets, plastic cutlery, or even the plastic pizza-box saver.

9. Check clothing labels before purchase
Where possible, opt for cotton clothing, avoiding synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex or nylon, which all create microfibre pollution when laundered.

10. Avoid wrapping paper for presents
Wrapping paper often contains plastics or is otherwise nonrecyclable. Wrap gifts in brown paper tied with string. Many greeting cards also come without plastic packaging.

Image © Andrew Pearson

My Plastic Free Life
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