Hi, I'm Sophie. I'm a Postgraduate Student studying a Research degree in Media and Cultural Studies. I'm also a photographer and big lover of dogs!
Living in a very plastic-filled world, finding alternatives and avoiding plastic use can be pretty tricky. Though recycling your plastics goes one step towards helping the planet, avoiding single use plastics will help even further. Thankfully, the problem is being recognised and more and more plastic alternatives are being discovered.
Here are 5 ideas for swaps you could make to help reduce plastic use and take a step towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Metal or bamboo straws:
Probably the most talked about is the use of straws. Whilst swapping out the types of straw you use won’t single-handedly combat climate change, it will go a step towards making change.
Instead of picking up plastic straws, try sourcing reusable ones made out of stainless steel or glass. These are reusable and often come with a small brush to make cleaning even easier.
One of the biggest unexpected changes I made was to buy a set of reusable cutlery. Made from recycled plastic found in the ocean, this set fits handily in your bag and is there in any case to save from using single-use plastic cutlery when out and about.
Another largely talked about swap is to reusable bags. Many people will already know about the benefits of using reusable bags to do your shop instead of the plastics they offer.
However many of these products themselves will be packaged in unnecessary plastic. The biggest culprit of this is fruit and veg. Try buying a net bag for your fresh produce and buying loose to save on the pre-packaged items. Often this will also help reduce food waste, as you will only be buying what you need, rather than just picking up what is available.
Bulk buy foods:
In the same vein, bulk buying dried goods is a great way to save on plastic. Many eco-shops are now available where you can fill re-usable jars with many different products.
A great one available in Lincoln is the Eco-Pantry on the Bailgate. Not only do they have many products available for the kitchen, but they have many plastic-free alternatives for the entire home, from cleaning supplies, to hygiene, and even various cloths and materials.
Wax wraps instead of cling film:
Cling film can be a very handy and versatile product, but its single-use means it is very bad for the environment. Instead, try using wax wraps to cover your food. Working by the heat of your hand, wax wraps are suitable for covering anything you would normally use cling film for.
Though many of these wraps are made from beeswax, a vegan alternative is also available, usually made from olive or sunflower wax.
In general, many materials to look for when swapping out plastics include those such as bamboo, glass, stainless steel, or naturally derived ingredients such as food fibers.
Thanks to realisations of how bad plastic is for the planet, these are now readily available in many shops, and many places now automatically have more eco-friendly alternatives for use.
Hopefully this article has helped spark some ideas for how you can live more eco-friendly and plastic-free, and just remember that no matter how small the swap, it is still making a long-term difference.