• Avoid shrinkwrap – Choose products in paperboard packaging. Actively choose soft drinks, mixers and beers in paperboard instead of in plastic shrinkwrap. Why these types of products are still in plastic wrapping is hard to fathom….
• If a multipack option works best for you (and your budget) Go for it….! It is entirely frustrating to see deals where you are essentially paying less for more plastic wrapping. However, a good bargain is hard to pass up. But…..we know there are alternative ways to bundle products, so remove the outer plastic and leave it behind you in the store. Leaving excess packaging behind sends a clear message that it is not needed.
• Select boxes of tissues instead of their plastic wrapped alternatives. If you suffer from Hay Fever, you will appreciate the volume of tissue boxes used.
• Actively select toilet paper wrapped in paper – a viable alternative to plastic and a small step to reduce your plastic usage.
• Save on plastic by using every last bit of toner before changing out the toner bottle. When you see the message “ Toner Low – Replacement not yet needed”, make sure you have a replacement on hand. When the message pops up “ Replace Toner”, then change out your toner.
• Swap & Save – Swap the plastic condiment bottles for their more sustainable glass alternatives. Sauces, Salad Dressing, Condiments, Oil. Many of these are supplied in glass containers. Yes, they are a little heavier but can be fully recycled at your local bottle bank. Yoghurts and Cordials have also recently joined the ranks of glass packaging. Combine your bottle bank trip with your shopping trip to save time and fuel for recycling.
• Skin is in! Bring your own cotton/net shopping bags for loose fruit and vegetables – Better by far than their single use plastic alternatives. Give me any reason why bananas need to be in plastic….??? And although Covid has resulted in far more packaging being used, remember, it is always best practise to wash your fruit and vegetables prior to use. So, as you are washing it anyway, buy it loose!
• Pick and Pack for the Perfect Picnic! Use re-useable containers for all your picnic lunches.
Perfect Picnics are plastic free. It takes a bit of planning and organisation but it is worth it.
• Remember, the real demon is single use plastic – reusable containers are very available and can be used for picnics and school/work lunches. Certainly, glass containers are useful too but I won’t be giving glass containers to my children any time soon!
• Move to a bamboo toothbrush – more available now than ever. These are a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes. The bristles still need to be disposed of in your general waste but the actual bamboo part can be used in a multitude of ways – dividing your vegetable bed, labelling plants or even for art creations. There are subscription services whereby a new toothbrush is automatically delivered every 3-4 months – this could be a super Christmas/Birthday present for an eco-conscious friend.
• Go Back to the Bar – Soap! We are talking about soap! Bars of soap have really come back into favour and are very available. Frustratingly, they are often sold as a multi-pack in plastic wrapping, but that can be left behind in the store. To avoid the main gripe about soap, that it gets everywhere and is messy, use a soap rest. The best one I have found is a coconut fiber soap rest. The brand is Safix and it costs about €2.95 – I love these as the soap stays on the rest, it doesn’t leave bits of it around the sink and it helps the soap to dry in between use.
• Compost your cup – Most takeaway drinks are now supplied in a compostable cup – Bring it home and put it in the Brown Bin so that it can do what it says on the cup. If thrown into general waste, it won’t compost properly. Ideally, bring your own reusable cup. This has been troublesome due to Covid but hopefully, with more of us asking for it to happen again, it will be made possible. Until then, if you must have a coffee when out, then bring it back home and dispose of correctly
• Use BioBags for your compost waste – these are a great option to keep your compost bin cleaner and easier to use. I often use a paper bag when I have lots of vegetable peelings and am going straight to the compost bin with the waste.
These are some easy but practical alternatives to plastic use – the power of one makes change possible but the power of many makes change happen.