Ever since David Attenborough released Blue Planet II, the issue of plastic pollution has been firmly in the public consciousness. Up until then, many of us had not realized the true impact of our throw-away culture and even now, plastic is seen as an irreplaceable product. It is absolutely vital in some situations, for example, fire-fighters wear special plastic-based uniforms to protect them from fires and medical supplies are required to be single use to prevent cross-contamination. However, there are many other products that the world could do without. While the onus should be on the manufacturers to change their processes, consumers have a very powerful tool at their disposal too. Making plastic-free swaps reduces demand and encourages manufacturers to change. Here are five plastic swaps that you can make today.
Of course, at HydrateM8, we are huge advocates of the reusable water bottle. There is a huge market for convenience drinks, since they are readily available and provide the relief that we need from hot weather or exercise. However, by filling up your own water bottle with your choice of beverage, you stop adding to the 38.5 million bottles that head to UK landfill every day. Only half of those bottles are placed in recycling, and only around 7% are actually then recycled! Refill for the planet!
There are similar issues around the use of disposable coffee cups. In theory, these cups are recyclable, but the effort that needs to be put into separating the cardboard and plastic means they very rarely are. By taking your own HydrateM8 coffee cup with you when you head out of the house, you can still enjoy your favourite brand-name hot drink but ask them to fill up your cup instead. Many chains even give a discount to customers that do this.
Reusable Food Wraps
Cling film is fiddly, impossible to recycle and a real threat when it makes its way into the environment. It can also be a hassle when it doesn’t fit properly in a drawer! Reusable food wraps are a great way to keep food fresh without the need for this plastic product. There are various different types on the market – beeswax wraps are incredibly popular, but you can also get silicone ones or cotton ones if you prefer.
Traditional washing-up sponges are a blight to the planet, sitting in landfill for far longer than their average lifespan. Loofahs make for a fantastic alternative, being gentle enough to scrub without damaging delicate pots and pans and flexible enough to get into those tighter areas. They dry easily when not in use, can be cleaned in the dishwasher and are compostable when they finally reach the end of their useful life. You can even look into growing your own!
Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
If you are one of those really good people who remembers to take their makeup off at the end of the day, you probably get through a lot of cotton balls or wipes. The waste this creates soon adds up, but reusable makeup remover pads can simply be placed in the washing machine after each use, so that you can look after your skin while also taking care of the planet.
All our plastic products are slowly being replaced with sustainable alternatives, but these are some of the easiest swaps you can make and a great place to start. Trying to find zero-waste options for every aspect of your life will reduce your impact on the world.