Written by Kath Hooper.
Even with the best intentions, it can seem as though the recycling bin is full of plastic packaging every week. Despite making a conscious effort to reduce single-use plastic, the war on plastic can feel like a challenge.
Is living plastic-free an eco-aspiration?
We don’t think so. With a few simple switches, you can make a big impact on your plastic use. Let’s focus on the everyday items. If each of us tweaked our purchases of those everyday items, our collective effort would be a valiant assault in our battle to fight the plastic.
Here are our Top 6 easy switches towards living plastic-free.
Well, more specifically, the toothpaste tube. As far as we know, your toothpaste does not contain plastic, or even microbeads.
But those pesky tubes are a problem. They can’t go in your usual household recycling. The tubes are made of various different types of plastic, which makes it difficult to separate and process the tubes at a recycling plant.
There’s really no need to put toothpaste in these tubes. You can reach the equivalent of the last squeeze just as easily with toothpaste in a jar. And a lovely glass jar is reusable, recyclable or can be repurposed for tea lights, or jam - something far more savoury than imperilling marine wildlife at least.
2. Toilet Roll
If Brexit and a global pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the British love toilet roll. Once a nation known for its reservations, the threat of a toilet roll shortage drives the Brits to uninhibited quarrelling in supermarket aisles for the last of the stocks. This is serious stuff.
The problem with our reliance on this commodity (aside from the brawls in the midst of panic) is the plastic. The packaging that wraps toilet roll in the UK equates to around 3 billion square meters of single use plastic every year. That’s a staggering statistic. That’s 30 times the size of Bristol. Every year.
Imagine if every household in the UK refused to contribute to that statistic anymore. That would be a significant milestone in reducing single-use plastic. Why not try unpackaged toilet roll instead or a brand with recyclable packaging? We won’t fight you for it.
Earbuds – one of the most useful things in the bathroom. They tidy up those little makeup mishaps, clean those hard-to-reach inner ears, erase the misplaced nail polish. Where would we be without them? Looking a little less pristine at least.
So popular is our handy ally, the earbud, that we go through about 1.8 billion of them every year in England. The bad news is that a lot of those are single-use plastics, which end up clogging the oceans.
The good news is, there are some superb plastic-free alternatives out there. Try these plastic-free earbuds made from sustainable bamboo and soft cotton. They are 100% biodegradable and you can pop them on your compost after use.
Laundry products tend to come in plastic packaging. Think about your laundry tablets, your fabric softener or your whitening crystals.
But what about those liquid products? We are not advocating a soggy cardboard solution for these. Just use a simple refillable. You’re used to grabbing your reusable water bottle as you leave the house to avoid buying a plastic one. Now you just need a couple of aluminium bottles for your laundry cream and you’ll never need to buy fabric softener in plastic packaging again. Refillable laundry products are a big step towards living plastic-free.
5. Washing up
Remember the last time you made a Tracy Island with your fairy liquid bottle? Neither do we. Those bottles just end up on the discard pile. And then the discard pile ends up on the beaches of our would-be Tracy Islands.
Washing-up liquid is another simple item to refill. Replace your questionable crafting with a walk to the refill, and we think the results will be more satisfying.
Try a refillable washing-up liquid today. The planet will thank you for using sustainable cleaning products.
The brave warrior of the pandemic. Our trusty friend in fighting the flu. The spirited David to the germy Goliath. Soap has achieved elevated celebrity status in 2020 / 2021.
We can honour this little hero by keeping it plastic-free. We want soap that kills germs, not gulls.
A bar of soap is a simple plastic-free alternative to liquid handwash. Replacing your handwash in your kitchen and bathroom with a bar of soap is an easy way to reduce your plastic waste.
But the power of soap doesn’t end there. It’s as versatile as it is tenacious.
You can switch to eco-friendly hair products. Have you tried a shampoo bar yet? Or a shaving soap bar? Remember soap on a rope? Have fun with trying new products, and reducing your plastic waste with it.
You can buy any of these products in our zero waste online shop.
Follow bloop on Instagram for more inspiration.