To celebrate Plastic Free July, here are ten easy swaps to help you use less plastic in your every day life. Even small changes add up over time, and will contribute to making a world where plastic is the exception, rather than the norm.
Already a plastic free expert? Try the bonus points for extra tips.
- Wrap gifts in recycled gift wrap, magazines or newspapers. Bonus point - try furoshiki, the Japanese art of gift wrapping in a recycled piece of fabric or a scarf you no longer wear.
- Use your local refill shop. Not only are they useful for dry goods, they often stock all sorts of eco friendly household goods, like scouring pads & dishcloths. Bonus point for taking your own container.
- Swap shower gel for a bar of soap. Bonus point if it's unwrapped, another if it's made using traditional techniques by a small scale producer and another if it's palm oil free. Oh, that's me ;-)
- Switch to solid shampoo. It may take some experimenting to get one that suits your hair, but think of the amount of plastic you'll save over a lifetime! Bonus point if you use a solid conditioner bar too.
- Invest in a reusable coffee cup that you love so much you'll want to drink all your takeaway coffee in. Bonus point if it's made from recyclable materials.
- Remember to take your reusable shopping bags with you - they're no good at home when you're in Lidl. Bonus point for making your own from an old t-shirt (just sew the hems together and cut off the sleeves or try this no-sew version).
- Reuse glass jars - although glass is infinitely recyclable, the recycling process takes huge amounts of energy so reuse if you can. Bonus point for using them to grow air purifying plants you've grown from cuttings (they'll thrive if you add a decent layer of grit or gravel for drainage first and take care not to overwater them).
- Pick up a packet of wooden pegs when your washing line is looking sparse. Bonus point if you buy them from your high street hardware shop.
- Use your local milk delivery service - fresh milk delivered to your doorstep. Bonus point for using the service to deliver other goods - many will deliver newspapers, eggs, juice and even non-dairy milk.
- Water bottles seem such an obvious choice to make, but I'm always surprised how many plastic ones I still see everywhere. Bonus point if yours is made of recycled materials. Another bonus point if you invest in a copper bottle which gives extra health benefits according to Ayurvedic practitioners. I love my Dunya Ayurveda bottle, bought in Camden Market).
Of course there are thousands of plastic free swaps you can make - these are just a few.
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Find out more and sign up to the Plastic Free Pledge at Plastic Free July.
And if you're local to Stroud, why not follow the brilliant Stroud District Action Against Plastic on Instagram & Twitter?
College Green is a tiny business making natural soaps, bath soaks, candles, reed diffusers and gift boxes in small batches. I use glass, paper, cardboard and cellulose as packaging and recycle cardboard and packing materials when I send orders in the post.
I'm the proud holder of a Plastic Free Champion Award from Surfers Against Sewage for my commitment to sustainable packaging and reducing unnecessary waste, and have been recommended in The Telegraph guide to the Cotswolds.
You'll find me on the fourth Saturday of the month at Stroud Farmers' Market with lots of plastic-free goods for the bath, body and home.