15 ways to use less plastic AND save money
You'll find single-use plastics in pretty much all aspects of your life, so it can feel quite overwhelming cutting it all out in one go. But if take it one step at a time, it's much more achievable.
- Use a shampoo bar – Yes, shampoo now comes in solid form and it lasts way longer than your usual bottle.
- Ditch the face wipes for a face cloth instead – Face wipes might be convenient but they're super bad for the environment and expensive. Buy one cloth for your face and another for your body, and you're set for weeks
- Use a bar of soap, not a pump – It might seem old fashioned to use a bar of soap these days but again, it'll last way longer, plus it gets a wash after each use (unlike a plastic soap dispenser). Just make sure to find a bar that doesn't come wrapped in plastic
- Get yourself a deodorant bar – and although they might take a little while to get used to, they're better than using a plastic roll-on or spray can. They last forever too if you keep your bar wrapped in paper to preserve the scent
Face cloth - £1.50, Asda; Bar of soap - £5.50 per 120g, Lush; Shampoo bar - £8, Lush; Deoderant bar - £6.50 per 100g, Lush.
- Buy a wooden toothbrush – These aren't to everyone's taste (we mean literally, it sort of feels like licking a tree), but they're much more eco-friendly. Some have handles made from (panda-friendly, sustainable) bamboo, and the bristles are BPA-free* biodegradable nylon 4 (meaning they are plastic, but they will degrade), and they're also infused with bamboo.
- *BPA is a chemical used in plastics that some experts claim is toxic and should be avoided
- Get plastic-free toothpaste –
- Opt for plastic-free makeup – This can be quite difficult when all the major brands use plastic, but there are alternatives out there . You might not get the exact same quality you're used to, but you'll get that extra glow knowing that you're saving the planet
- Try out a menstrual cup – If you're looking for a way to cut plastic out of your periods (and save money), then you could try out a menstrual cup or reusable sanitary pads if they work for you.
- Buy paper-wrapped loo roll –not cheap but good . Once you're finished with it, why not sell your loo roll tubes on to make back some cash? Yes, it can be done!
- Shop at local independent stores – Places like butchers, delis, grocers and markets are much more likely to offer food in plastic-free form than mainstream supermarkets
- Check labels carefully – There are no set rules on how companies must label their packaging with regards to the materials used and their recyclability, and some are much better than others. If you keep your eyes peeled, you'll be surprised to find some food products aren't recyclable at all (while others are that you wouldn't expect)
- Always go for loose fruit and veg, not pre-packaged – This also allows you to only buy as much as you need and will help you save money (and prevent food waste) in the long-run. There's no need to put your veg in those plastic bags either! Your onion will come to no harm if you leave it loose
- Use the frozen aisle for meat – Most fresh and raw meat comes wrapped in plastic, but the freezer aisle is your friend here. Frozen fish fillets and chicken steaks often come in cardboard boxes, but annoyingly it's only the breaded stuff that comes completely plastic-free (which isn't the healthiest option)
- Don't forget tins – You can get so much food in the tin aisle! Beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, tuna, soup - even bacon brunch, whatever that is! Plus, they all have long use-by dates so they'll stop you from chucking away uneaten food - and they're cheap
- Look out for one-offs – A basic apple pie comes in just a cardboard box and a foil carton. Pair that with a tin of custard and you have a dream dessert! Going plastic-free doesn't mean having to cut out all the sugary stuff