Plastic-Free Student: New Year’s Resolution? No Plastic Pollution
We all love making new year’s resolutions. Check out this quick guide from our blogger Evie on how to make this year's resolution: no more plastic pollution!
New year’s resolutions are often about health or fitness, motivated by the inevitable winter weight gain. This year I’ve been reading a lot about “Veganuary” – attempting to adopt a vegan diet for the month of January, which benefits your health, animal welfare, and the environment by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions caused by animal agriculture (More on that here).
If you’re looking for a way to change your lifestyle in 2018, why not consider reducing your plastic waste?! Not only will it be something to challenge yourself with daily, it will be benefitting the planet. You may start to notice that you’re surrounded by seemingly unavoidable plastic, so the best way to start is to ease yourself into it with some simple swaps:
1. PLASTIC BAGS
We all know plastic bags are utterly useless! So why not commit yourself to not using them? They’re flimsy, break easily, and in the UK cost 5p, and where do you even store them? In another plastic bag. You have a few options:
Firstly, if you leave your bags at home and you have no other option but to buy bags in the shop then buy the ‘Bag-for-Life’ option, these are still made of plastic unfortunately so aren’t the best – but are the best out of a bad bunch as they can last you a good few years.
There are endless styles of cloth bags you can use, from the classic tote style to the easy backpack! Try and find what suits you best and eventually you won’t leave home without it.
2. WATER BOTTLES
It is so easy to pick up a bottle of water from the shop, and they’re so cheap too! But before you know it, they’ve got that gross taste to them and you’ve accidentally collected 12 and left them around your home. Good news! You can avoid that guilty feeling by investing in a reusable bottle, there are many options on the market and unfortunately many are still made of plastic. But I have noticed a lot of advertising for metal water bottles too recently, such as the Hydro Flask or Kleen Kanteen and there are even glass bottles too. These bottles still have some plastic incorporated into them, however they are a much better alternative, and many can act as a thermos flask, and some are dishwasher safe too!
Plastic straws in 2018 are so unnecessary when there are metal, paper, and glass alternatives! Remember to order your drink without a straw and maybe even talk to the bar/restaurant/pub you’re in and see what they think about only giving out straws when requested. Help do your bit in spreading our #StopSucking campaign!
4. FOOD PACKAGING
When you next wander into a supermarket, have a look around and see just how many products are wrapped in plastic. Honestly this one is quite hard to avoid, but if you have the opportunity to visit a farmer’s market, then pack up your bags and go! You can hand pick your fruit and veg, and you may find meat and fish there too. Often the meat/fish products will be wrapped in plastic, but you could try taking some paper bags or tupperware for your first trip and ask the stallholders to use them instead for your products!
5. TAMPONS & SANITARY PADS
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed the plastic in and around sanitary products, and it got me thinking about how I can reduce my plastic consumption during that time of the month. I discovered Tampax with Cardboard Applicators, which still contain some plastic, but considerably less than tampons which use plastic applicators. There are many other brands which are plastic-free, biodegradable, and cruelty-free such as TOTM and Natracare which supply both tampons and sanitary pads. Additionally, you could try use the Mooncup which is washable and reusable, and reduces your waste overall! Next month, try and browse the products available to you and switch out your plastic products for these environmentally conscious alternatives.