8 Tips to help you reduce your plastic waste today – Magda Wieczorek

Nov 23, 2018 | Blog, Nutrition, Wellness

Since I was a little kid I remember using a phrase “I will throw it away” not even once thinking what happens to it the moment a bin lorry takes it away. I really believed that everything just magically disappears, only to later in life realise that nothing, especially when made out of plastic really does.

We hear about plastic pollution at least once every day. TV News, newspapers, even fashion magazines talk about the effects plastic has on our planet. It is by for one of the most talked about topics alongside sustainability (oh, and maybe Brexit but I will not bore you with that!). From fashion to politics, everyone is talking about making a change and reducing their plastic waste, or reducing their waste in general. The Zero Waste movement seems to be growing faster than anything I’ve ever seen and it’s definitely a right thing to do. It was an amazing victory when recently, the European Parliament announced a ban on selected single use plastic from 2021, and I kid you not I let out a victorious cheer when I heard it! Even though not all single use plastic will be banned, this is a proof that we see the problem and are willing to do something about it.

For me, the journey started 3 years ago. See I always wanted to do something for the environment, I cycled where I could, took short showers, used my reusable shopping bag and carried a reusable coffee cup with me wherever I went. I remember as if it was today looking at the video of the sea turtle with a straw stuck up his nose, thinking about how much plastic I actually use and wondering how many straws I must have used with my drinks over the summer. I have to say I felt quite uncomfortable with the result. About a week later, as I returned from my weekly supermarket shop, I laid everything out to put it away and was astounded by the amount of the single use plastic that I could not avoid. The salad packaging, the meat that I was eating at the time, rice and pasta – everything was wrapped in a single use plastic and living in central London, I did not have any alternative at my doorstep so I started looking into where I can make an immediate change as I realised we do not have Planet B so I wanted to share with you some of my top tips on how to reduce your single use plastic pollution, trust me, it won’t take much of your time and in the longer term it will also save you money!

  1. Get a reusable water bottle. I do not leave my house without a reusable, steel water bottler. I take it everywhere, even when I fly abroad as all airports now have refill stations which is great! A lot of coffee shops within London will also refill your bottle for free! This is probably the biggest step towards the change that you can take right now. There is so many brands selling those at the moment. If we look back down the history lane, you’ll know that first plastic bottle was commercially used in 1947. If someone dropped it to the ocean at that time, and no doubt someone did, that bottle is still floating somewhere. Even by 2397 it would not be completely decomposed as it would turn into a micro-plastic.
  2. Get a reusable coffee mug. And this may also save you money! Since I got my mug I make a lot of my coffees or teas at home saving on the trips to a local coffee shop! However, if you prefer the barista made option, most coffee shops will now offer a discount of up to £0.50 when you bring your own cup! If you have a coffee a day it could save you up to £130 every year!
  3. Carry reusable cutlery. You may think it’s funny or cheap but plastic utensils take up to 450 years to disintegrate. Just think about how much you can do by using your own at the coffee shop or take away restaurant! I use reusable bamboo cutlerywhich comes in a discreet carry pouch but you can also take the metal cutlery from home. I dismissed that idea when I realised that it rattled in my bag quite a lot, it also adds a bit of weight. Bamboo option was lighter and more appealing to me, it is very eco-friendly too!
  4. Carry a reusable shopping bag. This is one of the simples and easiest things to do. Plastic bags in stores are just unnecessary and even putting a charge on it does not stop a lot of people from continuing to use them. Yes they are convenient but they look awful, smell awful and are super damaging to the environment. There is so many beautiful options you can choose from. You can either support your local charity, get one from a supermarket or even make your own!
  5. Say no to the straw. If you are reading this, I assume you’re an adult, do you really need a straw? Probably not. Plastic straws are the most useless utensil ever developed and should be completely banned for use in hospitality industry. I added a bamboo straw from Zero Waste Clubto my kit and it works a treat although I really do not use it very much!
  6. Use a soap. It may seem a little old school but if you are from my era, you were raised using an actual old school soaps. I do not remember having a shower gel in a plastic bottle on the bath from my childhood memories. I remember a bathing sponge and a soap on a metal holder. Funnily enough, this is exactly what I use now but the sponge got replaced with organic cotton flannel. My favourite brand of soap at the moment is Primal Suds, they do male and female version and they are completely plastic or paraben free, made of only natural and organic ingredients. What’s even better, it is a family run business so by supporting them, you make someone’s life just a little bit better.
  7. Ditch the make-up remover. Coconut oil is the most amazing product out there. I use it to whiten my teeth, nourish my hair and also as a make-up remover. All you need to do is rub a little bit on your finger tips and use your hands to gently massage your eyes and face. Use a flannel to gently wipe it off. I usually use a dry flannel, then follow with a wet one. Using a flannel will help you reduce the waste of cotton pads too!
  8. Shop locally. Farmers markets are a great place to get your fruits and vegetables. It is probably the only place where you can buy everything without a plastic wrap, even spinach! Make sure that you bring your reusable produce and carrier bags!

These are just a few tips that will significantly help the environment pretty much immediately. You may think “oh it’s just one straw” “it’s just one plastic bottle” “one person can’t change the world”… however, there is over 7 billion of us here and imagine if everyone thought the same.

If you have any questions or need advice, do not hesitate to get in touch. I will be super happy to help!

P.S. I just want to let you know that I was in no way sponsored by any of the brands mentioned in this post. The recommendations are purely based on my own experience and products purchased personally, not gifted!

Love & Light,
Magda Wieczorek, Author of Easy Way to Go Vegan

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