More and more, we are starting to think about the effect we have on the world.
From our food choices to the amount we use our cars and how much waste we produce, many of us are becoming eco-conscious and starting to make better choices for the environment.
In the last year or so, the problem of plastic has become a serious issue, especially between supermarkets and consumers. We all know the impact that plastic can have on the environment - after all, who can erase those horrific images of plastics washed up on shores or killing our precious marine life?
So what changes can we make? How do we begin to cut back on plastics, or even start to make the switch to zero waste? Here are our top tips on how you can do your bit to cut back on plastics - especially when it comes to food! Read on, and please feel free to share your tips with us @sweetpeapantry!
1) What Can You Ditch?
First of all, have a rummage through your bins (yes, really!) and make a note of the plastics you’re throwing out. What’s really necessary, and what can be cut back on? Now you know your own situation, you can start to cut back on your biggest plastic offenders.
2) Treat Yourself
Before you head to the supermarket to do your weekly shop, treat yourself to a cloth or even mesh bag - we find it helps to stash one in each of our handbags, purses and even the car! This will help you to avoid the plastic bags at checkouts, saving you money in turn as well.
3) Bring Your Own
When you’re travelling, try to avoid buying bottles of water on the hop. Instead, pack your own, reuseable water bottle (ideally one that is free from BPA) to take with you and sip from. Similarly, if you can’t walk past the local coffee shop without grabbing a takeaway turmeric latte to go, why not bring a travel mug with coffee from home instead? Many coffee chains now offer discounts to customers who bring in their own cup. Shockingly, of the 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups that us Brits use each year, only a quarter of these are recycled.
As well as this, try to say no to the takeaways! Cook from scratch at home and, rather than buying pre-packaged sandwiches or shop-bought salads, aim to pack your own lunch or meal in stainless steel containers or bento boxes. We also suggest bringing your own cutlery from home to avoid plastic spoons or forks. You could even try making your own salad in a jar! FYI, our energy balls make the perfect lunch companion, and you’ll save money and feel healthier, too!
4) Skip on Packaging
Wherever you can, try to avoid products with lots of plastic packaging. Find supermarkets or markets which sell fruit and veg loose, and aim to make whatever foods you can from scratch at home. You could also try buying certain items in bulk to cut back on excess waste. Ocado now has a 'plastic-free aisle' so let's start our shopping there!
5) Shop Locally
When you’re shopping in supermarkets, it can often be tricky to avoid plastic packaging and excess waste. However, many independent shops and stores, or even farmers’ markets, will sell foods including fruit, veg, lentils and pulses loose, without any packaging. You can also find your nearest food Refill Stations (shops that allow you to top up on foods without buying packaging, too) by visiting Zero Waste Home.
6) Say No to Straws
Straws are one of the biggest problems when it comes to washing up on shores, so aim to say no to a straw next time you’re in a bar or restaurant. If you really like to sip from a straw, why not purchase a reusable one, made from stainless steel or even bamboo? If you’re feeling extra brave, you could even ask the bar manager of your favourite haunt to switch the plastic straws for paper ones instead!
7) Sip Loose Leaf Tea
Many tea companies (although not all!) use plastics in their tea bags. To avoid adding to the problem, why not try sipping on a loose tea blend next time you fancy a cuppa?
8) Avoid Bottled Toiletries
Wherever you can, try to avoid the urge to buy bottles of shampoo, soaps or other toiletries. Instead, why not try mixing it up by using a plastic-free shampoo bar, or a bar of soap next time you’re in the shower? If you really can’t bear the thought of ditching your favourite shampoo and conditioner, then aim to buy it in bulk so you waste less.
While we’re on the subject of toiletries, you should also aim to avoid micro beads, which are found in some face washes and soaps (although they have now been banned by the UK government), and also glitter, which is a micro plastic.