So, we've all heard it; “reduce your plastic consumption”, but how annoying is that actually going to be ?
I am not a total zero-waste warrior (getting there), but I can safely say I have definitely been able to strip some of the convenience-packaging from my life. Surprisingly without it being too horribly inconvenient !
Here are my top tips; convenience tested, and inconvenience-proof:
Always carry with you a shopping bag, a refillable water bottle, reusable coffee cup, and a fork !
Yes, I always have a fork in my bag, and would highly recommend ! You don't need to take a new plastic one every time you buy a Pret salad! Keep one from your next takeaway- wash it, and reuse it! Plastic is weirdly durable like that.. Or invest in one of those snazzy eco travel sporks. Or just take a fork/spoon from your own kitchen drawer.
Buy loose fruit and veg !
This has become something I can’t actually see myself going back on. I have discovered it incredibly liberating to be able to pick the fruit and veg I'm going to eat, rather than taking the supermarket roulette and maybe being stuck with one gammy pepper in the packet! Very often, buying loose works out cheaper too as you pay by weight (try it, you will be surprised!!), and you buy the quantity you actually need (reducing food waste too!).
Buy in bulk !
If you are going to buy a bag of lentils for example, buy the 1kg bag instead of 500g, and 500g next week again. This reduces the overall packaging (as you are only consuming/chucking 1 item of plastic instead of 2), again, is likely to favour your wallet too, dry ingredients keep for aaagggees!
It is also greatly therapeutic pouring dry beans, nuts, seeds, pasta into jars (don’t judge before you try it), and there is something very aesthetically pleasing about being able to see all your ingredients in your beautiful Pinterest/Instagrammable cupboard/ shelf of glass jars.
There are also these amazing shops which sell dry ingredients by the weight, WITHOUT ANY PACKAGING! If you live close to one of these, I would highly recommend supporting them. A simple Google search will let you know if you do, and all you do is take along some of your own containers (or snazzy hessian bags if thats you), and fill them up with your goods!
You can often find anything from quinoa to toothpaste, to pecans to oats to mung beans, you might be surprised just how much you can get, and how little plastic you will save !
Pack your own food, in reusable containers !
If the only deterrent is a little forward thinking and prep, I would still say this is also a very reasonably realistic swap!
This will save you from buying packaged meals and snacks on the go, also, again, save you money (I’m seeing a theme here), and if you prepared it, it is likely to be something you will look forward to eating! (If you don't look forward to eating your own food, start following some food bloggers, buy a recipe book, get inspired, be creative and learn to enjoy it!)
Get involved in beach cleans and litter pick ups!
Yeah, next time you see these advertised on social media or on a poster, don't ignore it, go along! Enjoy getting out in nature, take friends and make a social day of it ! (You’re also bound to make new friends too).
Before I did my first beach clean, I was actually unaware of just how large our plastic problem is. I’d read stuff, and heard how bad it all was, but actually getting out there, seeing it all, and seeing how out of place and ugly it looked in nature made me seriously relook at my own plastic consumption.
Or, even better, if you live or are going somewhere natural that you think might be rubbish-y, take some extra bags and do a little tidy!
It goes without saying to always take your own rubbish away with you and put it in some form of bin, but if you see any extra waste/plastic/something that doesn't belong there, throw that away too! (If its gross, put your hand in an inside out plastic bag/ whatever you're throwing away into. I’m sure nature thinks its gross too but they cant do anything about it).
In summary, here are 5 highly reasonable ways that you can be friendly towards your planet, in the hope you might not leave it in a worse state you found it.
I challenge you to introduce yourself to the first 3, with the intention of working your way up to the full house !
I’d like to thank Tesco for introducing us to a beautiful little phrase that is so perfectly relevant to an multitude of situations,
“Every little helps !”
Its the little things which collectively, will make a big difference.
(But I mean it would be great if they would reduce their unnecessary plastic wrapping (ie covering things like bananas and avocados when Mother Nature already gave them a perfectly good wrapping called a skin).
I digress, REMEMBER; You are not too small too make a difference.