As part of Plastic Free July we have discovered lots of lifestyle swaps to help you ditch the plastic even when on the go!
Chargable plastic carrier bags have made a big difference to the number of plastic bags in circulation but let's take it a step further...
There are lots of non-plastic produce and grocery bags, like these from The Kind Store, which also happen to be coloured with natural dyes. The mesh bags are great for purchasing loose fruit, vegetables, nuts and so on.
We also love this tote bag from Lucy & Yak, which uses offcuts from their dungarees. They happen to be a really ethical clothing company too - refreshing!
Short handle organic string shopping bag from The Kind Store
As odd as it sounds, a lot of our clothing contains plastics: microfibres that can get into our water and pollute our oceans.
Friends of the Earth have some great, practical tips on how you can help in this article about microfibres in our clothes >
One suggestion is to wear our clothes longer, this will also help to reduce the environmental impact of the production process. Of course you can still keep your wardrobe refreshed by shopping in charity and vintage stores, as well online retailers such as Etsy and Ebay - sustainable and often saves a few pennies too!
Plus, though it is not related to reducing plastic waste, why not utilise a local library or book exchange. We love seeing them pop up in unusual places and the sharing nature gives you a warm feeling too!
Inventive book exchange
As with clothing, the best way to reduce your environmental impact is to buy less and keep items longer, but if you do need something new, especially a phone cover to preserve your mobile for longer, check out these eco alternatives:
PELA have made sustainable accessorising cool with a great range of phone cases and sunglasses made from bioplastics. The material is a starch based biopolymer with flax straw waste added for extra strength.
Their products are compostable, so once you are done with it or it breaks you can return it to the earth by adding it to your compost bin.
Pela zero-waste accessories range
Expensive, full of single use plastics and all at a time of the month that you could do without it; feminine hygiene products literally cost the Earth.
The search for plastic-free re-usable options has lead to some really great products being released; we particularly like the Earthwise girls range of washable sanitary pads, which are discreet and very comfortable to wear.
Menstrual cups are also a healthy and convenient alternative to tampons, and they really help to reduce waste. We like these from Mooncup.
Plus, there are now 'period pants' on the market - it takes a while to get your head around them not leaking and holding up to 4 tampons worth of blood but they are great. We especially like that you can get them in cotton too - like these from Thinx, whose sister company THINX (BTWN) also do a range specifically for younger girls.
These solutions are very cost effective too – no more tampon tax!
Mooncup - reusable period cup
They're super cute and we love them to bits but their poop? Not so much! It is smelly, carries disease and as a nation of dog lovers, our canine friends produce a disproportionate amount of it. If it is not picked up and disposed of it becomes a problem, but sticking it in a plastic bag that will preserve it for years in landfill is really not a green solution.
There are companies working on some solutions, our favourite so far are these compostable poop bags by Beco Pets that you can chuck in your home compost bin. They also do a great range of plastic-free pet toys too!
They may be degradable but only if they're popped in the compost bin, they still don't make good tree decorations!
To read more about the ongoing dilemma of the best environmental approach to dog poo check out this article in The Guardian >
Compostable dog poo bags
Gifts can be tricky, but when it comes to children it can be difficult to avoid plastic toys mounting up.
Thankfully, the number of great plastic-free toy options is increasing. Two of our favourites are the wooden toys from Plan Toys and also, if you have to have plastic, the great range from Green Toys that are made from recycled milk bottles.
Wooden bucket and spade set by Plan Toys
And while we are on the subject of children's toys, what about party bags?! Often full of 'plastic tat' but a much loved feature of birthday party (for the children at least).
We like these eco-friendly ideas:
- Magic seeds - a selection of wild flower seeds for them to sprinkle in the garden
- A book - you can usually pick up the full Mr Men/Little Miss collection without breaking the budget
- Recycled crayons - chop up old crayon bits and bake them in the oven on a low heat until they melt into shaped moulds
Recycled crayons - great for colourful party bags
And let's not forget us adults too...
We all suffer a little from an over accumulation of 'stuff' and we are encouraged by the shift towards valuing experiences and memories over 'things'.
Of course we are a little biased but we really do think a CraftCourses Gift Voucher makes the best present! It can be used on any of the thousands of courses listed on our website and there are hundreds of crafts to choose from, all across the UK!
If you enjoyed reading this take a look at our other Plastic Free July articles >