Sustainability

Living Plastic Free: Killer Advice To Get You Started

5 months ago

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Living Plastic Free: Killer Advice To Get You Started

It’s pretty likely that our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

Chances are, you don’t want to contribute to that problem.

Ideally, you’d like to do your bit to tackle it.

In this post, 5 people share their experiences and fantastic advice to help you get started with living plastic free.

(They also all have fantastic websites, so click on their names to help them out too)

Living Plastic Free | Jason Wicks

Charlie, 23, Cardiff

Living Plastic Free | Jason Wicks

What’s your top tip for living plastic-free?
Fresh, frequent, freeze.

Buy unpackaged fresh produce, ideally from local markets or greengrocers.

Make smaller, more frequent purchases only for what you need rather than buying packaged bulk.

Freeze what you don’t use to save for later.

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Being a pescatarian I only really eat fresh, sustainably sourced fish or Quorn.

The packaging around these, however, is an issue in itself but I now buy fish only when I need it and take my own container to the fishmongers to save on plastic.

What’s your favourite plastic-free company to buy from?
My favourite business I’ve shopped with so far has to be Natural Weigh, a new zero waste shop up in Crickhowell. I’d love for a zero waste shop to open in Cardiff! Such an easy & surprisingly convenient way of stocking up.

What advice would you give somebody looking to start living plastic-free?
Small changes make a big difference. Little and often is the key. You can’t change everything all at once. Even a small change is better than nothing!

What do you think needs to happen for us to solve the plastic problem?
Teach kids the importance of sustainability from an early age, making environmentally friendly behaviours the norm before bad habits start creeping in.


Jen, 40, Wiltshire

Plastic Free Living | Jason Wicks

What’s your top tip for living plastic-free?
Focus on the things you CAN do.

We can all tackle the ‘big 4’ of plastic bags, coffee cups, water bottles and straws pretty easily. Work on these first, and take it one step at a time. Never underestimate the power of your individual actions and choices.

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
It can be overwhelming.

I aspire in my head to be plastic free but then I open my fridge and see the milk bottles and the yoghurt pots and it feels impossible. Deciding on ONE thing to focus on at a time, and creating a plan for that one thing really works for me. So my next focus is yoghurt and I’m going to experiment finding a reliable method to make my own that fits easily into daily life.

Then the next thing will be those milk bottles..!

What’s your favourite plastic-free company to buy from?
I’ve just discovered The Plastic Free Pantry who are an online plastic free shop. We don’t have a bulk or plastic free store near us so being able to order from them online has been amazing!

What advice would you give somebody looking to start living plastic-free?
Pick one thing at a time.

Know that all of our small individual actions add up to make a big difference. And get the support of like-minded people – you really don’t have to do this alone!

What do you think needs to happen for us to solve the plastic problem?
A ban on single use plastic would make a massive difference to help us tackle the plastic problem as soon as possible. Lobbying government and our MPs to let them know that this is an issue we really care about is something we can all do.


Christian, 39, Cardiff

What’s your top tip for living plastic-free?
Always have a bag for life and coffee cup for life to hand.

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Going to the butcher.

Fortunately, I’ve chatted with him, and he’s happy for me (and other customers) to take our own tupperware into which he puts his meat. He also now wraps most of his products in paper, not plastic.

What’s your favourite plastic-free company to buy from?
For non-plastic items, I love Plain Useful

I’ve bought things like copper scourers and non-plastic dish cleaning brushes from there. They arrived wrapped in paper, with a hand written note – nice touch!

As a runner and outdoor nut, I also love Howies. They make great, low impact outdoor gear. And like me, they’re Welsh.

What advice would you give somebody looking to start living plastic-free?
Start small. Choose one or two things and go from there. But beware: once you start, you can’t stop!

What do you think needs to happen for us to solve the plastic problem?
Legislation and government action.

Yes, everyone’s got a role to play, but nothing will change behaviour as quickly as decisive government action.


Izzy, 32, Hastings

Plastic Free Living | Jason Wicks

What’s your top tip for living plastic-free?
Take it steady so it doesn’t get expensive.

Don’t rush out and buy a bamboo toothbrush. Wait until you need to buy a new one then get one, so you absorb the cost in your day-to-day budget.

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
I’m not fully plastic free yet, but explaining to my four year old is difficult. Luckily there are lots of resources out there, such as CBeebies Octonauts, Blue Planet II (suitable for all ages) and some fab books.

What’s your favourite plastic-free company to buy from?
Naturally, I want to say mine, (www.noplasticshop.co.uk).

But for me, it is my local greengrocers and butchers. My greengrocer will loan a punnet to help take soft fruit such as strawberries home then take them back again next time I go.

What advice would you give somebody looking to start living plastic-free?
Don’t underestimate how difficult it is, but don’t beat yourself up if you forget to take shopping bags etc and need a plastic one.

Remember, if you start cutting down now, over your lifetime it will make a huge difference.

What do you think needs to happen for us to solve the plastic problem?
I think it would be everyone realising that they can personally make a difference and adapting the way they shop and how they view their personal consumption habits.

Waiting around for government initiatives isn’t going to cut it.


Charlotte, 29, Sussex

Plastic Free Living | Jason Wicks

What’s your top tip for living plastic-free?
Ask yourself ‘What happens to this after I’m done with it? It will help you look at things differently.

I would also say don’t try to do everything all at once. Introduce changes slowly, bit by bit. Once you’ve nailed one change, move to the next.

A reusable water bottle is probably the easiest switch to make instantly and it will save you money!

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Getting into the mindset of being prepared at all times.

There are naturally going to be obstacles when you’re on the go so I carry a water bottle, a keep cup, a spork and a cotton tote bag in the bottom of my backpack so I’m always ready.

What’s your favourite plastic-free company to buy from?
Naturally, I am going to say Charlotte’s Cupboard as co-founder and director.

However, Jaju Beans & Leaves who supply our loose leaf teas and Crafthouse Coffee who supply our coffee beans are also fantastic. Raven also supply our vegan chocolate and the Organic Herb Trading Company supply us with herbs and spices.

What advice would you give somebody looking to start living plastic-free?
No change is too small or insignificant.

If you can commit to eliminating 1 piece of plastic form your daily life, just think how much over the course of a year this can add up to.

What do you think needs to happen for us to solve the plastic problem?
People in places of power need to lead by example. It is all very well having our governments say that we need to reduce our plastic use but what are they doing in their own lives to tackle this?

Changes need to come from the top and not only on the legislation side. Society needs to be led by example.


Summary:

  • Plastic is a growing problem in our society.
  • There are practical ways to reduce your usage, and every individual action really does help.
  • There are plenty of companies out there providing plastic-free products.
  • Government action and better environmental education are needed to solve the problem faster.
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Hi! I’m an author and blogger within the fields of social impact and responsible business. I believe that businesses can be a force for good in the world, and this website contains my thoughts on how that can work.

2 Comments
  1. […] many ways, this post follows on from my recent plastic free living article. While that article looked at consumers, this one looks at the business side of […]

  2. […] reducing consumption all together is often the best starting point. In fact, most of the tips from my plastic free post are about reducing and […]

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