Tips to reduce your single-use plastic waste

We have all seen the damage single-use plastic can cause and its effect on the environment. Being based in Kent it’s unpleasant to see the impact plastic waste has on our lovely coastal towns and countryside.

There are so many simple ways to reduce your everyday usage from affordable swaps to making environmentally friendly choices when planning family days out. We have put together a simple list of tips to help you easily reduce your plastic usage.

Choose to re-use

When it comes to your water bottle or coffee cup try swapping from plastic bottles or takeaway cups to reusable alternatives. There are many options on the market from stainless steel bottles that keep your drink cool or hot, to reusable hard plastic double-walled bottles and travel cups or ceramic options. Making this change not only reduces your plastic waste but, in most café and restaurants you will receive a discount if you opt to use your own reusable cup rather than a takeaway cup. Here at Swale Heating, we provide all staff with a reusable bottle, which reduces the amount of plastic we use as a business.

Avoid excess food packaging

From making different choices in the supermarket to choosing to shop in different places like farm shops or greengrocers there are many ways we can cut down the plastic we buy. Opting for loose fruit and veg not only reduces the need for packaging but it is often a cheaper option.

Another simple way to reduce plastic use when shopping is to bring your own shopping bags with you to the supermarket. You can purchase ones that fold away into your handbag or larger ones that have compartments to separate your items as you shop.  Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, there’s been a massive 85% drop in their use*.

Get ready to refill

Some supermarkets have refillable stations for items such as cereal and detergent. You can bring your old containers or tupperware and refill at one of these stations. Although not as common as it used to be, milk deliveries are still available. You can have milk and various other items like fruit juices delivered in glass bottles – which are then collected and reused.

Use less for lunch

Are you planning a family day out, maybe a picnic or visiting a local café for a spot of lunch?

We have a few ideas to minimise your single-use plastic use when you are out and about enjoying your lunch.

The perfect plastic-free picnic

  • Avoid the use of cling film on homemade sandwiches and baked goods and opt for wax paper or sealed containers to store your sarnies.
  • Purchase fresh loose fruit and store it in air-tight containers to take with you instead of buying fruit packaged in plastic.
  • Use reusable plates and cutlery or opt for paper or bamboo rather than plastic options.
  • Take reusable bottles/flasks to keep your drinks nice and cool.
  • Don’t forget to recycle any plastic that you cannot avoid and dispose of, or take any litter home with you.

The ideal lunch stop

  • Eating in a coffee shop or restaurant allows for the use of reusable crockery removing the need for takeaway packaging.
  • If you do need a takeaway option, consider bringing your own container to a local café, or food stall. By asking to use your own container you save the business money on packaging and save the planet at the same time. Some businesses even reward customers for doing so, it’s always worth asking.

We hope these simple tips will help you easily reduce your plastic whilst also saving you a little bit of money along the way by using your own containers, bottles and visiting refilling stations.

Information sources:

Greenpeace