9 Simple Ways To Use Less Plastic

by Jo Macdonald

Writing my piece 'Straw Wars' got me (and some of you) thinking about how we can use less plastic in our lives.  And, honestly, it felt kind of hopeless, after all no matter whether you're buying groceries, makeup, gifts, toys or the occassional Saturday night takeaway there is plastic used for just about everything - just think about that useless piece of plastic in the middle of your pizza!  Why exactly do we need that!!!  It's just more plastic waste hanging around not biodegrading and messing up the planet.  Whilst it might not really be possible to go completely plastic free that's no reason not to reduce the amount you use as much as possible after all the more we vote with our wallets to consume less plastic the more companies will begin to listen, I hope.  

So, here is a little list of ideas I put together to help us all start to use less plastic:

  1. Say no - that's right, say no to that plastic straw at the bar, say no to that useless plastic bit in the middle of your pizza, no to plastic bags, no to receipts, and no to bagging up your fruits and veg, let them roll free at the checkout instead.  As the consumer you have a say and you can choose to say 'I don't want that, don't give it to me' and tell them why, perhaps they'll adopt it as a company policy and one day no pizza will come with useless bits of plastic in the centre and straws will be a thing of the past. 
  2. Opt for re-useables - go for glass straws, reuseable shopping bags, a reuseable water bottle and a reuseable coffee cup.  Ditch those single use plastic items and you'll be making a huge contribution to the planet and, in some cases, your pocket too.
  3. Whenever possible buy things in boxes instead of bottles or plastic wrappings/containers, for example washing powder, dishwasher powder, biscuits etc.  Cardboard is easily recycled and even if just chucked in the bin biodegrades fairly easily.
  4. Opt for soaps that don't come in plastic wrappers - Pure Thoughts is my favourite place to buy soap and there's no plastic in sight.
  5. Ditch the gum - did you know that gum is made with the same components used in car tyres, plastic bottles and white glue - how gross is that!  You can find some plastic free versions here.
  6. I know we shouldn't really use them but the fact is most of us do, so the least we can all do from now on is opt for paper cotton buds instead of plastic ones.
  7. Get back to basics and use matches instead of plastic lighters for your candles etc.
  8. Invest in an electric razor instead of using plastic disposable ones - again it's better for the planet and your pocket in the long run.
  9. Ditch the tampons and sanitary towels (which both contain plastic - seriously, do you really want that next to your lady bits?) and opt for a menstrual cup or just go for an environmentally friendly brand like Natracare if you prefer to keep using pads or tampons.

As well as taking these initial steps why not write to your favourite brands and ask them to reduce the amount of plastic in their packaging, let them know your concerns and make your opinion known.  We women over 40 are one of the largest consumer groups and perhaps it's time to make our voice heard.