It’s currently plastic-free July, a month where we celebrate ways in which we can enjoy the things we love without the need for heaps of single-use plastic, and discuss new ways we can reduce our plastic waste in our everyday lives. It’s the perfect time for you take a second and consider your plastic usage, and the effect it’s having on the environment.
Now, no one’s saying it’s easy to be 100% plastic free - trust us, we know. But if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to find as many ways as possible to reduce your day-to-day use of plastic. And we want to help you! Because in case you somehow haven’t heard, there is no plastic at the Forrist!
And on that note, here are our 15 most simple and realistic changes you can make in order to reduce your plastic usage. They may seem small, but fall into these habits and you’ll see how easy it can be to make a considerable change to the amount of plastic that goes to waste every day.
Stop buying carrier bags
This one’s a no brainer, in big 2021, is there really any need to pay that 10p plastic bag charge, when you can just bring your own bags. Save a little change whilst you save the planet from more needless plastic waste. Carry a tote bag with you if you’re popping into the store for a few bits, or keep some bags for life in your car if you’re planning on doing a big shop. A small, reusable carrier bag won’t take up much room in your backpack or satchel, so keep one handy in case you need to make a spontaneous visit to the shops on your way home.
Cut down on plastic bottles
Single-use plastic bottles are one of the most notoriously wasteful plastic products out there, and when you think about it, it’s a bit ridiculous. Get yourself a good, sturdy water bottle that’s built to last, and fill it up to bring with you when you’re out and about. Why waste money and (plastic) by constantly buying plastic bottles over and over again when you can just fill it up at home for free? And if tap water is not your thing, and you only go for spring water, it’s better to opt for a large 11/15L bottle, which are constantly refilled and reused, instead of needlessly stocking up on single-use 1L bottles.
Rethink your visit to the coffee shop
In a similar vein, if you like to start your day with a cup of joe, why not X out the endless supply of disposable cups that you drink from and throw away each morning. Get yourself a reusable, thermal cup, and when you next visit your favourite coffee spot, simply ask them to pour your beverage in there. Usually, these cups are better for preserving the temperature of your beverage too, so it’s far more practical and makes for a more sustainable and more enjoyable drinking experience. Not to mention, there’s plenty of cool, even customisable cup designs to choose from, so you can sip your drink in style.
Carry your own cutlery
Particularly if you know you’re going to grab some food, and your establishment of choice is going to offer you single-use plastic cutlery to eat your meal with, pack a knife, fork, spoon, set of chopsticks or whatever else you need to eat with so that you can turn down those flimsy, disposable utensils. If you’re ordering food online, make sure it is clear that you don’t want these delivered alongside your meal; most courier apps will have an option at the checkout which allows you to request this.
Keep a straw on you
Although many places are making the switch from plastic to paper, there a still plenty of places which are stuck in their ways, reluctant to stray away from the infamous single-use plastic straw. And even at places which have made this switch, disposable paper straws are still unnecessarily disposable! Keep a reusable metal straw on you for when you pick up a drink while out and about, it won’t be taking up much space in your bag at all. And if you accidentally leave it at home, will it really hurt to drink from the cup just once, without the need for a disposable straw? If so, hopefully you’ll remember it for next time!
Bring your own toiletries
When you visit a hotel and see all those tiny shampoo bottles, you might think “jackpot, free shampoo! I’m taking these all home!” What you should really be thinking is “what a stupid waste of plastic!” Bring your own, sustainable toiletries with you on your next hotel stay, and make it clear that you don’t need 10 tiny bottles of conditioner with about 3 drops worth inside. Many hotels only leave these toiletries with you in order to secure a five-star rating, but I think most will agree that it’s just a bit daft. So if you stay at a hotel which provides a more sustainable alternative, let them know their efforts are appreciated!
Consider your common purchases
If there is a plastic product you frequently need in your house, to the point it’s a weekly or monthly purchase, consider how you can find a more sustainable alternative, so that this consistent purchase doesn’t become a consistent cause for waste. If you run through cotton swabs in your house, and find yourself restocking every other month, switch to buying compostable bamboo swabs, and save the ocean from one of its deadliest pollutants.
Swap out your plastic toothbrush
Everyone needs a toothbrush, but no one needs a plastic one! Especially when there are so many beautiful bamboo toothbrushes out there to clean your chompers with. Bamboo is super sustainable, and naturally antibacterial, so it’s ideal for keeping things hygienic. When your done with it, simply snap the bristles off and add the rest to your compost!
Try an alternative to tampons
It is estimated that, on average, people who menstruate will use more than 9,000 tampons in there lifetime. That’s a whole lot of plastic. Consider switching to menstrual cups, reusable pads, or period pants. And if tampons are the most comfortable option for you, opt for plastic-free, compostable tampons. Here at the Forrist, we offer free menstrual cups with each and every order you make, so why not try it out next time you buy from us, and see if this more sustainable option works for you
Upgrade your pen game
You know those disposable plastic pens you’ve got tucked away in the corner of every drawer in the house or cluttering up your desk, that are never around when you need them and always in the way when you don’t. Why not get yourself a swanky fountain pen instead, that looks and feels great to write with, so much so that you’ll know where it’s kept when you need it, and won’t be re-stocking on more plastic pens. Make sure you get one with a cartridge converter that allows you to refill the pen from a bottle of ink, as opposed to buying new plastic cartridges.
Use your own containers for take-out food and leftovers
You know the scene, when your eyes get too big for your stomach, and you order way more food than you can get down you in one restaurant sitting, so you ask to take it home. What you are usually left with is an individual plastic container for each and every item you’ve ordered and, by the time you’ve finished your food the next day, you’ve got a bunch of containers on your hands. Don’t fret, keep these on you for next time, and hand them to your server to pack your food in instead of using another load of plastic that’ll only go to waste. Most take out places won’t mind if you give them the right size container and ask them to pack your food up in there either.
Order your pizza without the plastic pizza saver
Seriously, do you really need that thing? These little three-pronged pieces of plastic supposedly preserves your pizza, but it sure isn’t preserving the environment. Ask yourself, are you willing to risk the possibility of a little cheese getting stuck to the top of your pizza box, in order to prevent yet another piece of plastic getting tossed into the ocean, to stay there for another 1,000 + years? I’m sure once you weigh the stakes up, you’ll see where we’re coming from.
Make use of what you already have
Conscious shopping is all about being more considerate with your purchases. So before you buy something made or packaged with plastic, stop and ask yourself: Do I really need this? Do I have one at home already? If it’s broken, can I fix it instead of buying a new one? Can I borrow this from someone instead? Particularly when it comes to plastic-heavy products, it’s worth trying to make the most out of what you’ve got before you go replacing it. And when that time does come, try to find ways to upcycle your old product so that it can find use elsewhere, keeping it out of landfill, and hopefully eliminating the need for you to buy another, different product.
By shopping in bulk, you reduce the amount of shopping you do in general, thereby reducing the amount of plastic packaging that may be involved. Are pistachios your go too snack? Bulk buy a couple months’ worth! In an air-tight container, your favourite nuts can last up to a year, so your snack supply will never run low! You can then pop as much as you need in a container to take away with you so you’ve got an on the go snack, instead of buying smaller grab packs in plastic packaging. Bulk buying also requires considered choices and meal prep, meaning you are only going to buy exactly what you need, further minimizing any potential waste.
Shop plastic free (at Forrist!)
One of the easiest ways to cut unnecessary plastic out of your shopping is to let us do it for you! When you shop with Forrist, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be left with any plastic products or packaging. All of our packaging is completely compostable or reusable, as are 98% of the products we stock. Once again, there is no plastic at the Forrist, so if you’re passionate about zero-waste shopping, come pay us a visit!