There’s more to going plastic free than refusing straws in cocktails – and taking a look at your use of single use plastic can get to the heart of where things in your life are coming from and what you are consuming.
In January, groups can register their events for St Albans Sustainability Festival…so we thought we would help you get in the mood with this fabulous guest blog on Going Plastic Free – from Amanda Yorwerth, presenter of Radio Verulam’s Environment Matters, and campaigner at St Albans Friends of the Earth and Plastic Free St Albans….
Plastic lined coffee cups, plastic carrier bags and water bottles have been the items that have hit the headlines, and the key to avoiding disposable plastic items outside the house is going like a scout and being prepared.
We’ve all got plenty of cotton carrier bags sitting at home – it’s remembering to take them to the shops that’s the tricky bit. Perhaps a Post It on the front door or always having a bag tightly folded in your handbag might help.
A Spork tucked into your handbag, or even jacket pocket, will take the place of any plastic cutlery or drinks stirrer and a Stojo collapsible coffee cup will be there whenever you fancy a cuppa on the go. Now that so many local companies are signed up to Refill https://refill.org.uk/ the scheme that allows you to fill up your own water bottle when you’re out, there’s no reason to buy plastic bottles of water. Oh, and in case you were thinking that bottled water is better for you, take a look at this https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html
Free your vegetables
So often, our fruit and veg arrives encased in plastic. But increasingly you can choose loose veg and take your own bag. Even market traders are increasingly happy to use your proffered cotton bag. Better still, grow your veg and make sure all that fruit on your trees finds a home. But do remember also that food waste is an even bigger problem than plastic pollution and that plastic packaging can help reduce food waste.
Clean up the bathroom
Wipes for your face, your bum or indeed anything else, are plastic based and cause havoc in the aquatic habitat, so stick to tissue paper or use one of the many reuseable bamboo wipes now available. Plastic free cotton buds are widely available and The Refill Pantry https://www.therefillpantry.co.uk/ or Eat Wholefoods https://www.eatwholefoods.co.uk/ will refill your shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser bottles. Girls, every month those disposable sanitary items are causing plastic pollution (yes – they are made of plastic – take a look) so try enduring products like period pants from local company WUKA https://wuka.co.uk/ or a Moon Cup https://www.mooncup.co.uk – widely available.
Plastic free store cupboard
With a wide range of pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snacks, The Refill Pantry allows you to fill up your own containers and Patrick from Eat Wholefoods will do the same if you visit their warehouse on Hatfield Road.
Don’t forget the laundry
Woefully, many of our favourite items of clothing contain plastic fibres that escape into the environment when they are washed. Obviously selecting natural fibres when we buy clothes will help, but in the meantime wash synthetic items only when they really need it, wash on a shorter, cooler wash and catch escaping fibres in a Guppy Bag http://guppyfriend.com/en/
Editor note: see more about microbeads at #Whatsinmywash campaign