Waitrose recently announced a move to trial plastic free shopping in their Oxford store. Own branded items, usually supplied in plastic packaging, have been left unwrapped, and instead stored in pick and mix style tubes for customers to dispense into their own storage containers. The wrapped versions are also available so the retailer can compare how popular the plastic free versions are.
Customers demand less plastic
Regular news stories about environmental issues and plastic pollution found in even the most remote areas are driving shoppers to demand less packaging.
Though retailers are slowly catching up, there are some other ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few (some quite surprising) small changes to make for eco-friendly living.
Replace the hidden plastics in your home
The consumables around your home are probably upping your plastic usage, some without you even noticing. With some tea bag brands only around 70% of the bag is actually compostable, due to the polypropylene used in the process of heat sealing them closed. Ouch!
- Items like toothbrushes are increasingly available in other materials, such as bamboo.
- Cotton buds made with a paper stick, rather than a plastic one, biodegrade much more quickly.
- Kitchen sponges, especially the ones with the scouring pad attached take a long time to break down. Versions made from coconut fibres are hard wearing and more environmentally friendly.
- Cling film or single use plastic food bags can be replaced by reusable greaseproof wraps or Tupperware containers.
- Glass bottles with metal bottle caps might seem a safer better, but often have a plastic seal hidden in the lid. Breweries and retailers are increasingly offering to refill glass growlers to cut down on waste.
Friends of the Earth have more hints and tips on hidden plastics and their green alternatives.
Take the power back
Seemingly small things like taking electricals out of standby mode and switching them off properly can see a big drop in power consumption (and in your power bill).
Power-saving tech like smart meters helps users see where the power drains in the home are can be a bit of an eye-opener. Timers on smart bulbs can make sure that lights aren’t left on all day.
Energy suppliers buy power from different sources, and can be contacted to find out what powers your provider. Renewable energy is certainly on the rise, so it might be worth shopping around. Changing over usually means a few phone calls, but as well as saving the planet, saves a decent amount of money.
Borrow or swap, don’t shop
If it’s something that you’re going to use every single day then it makes sense to buy your own. But, even that doesn’t have to mean buying new. Consider lending schemes, borrowing from a friend, or buying second hand.
It can help to save money, means less clutter of infrequently used items stored around the home, and eases the demand of production. Sites like Gumtree or eBay sell second hand items, or here at Beehiveit you can buy or hire items from people near you, or list your own!