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How To Make 2022 Plastic Free

by Jack Wolton

One quiet morning, in a moment of calm, I surveyed my bathroom. I absentmindedly counted a couple of different types shampoo - all plastic. A bottle of conditioner which was plastic too, a plastic bottle of body wash, a plastic bottle of moisturiser - you get the picture and I hadn't even opened the cleaning cupboard. This was one room of my fairly small flat and it's safe to say that I had an epiphany. 

I'm no mathematician but wow, did the numbers add up. These bottles normally last me and my partner a couple of months, which means we get through roughly 30 a year. There are currently about 3.8 million households in the UK, so that's about 114 million bottles from the UK alone - assuming they have just 5 bottles in their bathroom like me. This doesn’t include the styling products, food packaging or cleaning containers we all use too. 

I’ve since found out that 300 million tons of plastic is produced around the world each year and more than 90% of that plastic is not recycled. Most plastic ends up in our oceans with at least 8 million tons of it dumped in our water each year - this is roughly a truckload of plastic every minute. Without action, that amount is estimated to double by 2030; by 2050, there may even be more plastic in the ocean than fish. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. It spurred me to set up my plastic free beauty brand and with some small and easy tweaks to your day to day life, you too can reduce your plastic footprint significantly.

Here are ideas for 10 small changes you can take to make 2022 plastic free:

1. Use reusable bags whenever you go shopping

We know it sounds obvious but by popping a re-usable bag in your pocket whenever you go shopping, you'll immediately be cutting plastic waste.

2. Use a reusable coffee cup, water bottle, containers and cutlery

Stainless steel drinking bottles will also prevent the chemicals from plastic leaching into your drink too.

3. Use solid soap, cleanser and shampoo bars

By using shampoo and conditioner bars, as well as body-wash, you'll instantly cut loads of plastic waste. No water is wasted with bars either - wins all round.

4. Use a bamboo toothbrush or a toothbrush with recyclable heads

Did you know that bamboo toothbrushes are naturally antimicrobial? This ensures that bacterial growth is limited, banishing halitosis for good!

5. Order a veg box, head to a farmer’s market or buy loose veg. You can use your own bag to carry bread home from a local bakery too.

This eliminates lots of plastic wrapping waste and you help support local businesses and farmers too. No banana needs to be wrapped in plastic!

6. Beer, spirits and milk can all be switched to glass (or tin) that you can return or recycle.  You can go for wine bottles with natural corks rather than plastic ones too.

There's even a movement to go back to the old fashioned way of using a milk-person who delivers glass containers.

7. Buy non-perishable goods in bulk or in refill shops using your own containers. You can do this with detergents and household products too.

Buying in bulk reduces the need to go to the shops as often which is a bonus. 

8. Pick up pet waste using old newspaper or compostable bags

Your pooch won't thank you for using plastic doggy bags. You can use newspaper or opt for 100% plant based compostable bags.

9. Compost your food waste

This means you use less bin bags and you can opt for plastic-free liners. Compostable bin bags will break down to their natural cellulose origins.

10. Buy clothing made of biodegradable, recycled and natural fibres or go second-hand. Same goes for shoes.

Hemp and bamboo make fantastic natural fibre fabrics and second hand means a much longer lifecycle for clothes. There are also brands out there that use recycled plastic for shoes or are totally plastic free.