It’s ‘Plastic-Free July’, which seems like a great opportunity to discuss how we can all try to reduce our plastic dependency – not just in July but throughout the year. At The Pentire Hotel, we are very proud of our lovely clean beach at Fistral in Newquay. We hate to see litter – mainly plastic – getting onto the beach and into the sea. The more we all do to reduce our plastic use, the better for everyone. So what can you do? Here are some tips we’ve put together for leading a plastic-free lifestyle.
Plastic is everywhere when you go shopping. Food often comes wrapped in plastic, so reducing your plastic use is all about making wiser choices. Start by carrying reusable shopping bags when you go to the shop. Canvas totes are a great option. Even if you use a strong plastic bag, you’ll still be saving plastic by avoiding using unnecessary disposable bags. When buying fruit and veg, choose loose items instead of the ready-packed varieties. Add your produce to a cloth bag instead of a plastic bag. Avoid buying drinks in plastic bottles. And if you miss fizzy drinks, invest in a Soda Stream. And instead of buying milk in plastic bottles, find out if you can get your milk in reusable glass bottles from the milkman. Try to avoid frozen meals as much as possible, which all come packaged in plastic. Cook your own instead! Go to the local farmers’ market for more of your shopping. Buy fresh local food and put it directly into your own bags – no plastic needed.
Out and About
There are lots of ways that you can reduce and even eliminate your plastic use when you are out and about. For a start, you can carry a reusable drinking bottle with you wherever you go. Invest in a stainless steel bottle or travel mug and fill it up when you go out. Keep it topped up from the tap and avoid buying plastic bottles. Prepare your own snacks in advance, rather than buying them on your lunch break or on day trips. Snacks often come in plastic packaging, so prepare your lunch or snack at home and save on plastic (and money!) Take your own shampoo and other products when you stay at a hotel. Yes, it’s nice when hotels give you freebies, but you can save on plastic by using your own.
All cleaning products seem to come in plastic containers. As well as being unnecessary, many are harmful to the environment, so make your own natural cleaning products instead. Water and vinegar (mixed in a 3-to-1 ratio) is an excellent all-purpose natural cleaner. Use it in a spray bottle that you can reuse, and you can clean almost anything with it. Baking soda is excellent for scouring, which makes it useful for washing the dishes. Or simply choose bar soap to wash the dishes rather than using liquid detergent. Avoid plastic scrubbers and synthetic cleaning sponges – choose natural products instead. Use brushes made with natural fibre and cut up your old clothing to use as a cloth. You can also make a lot of your own food at home, which saves on plastic every time because these products all come in plastic packaging at the shop. Start by making your own bread. Invest in a bread maker or simply make it in the oven. It’s surprisingly easy (and tasty)! You can make your own mayonnaise, hummus, biscuits, cakes and so much more. The more you make, the less you have to rely on plastic packaging.
You can also save plastic by changing your use of personal hygiene products. For example, switch from liquid soap to bar soap and ditch the plastic bottles for an easy way to reduce your plastic use. The same is true of shaving soap and shampoo – use solid bars instead of shaving cream and liquid shampoo to save on plastic. Did you know that baking soda is an effective deodorant? Apply it under your arms to save buying deodorant that comes in plastic packaging.
Reuse As Much as Possible
Get into the habit of reusing everything you can to save on your plastic use. Buy things second-hand and give away your old things rather than sending them to landfill. This is especially important when you need a plastic item. Repair items instead of throwing them out, and when you have to use plastic and you cannot reuse it, make sure you recycle it.
Going plastic-free is a huge challenge. But while you may not be able to go 100% plastic-free, every little helps.We hope some of these ideas can help you to reduce your plastic dependency. So give them a go and see how much you can do without plastic – while doing your bit for the planet and hopefully having fun too!