Plastic free July: 10 easy ways to reduce your plastic use

By planetm | July 2, 2021

Want to reduce the amount of plastic you use? Join the Plastic-Free July challenge and do away with all that unnecessary single-use plastic…

  1. Don’t buy, refill

Hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, washing liquid – these are all things that we use daily and buy regularly, but that can easily be refilled to reduce your plastic waste.

The plastic pumps on bottles like these are not widely recycled, meaning they end up in landfill. Only a percentage of our plastic waste is also fully recycled, even when we throw it into the recycling box at home.

Look out for brands like Faith In Nature – which is widely available at health food and zero waste shops around the UK – along with Ecover and BioD.

2. Ditch the crisps

Billions of crisp packets are thrown away each year and only a tiny fraction are recycled. Why not make a household pact to not buy crisps during Plastic-Free July?

Instead, try snacking on crackers, breadsticks, or fresh crudities with dip instead. You could also try making your own over-baked vegetable crisps with beetroot, parsnips and carrot.

If you do need to buy crisps, choose the large sized bags rather than individually-wrapped ones and decant into a dish or container.

3. Try sustainable tooth floss

Have you ever felt guilty as you throw that strip of plastic tooth floss into the bin? So have we! Switch to a plastic-free alternative, such as these biodegradable cornstarch floss picks (£3.99 at The Humble Co) or try their natural candella wax floss (£2.99 at Holland & Barrett).

4. Change your toilet roll

Another household item that comes wrapped in pointless plastic is toilet roll, but this is an easy one to switch. Try brands like Who Gives A Crap, a B-Corp company which produces plastic-free toilet paper and gives 50% of profits to improve sanitation in the developing world, or Cheeky Panda, which is made from super soft and highly sustainable bamboo.

5. Recycle your contact lense cases
Although these account for a small percentage of personal waste, millions of plastic contact lense cases are thrown away each year. Vision Direct offers a service in which you can post back your empty packaging using the box your contacts arrive in.

6. Swap your toothbrush heads
Whilst many people have started to switch to wooden or bamboo toothbrushes from companies like Ecodenta, electric toothbrushes still feature a plastic head that is thrown away after use. Try these recyclable electric toothbrush heads from Brushd (£5.99 for two).

7. Buy in bulk
If you have the room to store it, buying in large quantities means less plastic packaging for individual items. Things like oats, pasta, spices, nuts, rice and muesli can all be ordered online in bulk from a zero waste store like Good Club to avoid any plastic at all! Alternatively, take your old containers to your local health food shop and fill up there.   

8. Use a veg box delivery
Tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, potatoes… the list is endless when it comes to fruit and veg that is sold in pointless plastic at supermarkets. Ordering a weekly veg box delivery avoids this needless waste – plus it saves on emissions as you don’t have to drive to the supermarket to buy it! Try Riverford or Abel + Cole.

9. Plastic-free periods
From the plastic wrappers that tampons and towels come in to the plastic used in the production of the sanitary wear itself, periods can have a rather hefty plastic footprint. Luckily, there are so many options now – from periods pants to menstrual cups and reusable towels. Read more about how to make the switch.

10. Break up with Clingfilm
If you haven’t already, challenge yourself to stop buying plastic food wrap for the month of July. Try covering food with a teal towel, store it in a glass jar or container, or try wax wraps such and reusable food covers like these from Wearth London (£17.95 for three).

Discover more sustainable lifestyle ideas.