20 COUNTRY LIVING WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR PLASTIC USAGE
Last July we reported on the alarming impact throwaway plastics are having on our ecosystem. As the issue continues to be as newsworthy as ever, here are some suggestions on how you can make a difference
Suggestions on how to make a difference every day
Have your milk delivered
At Country Living we’re all for embracing a bit of nostalgia (who doesn’t have fond memories of a time when two bottles of ‘silver top’ would arrive on the doorstep each morning?). As well as invoking times past, the milkman’s traditional glass bottles are returned, washed and reused, thus avoiding the need for plastic. As a result, milk-delivery services across the UK are reporting an increase in subscribers. Find one near you at findmeamilkman.net.
Support the independents
If you needed another reason to frequent the butcher, baker, greengrocer, fishmonger or deli on your high street, reducing your plastic usage could be it. They tend to use much less packaging than the supermarket, often opt for paper rather than plastic bags and may well be more on board with you bringing your own container for items such as cheese. If you do need to pop into the supermarket, choose loose fruit and veg and take small cotton bags to put them in, or look by the mushrooms, where they often have paper bags. Pick unwrapped bread over packeted loaves.
Shop at farmers’ markets
“Not only can you buy lots of loose produce at farmers’ markets and farm shops, but there’s also a more direct route from the grower or producer to your shopping bag, which means less packaging is used to transport and store the produce, too,” says Julian Kirby, waste campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
Use a hankie
Another tradition that may well be worth re-introducing. Invest in washable cotton handkerchiefs instead of packets of plastic-wrapped tissues.
Say no to plastic straws
They are among the top ten items found in beach cleans, according to the Marine Conservation Society. Environment secretary Michael Gove has said they are to be banned in Britain next year (along with plastic stirrers and cotton buds), but until then ask for your drink to be served without one. If you need to use a straw, try a reusable titanium one or 100 per cent natural paper ones, both of which you can find at ecostrawz.co.uk.
Buy a Guppyfriend
Clothes made of synthetic materials, such as fleece jackets, shed tiny plastic fibres into the water during washing. They are too small to be filtered out by most sewage-treatment plants, so end up in waterways and the sea. Wash fleeces inside a Guppyfriend (£27.99, beachclean.shop) – a clever mesh bag that traps the plastic microfibres when clothes are in the washing machine. In future, consider choosing garments made of natural fibres, such as cotton or wool.