Getting started on the low waste lifestyle

July 01, 2019

Getting started on the low waste lifestyle



To kick off Week 1 of Plastic Free July 2019 we're going to focus on getting started and will look at some simple and easy first steps you can make towards a plastic free lifestyle.

It can feel really daunting when you first set out on your plastic free journey as you will notice that PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE!! You may start thinking 'what difference can I make, I'm just one person?' however consider this - if we all made small changes to reduce our plastic consumption think of the impact we can make collectively.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens

Don't stress if you are not doing it 'perfectly', none of us are or ever will be. I love the quote below by Anne Marie Bonneau. It helps you put things into perspective when things aren't as 'perfect' as you hoped!

We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly

There is no such thing as 'zero waste' - we will all produce waste. It's about considering what waste we produce, how much of it and what we can easily avoid! We can all work towards minimising our waste, particularly single-use plastic, and the impact that it has on our environment. 

 

Reusable water bottle, coffee cup, straw and lunch tin

If you're looking to reduce your plastic consumption and start living a minimal waste lifestyle. What better way than to start with the big four!

There are four single-use plastic items that are a major contributor of waste in landfills and our oceans, yet are so easy to avoid. So what are the 4 worst offenders?

  • Plastic Bottles
  • Takeaway Coffee Cups
  • Plastic Straws
  • Plastic shopping bags

 

THE WATER BOTTLE
  
What's the problem?
Did you know that a million single-use plastic water bottles are bought every minute worldwide? That's equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being bought every second!! Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and only 7% of those collected were actually turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean.
  
What's the solution?
Get yourself a reusable water bottle or use the one you already have! It’s easy to pop in your bag and refill with free water on the go. You can fill up before you leave home and can refill on the go. Don't be afraid to go into cafes to ask for tap water, most are happy to refill your bottle. Look out for refill stickers on windows as many establishments are getting involved or look out for a 'Refill' station in your area.
  
Refill is an award-winning campaign designed to help you reduce your plastic pollution, by making it easy to refill your reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one. Get the Refill app to find your nearest station today.
  
If you're after a water bottle check out our newest addition - the Qwetch Stainless Steel Water bottle. With a smart textured matt finish it's designed to keep your drinks warm for up to 12 hours and cold up to 24 hours. 
 
Qwetch Reusable Water Bottles
  
THE COFFEE CUP
 
What's the problem?
In the UK, we drink approximately 95 million cups of coffee per day.  80% of people who visit coffee shops do so at least once a week, whilst 16% of us visit on a daily basis. Very few ‘disposable’ coffee cups are actually recycled and even the compostable ones need specialist management facilities to dispose of them correctly (which they're often not, so end up in landfill anyway!).

What's the solution?
If you can, slow down and take some time out to enjoy your hot drink. Sit in, relax with a hot drink and watch the world go by! If you don't have the time to sit in, swap the ‘disposable’ coffee cup for a reusable one. I always have one in my bag as you never know when you may be presented with the opportunity to grab a quick drink! Don't get caught out at an event or work meeting where there are hot drinks available but only in disposable cups. The key is to be prepared!
Swapping to a reusable coffee cup is not only better for the environment but also for your finances. Did you know most major coffee chains offer discounts between 25p to 50p if you bring your own cup? 
  
If you're after a reusable coffee cup, take a look at our rCUP range below. The world’s first reusable coffee cup made from used paper cups.  Unlike many reusable coffee cups, rCUP is fully insulated. It’s a travel mug that will keep your hot drink hot and your cold drink cold for longer. Join the circular economy revolution and enjoy your hot drink on the go without the leaks!
THE STRAW
 
What's the problem?
Figures have shown that the British use 4.7 billion plastic straws a year. Millions of plastic straws are thrown away every single day usually just minutes after use. Most of these straws are thrown into bins and end up littering our beautiful countryside and oceans. Have you seen the heartbreaking video of the turtle having a straw removed from its nose? 

What's the solution?
The U.K. Government has announced a ban of plastic straws from April next year. So get ready yourself with a reusable straw! (Understandably, there will be exemptions for those who need to use plastic straws for medical reasons or a disability). 

First and foremost consider if you really need a straw. To refuse what you don't need is at the core of low waste living. However if you do like a straw in your favourite tipple or the it’s the kids who love them they are  one of the easiest swaps to make. Send a positive message to those around you, refuse the plastic straw and get out your stainless steel or bamboo reusable straw.
 
Stainless steel or bamboo? Straight or curved? Natural, Silver or Rainbow? The choice is yours. We have something for everyone. 
 
 
THE BAG
 
What's the problem?
Worldwide, about 1 million plastic bags are used every minute. According to Ecowatch, between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually.  There’s no such thing as a plastic ‘bag for life’. Sadly birds and marine life can become entangled in plastic bags or mistake the plastic for food (turtles can mistake plastic bags for jelly fish). 
 
What's the solution?
In the UK, the introduction of a 5p plastic bag charge has brought about a reduction in plastic bag use. However they are still too easily available (1.3 billion plastic bags are still produced every year).  Swap plastic shopping bags for a reusable cotton tote (preferably organic). They fold nicely and fit easily into your handbag and will last you for years! Partner with reusable produce bags and avoid the the thin clear bags we see in our fruit and veg aisles.
  
Take a look at our reusable drawstring organic cotton produce bags, GOTS certified and produced ethically. Produce bags have become the go-to for all of us trying to eliminate plastic from our lives. They’re incredibly handy on the go and have an infinite number of uses.
 
Eco Beau Reusable Produce Bag
 
 
You can create your own zero waste kit to take on the go with these four simple swaps. Take a look at our reusable 'On the Go' items here.
  
What’s the key to reducing your waste on the go? .... Preparation! 
  
Creating a new habit is easier than you think. Simply pop your water bottle and coffee cup in your bag when you are out and about and prevent being caught out on the go. You can even pop them in your reusable bag along with your straws!
  
Look out for Week 2 of Plastic Free July where we will be discussing Plastic Free Bathrooms and Beauty.



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