Plastic Free Alternatives
The Ideas You Need
It can be quite daunting to know how to reduce the plastic you use when you look at how much you use. We've pulled together a list of some easy swaps to help get you started. The key is to start with one thing and to gradually build up your plastic-free alternatives.
Out and About
Carrier bags - reuse ones you have already or take a cotton bag
Straws - buy a reusable metal, glass or bamboo straw if you like to drink using a straw
Keep Cup - avoid takeaway cups by carrying your own reusable cups. Available from Keep Cup, Robert Dyas, most coffee shops.
Cutlery - carry your own reusable cutlery (metal or bamboo) to avoid using plastic cutlery
Drinks bottles - invest in a refillable bottle and make use of the Refill app to find water stations near you
Sandwich packaging - most sandwich shops will wrap your sandwich in paper, or you can take your own box for them to put it in
Takeaways - take your own reusable containers
In the Kitchen
Tea bags - tea bags from PG Tips, Clipper, Tea Pigs and several other brands are plastic-free. Or buy loose leaf tea
Sandwich bags - opt for reusable tubs or beeswax wraps which you can make yourself or buy from Kate Moody (click Contact Us for more info on how)
Freezer bags - use reusable tubs or butchers paper
Milk - get it delivered in glass bottles by Milk & More
Butter - buy it in wrappers rather than tubs. You can also freeze oilve oil and use it as a spread
Fruit & veg - buy loose where possible
Wholefoods - buy packaging free at shops such as Zero Green, Scoop Away and Wild Oats
Chocolate - Seed & Bean don't use any plastic in their packaging
Pans - opt for stainless steel or cast iron instead of non-stick plastic coated
Utensils - pick up some wooden or stainless steel ones rather than plastic
Condiments - buy in glass jars or bottles
Bread - buy loose. You can take your own bag(s) to protect it
Meat - buy packaging free from the butchers and take your own container
Materials - always buy clothes and soft furnishings made from natural materials such as cotton, linen or hemp rather than plastics such as acrylic or polyester
Laundry - if you wash anything made of non-natural materials then use a Guppy Friend to prevent microfibres getting into the water system
Laundry detergent - you can refill bottles at Wild Oats or Better Foods. You can also buy an EcoEgg or soap nuts
Cleaning sprays - make your own or refill existing bottles
Washing up liquid - refill your existing bottle
Dishcloths/scourers - use a loofah, coconut husk or natural-bristled wooden brush. Available online or from Better Foods
Hand Soap - use a bar of soap, or get refills from Wild Oats or Better Foods
Bin bags - line your bin with newspaper
Nailbrush - use a wooden and natural-bristled one. Boots Botanics range has a good one
Toilet brush - choose a wooden and natural bristled one such as from The Oxford Brush company
Face wipes - instead of disposable face wipes, invest in some reusable cotton pads.
Cotton buds - buy cotton buds with paper or bamboo sticks. Most supermarkets stock these now, or you can order them online from suppliers such as Hydrophil.
Moisturiser - make your own from shea butter and essential oils, or buy one in a glass jar such as from Neal's Yard
Deodorant - there are lots of options available from places such as Better Foods,Wild Oats or online. Options include cardboard and glass packaging, as well as 100% natural ingredients
Hairbrush - when you next need to buy one, buy one made from wood and natural bristles
Hairspray - use natural oils such as jojoba, coconut or shea butter
Make-up - use glass or cardboard packaged products. One great stockist is Zao.
Glitter - opt for biodegradable glitter rather than micro-plastic
In the Bathroom
Shampoo - there are lots of solid shampoo bars available now, e.g. from Lush which have zero plastic packaging.
Conditioner - as with shampoo you can buy solid, packaging-free conditioner bars. You could also try using jojoba oil as a leave-in conditioner.
Toothbrush - bamboo toothbrushes can be bought from lots of places now, included Mabboo in the city centre.
Toothpaste - there are lots of alternatives to toothpaste in a tube including tooth tabs (from Lush) and tooth soap (from Georganics).
Shower gel - if your skin is ok with it, then go old-school with a bar of soap. If you need something more moisturising then you can refill shower gel bottles at Better Foods and Wild Oats.
Shower scrubber - loofahs and natural sponges are alternatives to plastic shower scrubbers
"Flushable" wipes - these often contain plastic and also block sewers. If you do use them throw them in your household waste.
Shaving - instead of disposable plastic razors, buy a metal safety razor which will last (more than) a lifetime.
Toilet roll - buy plastic packaging-free, sustainable toilet roll from Who Gives a Crap. It works out cheaper than from supermarkets and they donate part of their profits to charity.
Microbeads - avoid any product containing these and opt for natural exfoliants such as husks or coffee grounds
Menstrual cup - lasts for years and means a plastic-free period with zero waste. Search online for stockists
Reusable sanitary towels - can be washed and used for years. Cheeky Wipes and In Green's are good stockists but there are loads more online
Natural sponges - act like a tampon but are 100% natural and reusable
Thinx underwear - eliminate the need for other sanitary products as the underwear has high absorbancy properties
Nappies - opt for reusables rather than disposables. There is a nappy library in Bristol where you can try various types out before committing to any systems
Babywipes - reusable cotton wipes can be used instead of disposable ones
Pet food containers - opt for tins rather than pouches. Buy dried food in bulk to reduce packaging
Poo bags - there are biodegradable bags available, or wrap it in newspaper before desposing of in the poo-bins
Toys - buy toys made from natural materials rather than plastic
Christmas decorations - buy wooden or glass. Make your own if you have the time.
Christmas tree - buy a real one rather than a plastic one
Crackers - make your own or buy refillable ones
Tableware - use reusables rather than disposable plates, glasses, napkins, cutlery and tablecloths
Decorations - buy paper or other natural materials instead of plastic
Balloons - don't ever do balloon releases as they can kill wildlife. Craft alternative brightly coloured shapes for indoor celebrations.