How to go plastic-free

You might have seen this hashtag trending on Twitter this month but #PlasticFreeJuly is big news in the eco and environmentally friendly world. It's all about making those small changes to help us all use less single use plastics which are negatively affecting our planet. 

Plastic has a large carbon footprint, has harmful affects to wildlife and sea creatures and pollutes our oceans. A lot of plastics are recyclable but a big change to make would be to not use it in the first place. This is where Plastic Free July comes in, an initiative that tries to de-mystify how to use less plastic as a society. Here are our six tips to help you make small changes that can really add up. 

1. Carry around a reusable bottle
In the UK it is a requirement that anywhere that sells alcohol must provide free tap water and many cafes, restaurants and coffee shops also offer free tap water. Try asking for a free refill of your water bottle next time you’re out and about instead of picking up a bottle of water from the shop. Aim to buy recycled and recyclable bottles so that you know that it's been produced from something sustainable and that it can also be disposed of in the right way when you need to.

2. Contain yourself! 
Although they aren’t as common as your average supermarket, if you look around you'll find plastic free and zero-waste shops that allow you to bring you own containers and fill those up to save on plastic packaging and excess rubbish. There's a plastic-free shop that has been open in Lady Bay, an area near to our Head Office in Nottingham for just over a year and another in Beeston, close to one of our branches and one in Nottingham city centre too. Nottingham is doing quite well for plastic-free shopping but, if you're not a Nottingham local but would like to investigate plastic free shopping near you, here's a list of 88 of the UK's best zero waste shops.

Kate Cox, the creator of Lady Bay's The Good Weigh said "bringing waste free shops to communities will make it easy for consumers to make more sustainable choices which will work towards giving the planet the love it deserves. By choosing to shop this way, we are casting a vote for the kind of world we wish to live in. If we all make small changes, we can collectively make a big difference." Take a sneak peek inside Kate's shop below. 

Kate The Good Weigh

3. Swap your straw
It has become much more common for places to serve drinks with a paper straw however, should they offer a plastic straw, politely decline it and either go without or remember to carry your own metal straw. They are an inexpensive and eco-friendly way of enjoying your refreshing drink and they can be picked up easily in eco-friendly shops or online. 

4. A tasty alternative
Nothing's better than a refreshing ice cream on a hot day but how about a treat that helps you do your bit at the same time? Next time you buy an ice cream try asking for a cone instead of a plastic-lined tub.

5. Go for glass 
Consider buying your milk in a reusable and returnable glass bottles instead of your weekly plastic haul from the supermarket. You'll be supporting local farmers as well as using less plastic and your milk will turn up on your doorstep - no more lugging it back from the shops! Check out Find Me A Milkman to do exactly that!

6. (Chew)se plastic free gum
Great pun though, right? Did you know that most gum is made out of plastic? That’s right, when you're chewing gum you’re actually just chewing plastic. Try searching for healthier options for you and the planet. We've done some research and Iceland sell Simply Gum which uses natural ingredients and is also biodegradable.

Plastic bottle on the beach

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