15 Jan Easy ways to cut down your plastic footprint
The most significant areas of plastic use (and the easiest places to cut down) on your plastic footprint are:
- Plastic bottles
- Plastic bags
and, just because it annoys me so much, let’s just add disposable coffee cups to that list. I have absolutely no statistics to back that up and prove that it should belong in the top three, but it’s just my own personal estimation from living in a small college town and seeing the amount of coffee cups (and their plastic lids!) in the trash every single day.
Three simple purchases can dramatically cut your plastic waste in these three areas, and save you some money!
PLASTIC FREE LIVING KIT (the condensed version – for those of you just starting out!)
Here are some things that I think are important tools in living a plastic free lifestyle:
- Canteen/permanent water bottle – this is a big one. You can buy stainless steel water bottles for about 10 pounds, and they will last you for AGES. I bought one at the tuck shop of my camp in 2007 and that bad boy is still in business. Everywhere I go, instead of purchasing water bottles (which sometimes can be up to 3 or 4 pounds – for bottling water that is free from your tap at home!!) I fill up my canteen and drink fresh and clean water all day. In some places, bottled water is widely used because of issues with water quality from taps. However, there is no excuse for not having a canteen when you live in a country with clean and high quality water (and especially in Scotland, where water bills don’t exist!!!)
- Tote bag/permanent shopping bag – I have three cloth bags that I use for everything I need to carry – I use two for grocery shopping and the other one for any other ‘carrying’ needs I have, which is mostly books to and from the library (the hard life of a university student!!). I like cloth because I can fold it up to be extremely small and pop it in a pocket in my bag (so if I decide to stop at the grocery store on my way home from the library, I’ve always got it with me!) I also have one large bag made of a more sturdy material for when I’m doing a lot of groceries, as well as for when I go pick up my weekly vegbox (more on that later) so the dirt from the vegetables doesn’t get on my clothes!
- Permanent coffee cup – at my university, these are called ‘keep cups’ and they are sold in the library for 6 pounds. I bought one in first year (I never really drank tea when I was in high school) and I have used it faithfully ever since. Not only has this prevented the unnecessary waste of (probably, by now) about 200 disposable coffee cups, but I save money! Most places give a 10 or even 15p discount for customers who use a reusable coffee cup. It may not seem like much, but that adds up!