Since I set up an eco-campaign called Say No To Plastic in 2007, I've incrementally made lifestyle tweaks which are eco-conscious and as a result there’s a feel good factor attached, as they usually come with an accompanying bonus of saving money.
It's important when we go through lifestyle changes, to acknowledge that if you're doing the right thing, then giving something up needn't be a sacrifice.
Here are 10 ways you can do your bit for the environment by reducing your reliance on single use plastics which, when disposed of, form microplastics which we know can harm marine life, pollute our oceans and enter the food chain.
- Always recycle clothes at your local charity shops or clothing recycling bins, clothing should never be disposed of in the general bin
- Swap out single-use plastic wet wipes for an old fashioned flannel and cleanser and ditch body scrubs with microbeads and instead use a natural loofah or sponge
- Look at alternatives to fast fashion and consider taking part in #secondhandseptember and why not give second hand, charity shops or vintage clothing a try? Apps such as ebay and Depop are also great for pre-loved clothing and accessories
- Recycle books and buy second hand from charity shops like Oxfam Books or why not visit your local library?
- Carry your own cutlery set as well as a water bottle and reusable coffee cup, most coffee retailers will offer a discount for bringing your own cup
- Always carry your own eco bag and re-use plastic bags as much as possible
- Use sheet face masks sparingly as the mask itself is often made from nylon or polyester, while the pouches contain plastic combined with aluminium, which is difficult to recycle unless you’re using the services of a professional recycling company such as Terracycle
- Empty perfume and aftershave bottles are mostly made of glass and complex plastic so should be recycled properly, take your empties to the Perfume Shop and get a voucher off your next purchase
- Consider Meat Free Monday and make the most of food leftovers to cut down on food waste
- Always recycle single-use plastic contact lenses. These should never be flushed down the sink or loo or disposed of in general waste. Please recycle used contact lenses and their packaging at 120 Optical Express clinics across the UK and Ireland and consider more sustainable alternatives such as laser eye surgery. Book your free consultation here.
Mostly I just try to be mindful when it comes to spending my money as I believe, as consumers we have a lot of power. Introducing small changes over time is easier than trying to change everything all it once. If you’re making tweaks to how you shop, bear in mind, it all adds up and in the feel good stakes and will save you a considerable amount of money.
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