12 tips for ditching single-use plastic and going zero waste

Claire Sumners, of Plastic Free Seaford, shares her tips making a commitment to zero waste living.

Monday, 4th May 2020, 7:08 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 7:23 pm
Photo byMarkus SpiskeonUnsplash

She said: "Knowing throwaway has to go somewhere is the key to creating less waste. With everything we buy, there will be waste so how can you stick to creating less and less?"

Here are her tips:

1. Commit to eating less meat. Meat-Free Monday is a great way to start in favour of eating more plant based meals. When you do buy meat choose a butcher rather than supermarket and take your own container.

2. Pledge to stop buying plastic bottled drinks, condiments and sauces. Glass can be recycled infinitely where as plastic cannot.

3. Strive to switch out one disposable item every month throughout the year, for example swap plastic boxed washing capsules for cardboard box powder, tissue pouches for a handkerchief.

4. Make your own cleaning products. I make all of mine and all I need to do is is white vinegar, water, borax, bicarb of soda, an essential oil like sustainably produced tea tree oil and citrus peelings. No more chemicals and bottles to recycle.

5. Only by takeaway hot drinks with a reusable cup, and if you can by your cup from a charity that is trying to make a difference to the planet like two minute Beach Clean , Surfers Against Sewage.

6. Take part in a litter pick or beach clean. My beach clean runs in Seaford on the first Sunday of every month at 10am and it’s a great way to get children involved and see first hand just what plastic is coming out of our oceans. Check out www.sas.org.uk for one in your area.

7. Choose one item that comes in a non-recyclable package, and give it up for the whole year like crisps – you can make your own from potato/vegetable peelings, plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one, bottles of shampoo to shampoo bars or refill bottles; bars of soap rather than plastic bottle soap dispenser.

8. Switch your energy supplier. This might sound easy but there are layers you need to be aware of such as carbon offsetting – sounds good but in reality not! You need to find a renewable energy company like Ecotricity that’s building more renewables and doesn’t support fracking.

9. Challenge yourself to only buy second hand items – nothing new! Charity shops are emporiums of used but useful items and not just clothing, you’ll save money too. With clothing try to only buy natural fibres like wool, cotton as washing synthetic clothes like polyester create plastic microfibres that will end up in the ocean. The Guppyfriend Washing Bag is a patented solution, that filters out the tiniest microfibers released from textiles during washing.

10. Try to eat seasonally. Eating an avocado in December is nice and healthy but try to eat what is grown in the UK. Air pollution is a key factor in climate change and as an island we really should support our growers.

11. Subscribe to Ethical Consumer . It’s been a super learning curve for me going zero waste

12. When you buy gifts be it for birthdays or festivities, don’t wrap in glittery paper or plastic ribbon, instead use brown paper or cloth with cloth ribbon aiming for use again is a present in itself!. If the wrapping paper folds up in your hand there will be some kind of non-paper resin in it so it can’t be recycled.

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