1. Plastic Straws

Ditch the plastic straws! Plastic straws are usually only used once and then discarded to landfill, they have a very short lifespan. Like other plastics, they never biodegrade and take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic straws are one such item and are ending up in our oceans by the thousands They are not a necessity but if you feel that you need to use straws then these stainless steel straws will do the job nicely. They are heavy duty and re-useable. They come with a small brush to clean them thoroughly.

Plastic Straws
Metal Straws

2. Plastic/Disposable Cups

This is easier to achieve if you are at home and the chances are we are doing it already by using out China and porcelain mugs and cups, however, it could be different in the workplace. If you are in an office environment it’s quite likely that you have your own coffee mug with the old faithful Ant-Monday-Morning quote.

If you’re working environment don’t allow for this then you might want to invest in a travel cup/mug. In my opinion, the thermal ones are the best as they will keep your drinks warmer (or cooler) for longer due to the insulation. I particularly recommend the Thermos ThermoCafe 400ml travel mug.

These are ideal if you are always on the go. Most coffee outlets will happily fill your mug instead of their disposable cups. Better still, if you usually buy your coffee on the go then why not invest in a good thermal flask? This way, you can make your hot drink at the start of your day. Check out this 1 Litre AA Recommended stainless steel insulated vacuum flash or the 1.8 Litre Thermos Mondial Flask

3. Invest in a bag for life… and use it!

In October 2015 the law changed and required all large shops in England to charge 5p for all single-use carrier bags in an effort to combat plastic waste. This was introduced without any major backlash but how many times have you purchased a single-use plastic bag? People are still buying them in their thousands.

You can avoid the cost of these bags and still help the environment by purchasing the bags for life. These are generally quite cheap and will last you so much longer than a plastic carrier bag. You pay for your bag for life once and the store will replace them as and when they wear out or break. You just need to remember to take them with you when you do your shopping otherwise you are slightly defeating the object.

If you are a fan of the scan-as-you-shop that some stores offer then these Trolley Bags are ideal. You pack as you shop and once you have paid for your items you simply liff the bags straight into your car. Re-use them on your next visit.

Shopping trolley bags
bag for life Tesco

4. Birthdays & Christmas

Birthday cards are my pet peeve. I love receiving a card but once it’s opened and read it has no further purpose. I feel like I owe it to the person who took the time to buy me the card to then keep and store that card. My loft is full of them!

If you would like to do your bit for the environment then on your next birthday why not ask for E-Cards or better still ask for a donation to be made to a charity of your (or their) choice in your name. Check out www.dontsendmeacard.com for ways to make this work. With the social media society we live in today chances are you will receive plenty of Birthday wishes on Facebook.

Christmas time, consider ditching the artificial Christmas Tree for a real tree.

5. Personal Hygiene

Ditch the plastic toothbrush for an Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush 

and why not try making your own toothpaste too for example, this Aloe toothpaste:

  • 2 Tbsp pure aloe vera
  • 1-2 of peppermint essential oil (you could experiment with other essential oils but ensure they are safe for internal use)

Store this mixture in a small mason jar and dip your toothbrush in to use it.

Use coconut oil for your skin and do not use disposable razors or other disposable equipment.