How to use less plastic

Plastic is choking our seas and natural world! It's really bad for wildlife because it doesn’t just disappear - it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. You won't be able to see those pieces because they're so tiny, but animals eat them. These tiny pieces of plastic build up in the animals' bodies, right up the food chain. Animals can also get trapped or injured by plastic left lying around.

The good news is we can all do our bit to cut down on unnecessary plastic! Once you start looking, you might be surprised at just how much plastic we use in our daily and weekly routines.

Out and about

Think about your day

Thinking about what you'll need if you're out all day with your family or friends can make a big difference. Before you leave the house, take a refillable water bottle, cup and shopping bag with you. If you already do these things, then keep up the good work! Maybe it’s time to go one further and carry your own cutlery, or maybe a straw. Buying food when you're out can mean lots of pesky plastic so maybe you could talk to your parents about taking packed lunches!

coffee cup

Food shopping

Do you help with the food shop? When you're in the supermarket have a look around - is there anything that doesn't come with packaging? Usually tomatoes, oranges, apples and much more veg can be found loose.

fruit and veg

Drinks on the go

Buying hot and cold drinks when you're out can mean lots of plastic. Did you know that most of takeaway hot drink cups aren't recycled? That's about 7 million cups in the UK every day! Talk to your family and your friends about using reusable cups for takeaway hot drinks. You can be a champion!

In the bathroom

Toothbrushes

Most toothbrushes are made of plastic, but you can swap yours for a bamboo toothbrush! The bristles are still plastic, but it's much better for the environment.

If you use an electric toothbrush, there are still things you can do. The company who makes them might recycle the heads for you. If they don't, you could write to them and ask them to!

toothbrush

In the shower

Shower puffs are very common - you might even have one in a snazzy colour! But although they look fun, they're actually made of plastic. If you're able to, when it's time to get a new shower puff you're better off saying 'no' and using soap instead.

shower

Hand washing

Using bars of soap instead of bottles will make wildlife happy, and it's better for the climate too! Making plastics means lots of CO2 goes into the air. Liquid soaps have a 25% larger carbon footprint than bar soaps!

Bar soaps are often cheaper than pump soaps, and you generally get more use out of a bar, so your parents won’t need to buy so much. It’s a win-win!

soap

In the kitchen

Washing up

Do you sometimes help with the washing up? Some brands of washing up liquid allow you to refill your bottles once you run out. You might have noticed that sponges are usually made of plastic, too. Your parents could buy sponges made from biodegradable materials, like bamboo, or they could buy a scrubbing brush instead, which lasts much longer! 

Make your own treats

Baking is great - and not only because it's yummy! When you buy biscuits, cakes, and snacks they usually come in throwaway plastic packaging, much of which can't be recycled. Try making your own and you'll save on buying a lot of plastic! There are plenty of recipes and tips available online to help you get started. 

baking

Tea bags

Are you a tea drinker? Or maybe your family loves tea? Lots of teabags have plastic in them, but some companies have promised to get rid of plastic from their teabags. Take a quick look on the internet to find out which companies are plastic-free. 

teapot