You don’t have to be rich to tackle plastic pollution. Reducing your plastic consumption not only helps to save our planet, but also your hard-earned pennies.
There’s a troublesome myth that floats amongst us — the misconception that plastic reduced living is harsh on our bank accounts and can only be achieved by middle class well-doers. However, reducing your plastic not only has the potential to save the world, but also your hard-earned pennies. Plastic reduced living is for everyone, regardless of your income.
And everyone doing their bit is exactly what we need to ensure our beautiful planet’s survival. At current, it is estimated that 8 million pieces of plastic pollution enter our oceans every single day. If we don’t take action now, it is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. 2050 might sound far away, but it’s not. How many of you remember what you were doing in 1992? We are now closer to the 2050s than we are to the 1990s.
Plastics are all around us, in our fridges, our wardrobes, our makeup bags, and our cleaning cupboards (we could go on, but we’ll stop here). It’s completely understandable if the thought of trying to cut plastics out of your life leaves you overwhelmed. It can be difficult to make eco-friendly choices when you find that bargain dress (ah — made of 100% polyester). Or you go to the supermarket for peppers and find it’s 55p for one loose pepper, or just under £1.00 for three (but wrapped in a mass of single-use plastic film).
However, there are plenty of easy-peasy ways to enjoy the best of both worlds — items which don’t cost the earth, or the entirety of your wallet:
Grow your own
You don’t have to be a green-fingered wizard to grow your own fruits, veggies and salad leaves at home. In fact, you don’t even have to own a garden. Strawberries, cabbages, carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, peas, radishes, onions, broad beans, runner beans (and plenty more) all grow perfectly in a UK garden. And cress, basil, chives, carrots, radishes and spinach all take well to a window box home. Growing your own is a lot of fun. You’ll end up with delicious, nutritious and organic produce that costs just a fraction of what the supermarkets charge. And it sprouted without a single plastic wrapper in sight. What’s not to love?
Go DIY on the cleaning products
Almost every shop-bought cleaning product comes in plastic. Sometimes they even wrap the plastic bottles in a plastic film (no wonder our poor planet is struggling). For this very reason, DIY cleaning products are a trend quickly on the rise. From washing-up liquid, to window cleaner and all-purpose cleaner, there’s a lot you can make from a simple selection of ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. It’ll hardly cost you a penny.
Reusables are your life-long friends
Cotton tote bags, reusable makeup wipes, reusable straws, metal water bottles, metal lunch boxes, washable period pads or moon cups. There are so many great reusable products out there. Whilst the upfront cost of these sustainable products is more than disposable products, they have the potential to save you a lot more money in the long run, keeping both your bank account and the planet in good shape.
DIYs can be brilliant and a lot of fun. However, not many of us have enough spare time to go DIY with absolutely everything (if you do, we envy you). When it comes to shopping, try to adopt the mindset that less is more (because it really is). Responsible consumer behaviour is a big part of cutting plastic usage and CO2 emissions. Charity shops and other second-hand stores are a great place to head to for a wide range of often high-quality items, from clothing, to home-decor, furniture, books, toys, board games and plenty of wondrous randoms. No matter your budget, second-hand shops allow you to choose quality over quantity.
When it comes to beauty and hygiene products, there are plenty of affordable eco-friendly companies out there. KiteNest sells a fantastic range of fully sustainable and cruelty free goodies that will leave you feeling pampered from head to toe, all without upsetting your bank account.
A plastic-reduced lifestyle is doable no matter your budget. Whether you manage to cut your usage by 30% or 100%, it all helps to protect our wonderful planet. And to top it all off, going plastic-reduced could see the numbers in your bank account shoot up (something which none of us have ever complained about).