Plastic packaging and products are so common, we have become complacent about buying them and discarding them. We put our faith in inefficient recycling programs, often failing to realise that very little of the plastic ends up being recycled.

As conscious consumers, we can make changes to the way we buy to reduce the plastic we put into the environment. Here are some simple steps we can take.

Use zero waste shops

There are hundreds of independent zero waste shops up and down the UK, with many more throughout the world. They are eco-friendly companies and their premise is simple: to provide an alternative to supermarkets where you can buy food and other household items with little to no packaging.

You simply fill your own containers with things like pasta, rice, flour, lentils, coffee beans, and much more. You will also find things like wax wraps, shampoo/conditioner bars, shower gel refills, and much, much more. Crisps can come in compostable packaging - these shops really are a revelation for eco-friendly products, and some supermarkets are (very slowly) adopting some of their principles.

Entertainment without the plastic

The kids can be entertained without all the plastic toys. For younger ones, focus on the principle that their imagination is all they need. Outdoor play makes all of nature their toy, and if you must buy some toys then look for wooden or metal items that are far less harmful to the environment.

As for your own entertainment, take the hit and avoid buying physical games, movies, and music. Streaming and digital downloads are not without their environmental issues regarding carbon footprint, but they eliminate the need for plastic items and packaging.

Carry a reusable water bottle and coffee cup

Purchasing bottled water/soft drinks and getting takeaway coffee in a single-use cup are both huge contributors to unnecessary plastic waste. Many places will refill your reusable water bottle for free, and coffee shops often offer a small discount for bringing your reusable cup.


This is a very brief overview, and there are many more things you can do to reduce your plastic consumption. It's about making lots of little changes, so try not to think of it as one huge change. You can make it gradually - every little helps, and the more of us that make the changes, the greater the impact will be.

Image by TheDigitalArtist via Pixabay