We’ve all seen the headlines and documentaries about the problems caused by single-use plastics. As the environment increasingly becomes a cause for concern, there’s no time like the present to take action and make the effort to reduce our personal plastic footprints.
From how to reduce the use of plastic bags in and around your home to repurposing plastic goods into something new, here are 5 easy habits to incorporate into your lifestyle – starting today!
How to reduce plastic use at home – 5 simple habits to adopt today
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Here are five simple ways you can reduce plastic waste in your everyday life:
- Reuse plastic as widely as possible: While knowing how to reduce the amount of plastic we use has the biggest positive impact on the environment, we all inevitably bring plastic into our homes at some point. Knowing how to recycle plastic bottles at home, along with other plastic containers, puts you in a position to either reuse or dispose of plastic products sensibly. Use Sunlight dishwashing liquid to lift grease from plastic containers, and reuse what you can. For example, you could wash plastic tubs and use them as containers so that you don’t need to buy any more plastic.
- How to recycle plastic bottles at home: Clean plastic bottles thoroughly with warm water and dishwashing liquid to ensure no remnants of the original liquid remain. Then, either dispose of them in your recycling bin or put them to use. We wouldn’t recommend refilling plastic bottles – when exposed to heat or wear and tear they can potentially release harmful chemicals into your drink. However, there are plenty of other ways to repurpose plastic bottles, from pencil holders to herb pots and from piggy banks to DIY sprinklers!
- How to reuse bottle caps: The body isn’t the only part of a plastic bottle that can be recycled. Bottle caps should go in the recycling too – but why not get creative and turn them into distinctive home accessories instead? From candles to makeshift medals and from mirror frames to entire table tops, beer, water and soda caps can all be repurposed into something useful for your home or fun for your family. Upcycling is a great way to add unique design flair to your home, and teach your family the importance of reusing plastic products – therefore reducing the need to buy more.
- How to reduce the use of plastic bags: The plastic bag levy in South Africa was launched at a rate of three cents a bag back in 2003. This was increased to four cents in April 2009, six cents in April 2013 and eight cents in April 2016. Supermarkets are also playing their part, with Pick n Pay set to introduce 100% recyclable bags and Woolworths aiming to eliminate single-use plastic bags. Here’s how to reduce the amount of plastic we use at supermarkets on a personal level:
- Bring reusable shopping bags.
- Avoid putting fruit and vegetables into plastic bags. Add them to your basket loose.
- Buy rice and pasta in bulk, and empty into reusable containers as and when you need to. You’ll save money this way too.
- Invest in all things reusable: Try to buy items which are reusable – particularly things which might otherwise be used just once before going in the bin.
- Reusable water bottles are great for the environment, and may be better for our health too.
- Carry a spork instead of using disposable cutlery for office lunches on the go.
- Invest in a reusable coffee cup – your local cafe should be happy to make your usual beverage in your personal container.
- Try to avoid straws, and quench your thirst at bars which offer plastic-free alternatives.
So there you have it – lots of inspiration and ideas for cutting down on your plastic use in and around the house.