Let's start with some good news - since the UK government introduced the 'Five Pence Fee' in 2015 and supermarkets and large stores had to start charging for their plastic carrier bags, the amount of bags sold dropped between 85 and 90%!
This is fantastic, but carrier bags are not all of the plastic bags polluting our world. Ever thought about the produce bags your bread, fruits and veg are packed in? Or what about your rice, pasta and dried lentils?
Most councils in the UK do not recycle these plastic 'film' bags and they account to about 25% of your household waste. Check out your council's guidelines if you can actually put these plastic film bags with your recycling.
Tip 1: use reusable grocery bags
Reusable grocery bags are a great way to start wasting less. It's been a long time since I bought a plastic bag at the supermarket and I’m trying to keep it that way! When I don’t have my cotton grocery bags with me I only buy the necessary products I can carry so I don’t need to buy a plastic bag.
Tip 2: use reusable produce bags
I never see anyone else using produce bags and that baffles me. Many people still use the plastic film bags stores provide and when they buy their veggies/bread/fruits they get the pre-packaged goods. It is astounding how many people just don't give a shit about the amount of plastic they are dumping into this world.
I often get compliments on my reusable produce bags and never go shopping without them.
Tip 3: don't buy pre-packaged fresh foods
I have a favorite fruit and veg store where they barely have pre-packaged produce. It's perfectly fine to fill up your own produce bags and you just have to make sure to wash everything before you eat it!
Tip 4: buy dried foods in bulk from eco-friendly stores
There is a rise in refill stores and this is the perfect way to be waste-free. Just bring any bag or container into the store and pay by weight.
If you can't find a refill station near you for your rice, oats, pasta and dried beans and pulses, buy in bulk or buy bigger bags. There are brilliant website who deliver carbon-free and Cero even delivers in biodegradable bags!
Tip 5: choose for glass instead of plastic
Need to get yourself some new cooking oil? Or sauces? Even though glass takes more energy to be produced than plastic does, it is infinitely recyclable.
When you're at it, choose the biggest size as well, just to use up a bit less packaging as well. The same counts for tin packaging - so my much easier to recycle!
Get yourself a 10% discount at online zero waste shop Cero with the code mysustainable10