Updated: Jun 27, 2020
If you haven't already, there is no better time to start as July is Plastic Free Month! A global initiative to help encourage and educate people all over the world on why we should be going plastic-free, and how to implement the steps in everyday life.
From bags to straws, clothes to sanitary products, these days we have so many plastic-free alternatives on the market, it is getting easier to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we use in our everyday lives.
Here are 6 simple ways that you can make a difference today:
1) Toothbrushes. This is a very simple one, often overlooked, but one that can make a huge impact. Let's throw a small statistic out at this point, over a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown into the rubbish every single year in North America alone. If that is just North America, can you imagine how many are thrown each year all over the world? Scary right?
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush, yes the bristles are still plastic, but look at the difference it would make in the world if everyone did this simple switch. They are super easy to find these days too, you can buy them online on platforms like Sprii or in shops like Organic Food and Cafe.
2) Reusable bags. It is an obvious one, but sadly, one that many people still don't bother with.
Every single year over one trillion single use plastic bags are used and thrown away around the world, that is 2 million bags a minute! So many of these bags end up in landfills or worse - in the ocean and in the stomachs of beautiful whales and other sea life. All of us want our children to grow up seeing these beautiful creatures so it is time to act – just watch A Plastic Ocean on Netflix or the famous Blue Planet by the BBC.
Reusable shopping bags aren’t expensive and can make such a difference as well as taking your own mesh fruit and vegetable bags in the supermarkets. Imagine the number of plastic bags we could reduce if we all did this tiny little step.
You can get great reusable shopping bags at most supermarkets - go with jute or canvas bags - if you want something a little more funky try and look online or in shops like Typo.
While on this note, don't forget to take your reusable jars and containers with you to the store. Most stores have a loose section with nuts, spices and dried fruit, a meat and cheese deli - you can get them to use your own containers instead of the plastic ones and cling film. 3) Hygiene products.
Periods - We all get them, that dreaded time of the month, but what eco friendly options are available these days? Mooncups are growing in popularity and there are several brands available in the UAE, if that doesn't take our fancy then check out the Modibody period pants. There are lots of swaps you can actually make in the hygiene and grooming area of your life. Switch those awful plastic cotton buds to eco-friendly bamboo or paper ones, plastic tubes of toothpaste to toothpaste tablets, plastic bottles of shampoo or shower gel to shampoo bars and bars of soap. Disposable make up removing wipes are a thing of the past, use cotton pads or even better, use reusable make up removing pads! There are some super soft and cute ones around from many of Dubai's small businesses.
4) The last straw.
Again, a simple one but the sheer amount of plastic straws that are used in the UAE each year is crazy. Say no, refuse the straw if it is plastic and simply drink from a glass - the old fashioned way. Carry a reusable straw, these come in small little carry cases that can fit into even the smallest of handbags. You can even get bamboo, glass or metal straws in most stores now.
5) Baby butts. Nappies can take hundreds and hundreds of years to break down in landfills. Try to use either eco-friendly and biodegradable nappies such as Pure Born or perhaps try your hand at cloth nappies. The cloth nappies are definitely not for everyone, I have never been able to get along with them so well done if you can. The same goes for wet wipes, go for the biodegradable or reusable ones.
6) Cut out the plastic bottles.
The best thing to do these days is get a filter installed so that you and your family can drink directly from the tap, obviously this isn't the cheapest option but is does pay for itself over time. We don't all have that money upfront right now though, so what else can you do?
Find a water delivery company that delivers the large dispenser bottles, ask them if they recycle them. Some do and those are the ones to support. If your company doesn't, why not email them and suggest looking into it. A small ripple can make a wave! You can also make a point of visiting cafes and restaurants that offer free water from their taps. Limetree Cafe and Brambles both do and that's why we love supporting them with our coffee mornings.