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Plastic free living tips – 7 single use plastics to ditch now

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Plastic is killing our planet and it’s doing us no favours either.

Here are SEVEN everyday single use plastic household items you can cut out RIGHT NOW to reduce the amount of plastic you use in your family home.

Cut down on single use plastic

It’s crazy the amount of damage that plastic is doing to our planet and yet governments around the world are being super slow to do anything about it.

Yes, there is legislation coming in, and yes things are moving in the right direction at a snails pace.

But the reality is that it is down to each of us as individuals to do our bit to cut the amount of plastic there is in this world.

Luckily there are some very straightforward things you can do TODAY to cut down the amount of plastic that gets used in your household.

I’ve put together seven ways you can literally start reducing your family’s plastic consumption right now, by ditching single use plastic.

After all this is the year of Zero Waste!

Seven ways to reduce plastic in your household

Face wipes

It hadn’t even occurred to me, until recently, that face wipes contain plastic.

Not all of them, but a LOT of them, even so-called ‘eco-friendly’ face wipes.

I guess it’s to keep them durable in water and whilst you’re wiping them frantically over your face at the end of a long day.

So I really should go figure.

The alternative to face wipes is very simple… it’s a flannel.

I’ve been using a flannel to cleanse my face in the evenings for a while now and I can honestly say it only takes a few seconds longer than using a wipe.

I use my flannel with a super gentle organic face wash that removes make-up as well as cleanses.

I’ve now got a much more detailed post on ways you can ditch single-use plastic in the bathroom, it’s eye-opening how much single-use plastic we all get through in the bathroom. 

Liquid soap

There was a time when bars of soap were the norm.

But then came liquid soap.

It was so much, well, handier.

It didn’t make a mess around the sink or basin and you could get all sorts of fancy brands.

Plus the fancy liquid soap brands claimed to be so much kinder to your skin.

The thing is, all those bottles and pump dispenses are single use plastic, we rarely use them again.

So it’s time to return to using bars of soap.

I use – and wholly recommend – using Marseille soap.

I might be biased, because I’ve spent a lot of time in Marseille over the years. But Marseille soap is made with olive oil, smells super delicious and is super kind to your skin. You can buy Marseille soap (Savon de Marseille) here.

If you really can’t bear to go back to using bars of soap, I’d suggest looking for brands that offer a refill.

Method is a brand that does liquid soap refills. I love the Method brand, it’s my go-to brand for household cleaning products that are free from nasty chemicals. Buy Method liquid soap refills here.

One other swerve is to look for liquid soap in glass containers, though these brands tend to be pricier.

Cotton buds

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Much like with the face wipes, I really didn’t click that a lot of cotton buds have plastic stems.

I know, I’m not always the sharpest!

But it turns out that many of them do and that is super bad for the planet.

There’s even an organisation set up to raise awareness of this massive issue. You can find it at Cotton Bud Project.

Luckily some retailers and brands are cottoning on – see what I did there – to better ways to make cotton buds.

Boots (UK chemist) is now selling its own brand cotton buds that have stems made from card.

I have been buying the refills of these, to avoid them coming in a hard plastic box. I simply refill the plastic box I already have for them.

So I guess the next step is for cotton buds to never come packaged in a hard plastic box!

Read more: 9 easy ways to ditch single-use plastic in the bathroom

Clingfilm / Saran Wrap

Now here’s a thing.

For years I’ve swerved using aluminium foil, because I try and avoid aluminium in the kitchen and around food at all costs.

So the revelation that I needed to cut out clingfilm had me wondering what on earth I was going to be using instead.

The solution… well, there are two.

Greaseproof paper – I’ve started using this for covering all solid food in the fridge, freezer and for packed lunches.

Glass dishes with lids – I use a glass dish with a lid when using the microwave and also for storing more liquid food in the fridge and freezer. I really like these glass dishes, they are microwave / dishwasher / freezer / oven safe.

Glass food containers |Buy Now


Well this one was a real humdinger of a revelation to me.

Teabags – well, a lot of them – contain plastic.

I suppose the plastic is what stops the bag disintegrating in boiling water.

But eugh!!!

The thought of plastic having been dunked in the million and one cups of tea I’ve made over the years, that’s just nasty.

That said, I was relieved to find out that one of my favourite tea brands, Pukka, doesn’t use plastic in its teabags.

Plus there are some big tea brands making changes to cut plastic out of their teabags as I type.

So, how to avoid plastic in teabags?

Well, one thing is to check if the brand you use has plastic in its teabags – and if it does, ditch it!

Secondly, you can use loose leaf tea.

I’ve started doing this, rather than putting bags in the teapot if we’ve got friends or family over.

Then you use a tea strainer.

But what if you just want to make a quick cuppa?

Well, you can use one of these neat little single cup tea strainer balls.

Tea strainer ball | Buy Now

Water bottles

Now this is a tricky one.

Small bottles of water are so easy to reach for.

They’re so handy to pack.

We often do so thinking we’re being so much healthier than having a drink that isn’t water.

But, in reality, we’re super speeding up the killing the planet process by drinking from plastic bottles that we only use once.

The answer here is to use a stainless steel water bottle that you fill from home instead.

My family and I are now all equipped with our own stainless steel water bottles.

Bogi Stainless Steel Water Bottle | Buy Now

They look pretty cool… and talking of cool, they’re actually way better than plastic water bottles.

You know that thing where you take a swig from a sun warmed bottle of water and it is revolting?

Well, there’s none of that when drinking from a stainless steel bottle, as it’s insulated and keeps the water tasting just lovely!

Here’s the stainless steel water bottles that we use and love…

Milk cartons

There was a time when the milkman was a regular part of daily life.

The clinking of milk bottles was a sound of the early morning.

But, then the supermarkets came along and huge numbers of us switched to buying plastic cartons of milk with our weekly grocery shop.


Not our brightest move.

Well, as it happens there are still plenty of milkmen doing the rounds and one of the best, most brilliant ways, to cut down on your family’s plastic consumption, is to sign up to a milk round.

If you’re in the UK, you can go to Find Me A Milkman to find someone who will deliver in your local area.

We have been using a milkman for a little while now, ours is from a local dairy, so we’re also happy that our milk doesn’t take up many travel miles.

So there you go. Seven really easy ways to greatly reduce the amount of single use plastic you and your family consume each year.

I hope I’ve inspired you to get on a Zero Waste mission.

Don’t wait, get started reducing that plastic right now!

Read more on Mums Make Lists:

Read more on Mums Make Lists:

We’re creating a series of posts around working towards leading a zero waste lifestyle and, most importantly,  reducing the amount of single-use plastic that’s currently drowning our world.

6 Easy ways to reduce YOUR plastic footprint

9 Zero-waste bathroom single-use plastic swaps you can make today

If, like me, you are keen to do your bit for the environment – and keep nasty chemicals to a minimum in your home for the sake of your family’s health, you might like to read some of my posts on green cleaning:

11 Zero waste Christmas ideas

10 Genius time-saving cleaning hacks

6 Natural bathroom cleaning hacks

DIY Green cleaning products that really work

And our biggie… The ONE day Spring clean that won’t take over your life

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