How to reduce single-use plastics

Tips on how to reduce single-use plastics and be part of the solution to plastic pollution
Plastic Free July. Small steps, big difference

Did you know that 79% of plastic that has ever been made still sits in landfills or the natural environment (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated or recycled) [1]? And that many plastics can only be recycled once or twice? That is why reducing plastic is far better than recycling it. 

We all want to see cleaner oceans, streets and a healthy planet. It can feel like an overwhelming challenge but change is possible! Plastic Free July is a global movement that has inspired 100+ million participants in 190 countries to make changes to refuse single-use plastics. Could you join them?

You don’t have to be 100% plastic free overnight. Start with one change and you’ll soon discover another great solution. With all of us making small changes, we can make a real difference.

We've put together some suggestions to help you reduce those everyday single-use plastics.

Reusable products

© Plastic Free July

5 plastic free tips

1. Carry reusable cups, bottles, and cutlery

Without realising, eating and drinking on the go can lead to a mountain of single-use plastic waste. Takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles, straws and cutlery are so easily avoided if you are prepared:
-    Take a reusable water bottle and download the Refill app so you can find places to top it up wherever you are.
-    Carry a reusable coffee cup, you can even get collapsible ones that don’t take up much space.
-    Keep a reusable straw and cutlery (or even just a spork!) in your bag, or opt for biodegradable alternatives.

2. Buy unpackaged products

A really simple way to reduce single use is choosing products without plastic packaging. Fruit and veg often come in unnecessary plastic, so opt for loose and if you need a little bag, try a reusable netting or cloth one. You can also stock up on things like cereal, rice, nuts and even cleaning products and toiletries at refill shops and stations and local markets across Oxfordshire. 

3. Take reusable bags when you shop

Keep a few reusable bags in your car or near your front door so you’ve got them to hand for shopping trips. And those small, light fold away cloth ones can be great to keep in your bag or a pocket, so you’ve always got a bag handy if you need one when you’re out and about.

4. Swap out clingfilm

Try plastic free alternatives, like wax wraps and fabric covers instead. The good old-fashioned plate on top of a bowl in the microwave and fridge works a treat. And reusable food containers are a great sustainable option for storing food in the fridge or freezer. You can even have a go at making your own wax wraps

5. Encourage others

The fight against single-use plastic pollution is a collective effort. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to adopt new habits by leading by example and sharing what you know. Every small change counts, and together, we can make a positive difference in protecting our environment for generations to come.