How to live without plastic, without spending a fortune

We’re all sick of plastic waste. But with a lot of plastic-free products carrying hefty price tags, how do we give up plastic without breaking the bank?

We asked our expert authors Martin Dorey (No. More. Plastic) and Will McCallum (How to Give Up Plastic) for some advice on how to use less plastic and save money. Here are their top tips.

5. Forget travel-sized toiletries

Why?  Sachets seem convenient for traveling, but unfortunately, they are generally made using a non-recyclable combination of a thin film of plastic and aluminium, and are winding up on the beaches across South East Asia as people cannot easily dispose of them responsibly. Meanwhile, all those mini bottles are adding to the plastic poisoning the oceans.

How?  Consider switching from liquid soap, shower gel and shampoo to solid versions that aren’t plastic-packed. Lush have been leading the way on these. At first look they may seem pricier than regular brands, but they are actually super-concentrated – when one shampoo bar lasts as long as three bottles of shampoo, you are actually getting a pretty good deal.  

6. Rethink your wardrobe

Why?  The clothes we wear are one of the greatest sources of plastic in the ocean. Miniscule strands of clothing, normally made of nylon or polyester and much finer than a human hair, detach from our clothes every time we wear them, wash them, or throw them away. A single fleece jacket could be responsible for releasing as many as 250,000 microfibres into the ocean.

How?  Buy fewer clothes, and head to vintage or second-hand shops for those you do buy. Opting for natural materials (cotton, linen, wool, silk) where you can, and washing your clothes less regularly, will also help.

7. Cut the plastic from your morning brew

Why?  Unfortunately, in the general move to use plastic in everything, many tea companies started using plastic to seal their teabags, leading to many of us polluting the environment unwittingly as we throw them in with our food waste.

How?  If there is no ‘plastic free’ label on the brand that you choose, then it will contain plastic! You could consider making your morning cuppa with loose leaf tea, which is often cheaper than teabags. You can pick up a tea leaf ball infuser to use in your mugs, or a strainer to put inside your teapot, for a couple of pounds, and as loose leaf tea is generally cheaper than teabags, this swap will also save you money in the long run.

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