A pragmatist’s guide to ditching single-use plastic

Your guide to small actions that can make a big difference for World Environment Day.

World Environment Day is on the 5th of June, with this year’s theme set as ‘solutions to plastic pollution’.

Let’s be honest. Unless you’re living an incredible niche life, avoiding plastic is almost impossible. Most of us would love to reduce the amount of plastic we use – it’s made (from fossil fuels) in a manner that pollutes the atmosphere, and also often ends up polluting our rivers, oceans and land. 

Fully recognising how hard it is, we’ve put together this plan with practical tips for any level of proficiency, to help further wean you off plastic.

Why ditch single-use plastic?

Ditching single-use plastic alone isn’t going to stop the climate crisis, but removing unnecessary plastic from day to day life can:

  • 🌎 reduce your carbon footprint 
  • ☢️ reduce the amount you send to landfill which stops harmful toxins entering our bodies and our environment
  • 💵 save you money

Practical ways to ditch single-use plastic

Three basic actions you can pledge on our platform to reduce the amount of plastic in your life are, You Mug, Tintin or Fantastic Unplastic. Once pledged you’ll receive resources and guidance throughout your pledge period to help you stick to them.

🌱 New to it 🌱

  • Use a reusable shopping bag. Store them where you need them – by the front door, in your bag or rucksack, in your car, etc.
  • Opt out of unnecessary plastic when eating out or shopping. e.g clothes hangers and straws.
  • Keep a reusable water bottle and coffee cup in your bag, car, bike and office so your coffee run and water refills are plastic-free.

🤸 Doing it 🤸

  • Audit your hygiene essentials – switch from products containing single-use plastic to soap bars, sponges made from compostable material, refillable cleaning jars, reusable razor heads, and bamboo toothbrushes. These can save money in the long run too!
  • Carry your own set of cutlery and tupperware for take out lunches
  • Declutter and recycle your unused clothing.

🙌 Done it 🙌

Already doing everything in above? You’re ready for even bigger impact:

  • Next time you need a new gadget or IT equipment, try second hand. Sites like this are a good start.
  • Think about the plastic in your wardrobe. When washing synthetic clothing, products like GUPPYFRIEND stop microfibres making their way from your washing machine into the ocean.
  • To avoid plastic-heavy clothing making it into your wardrobe in the first place, start considering sustainability in your clothing shopping. Support brands that respect the environment in their manufacturing processes.

Ditching single use plastic doesn’t mean buying new things and spending lots of money. For example, use a glass jar or old water bottle for drinks on the move, and make your own crochet dishcloth or use pieces of an old towel

Need a hand in sticking to new habits? See our Four behaviour change fundamentals and How to stick to a pledge for some handy advice.

For regular tips and resources to help form these habits, don’t forget to pledge to recycle more, avoid unnecessary packaging, and avoid disposable cups.

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