Plastic polluters in your cupboards

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With plastic pollution becoming one of the most pressing environmental issues in recent years and more single use plastic being produced every single day, people are beginning to want to make a difference. By Paige Bee

A lot of large brands have recently swapped plastic straws for paper ones, and people have been reaching for re-usable straws and cups over single use ones in their day-to-day life. Which is excellent however plastic straws only make up 0.025% of the ocean’s plastic pollution. There are much bigger plastic polluters sitting in your cupboard and your fridge as we speak. So, if you’re looking for easy ways to make a difference keep reading for some tips and tricks on ways to cut down on plastic at home and be more sustainable.

Food packaging

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re rushing around the supermarket to be looking at whether packaging is recyclable or trying to find the most sustainable variation of what you’re looking for but it does make a massive difference! As one of the biggest household polluters is food wrappers and packaging, choosing cardboard or recyclable options over single use ones could cut your household waste

significantly. For example, with most tea bags being non-biodegradable and containing plastic, you could look to find a plastic free brand you enjoy or use a tea strainer instead. It’s also great to say no to cellophane wrapped fruits and vegetables and grab the loose unpackaged choices where possible.

Menstrual products

It is estimated that between 1.5-2 billion menstrual products are flushed down toilets every single year in the UK alone, being an extremely large contributor to plastic pollution. Most sanitary pads are lined with plastic and almost all tampons and pads come wrapped in single use plastic, making it very hard to use them sustainably. Due to this in recent years many new options have been becoming very popular, such as reusable and washable pads, period underwear and menstrual cups. There are also some plastic free brands that make regular tampons and pads too, just with more eco-friendly materials.


One of the biggest ocean polluters is cigarette butts, you may not think much of dropping something so small but they actually cause a lot of environmental harm. Not only do they contain plastic but studies also show that the compounds they contain, such as nicotine and pesticide residues, can seep out into the ocean’s ecosystems and therefore cause harm to fish and other living organisms. So, think twice before flicking them down a drain or onto the street and choose to discard of cigarette butts correctly.

Health care products

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One of the areas in your house with the most plastic polluters will be your bathroom… from conditioner bottles to toothpaste there are many things you could swap out for more environmentally friendly options.

Wet wipes (some of which are labelled flushable) actually contain plastic and can’t dissolve the way they’re marketed to, causing them to end up in our ocean and rivers. Some alternatives are reusable wash cloths, reusable wipes or genuinely compostable wipes, such as bamboo ones. You can also trade bottled shampoos and soaps for bar alternatives, as most are completely package free and fully sustainable.  Bars can also end up being much cheaper because of how concentrated they are they last much longer!

Plastic bottles

Single use water, juice and fizzy drink bottles are one of the worst sources for litter worldwide, affecting both the land and sea. The UK alone uses 38.5 million plastic bottles every day, of which 15 million are discarded and not recycled. Did you know recycling a single plastic bottle will save enough energy to power a lightbulb for three hours or more? Recycling bottles properly is such a simple yet important task. There are other ways to cut down on bottles too, such as carrying a reusable one with you or you can use them for something more creative like making them into bird feeders or plant pots.

50% of plastic is one use only and only 5% of all plastic is recovered from what is produced. It is so important for us to all want to be more sustainable. There are many ways to do that throughout the day, some things as simple as remembering your ‘bag for life’ or reusing glass jars. 

Making a change, no matter how small, is still making a change! 

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