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New year, new habits

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Louise Williams, Posted: Monday, 28th December 2020, 09:00

This is the start of a brand new year. 2020 was a year unlike anything any of us have ever experienced and the focus quite rightly shifted from the environment to pure survival.

Although we are not out of the woods yet, it is important to yet again think about the changes we can make or re-implement to be more environmentally aware. We really need to keep the environment in focus as well. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

Plastic bags
Many supermarkets switched back to automatically delivering any food shops in plastic bags when they were leaving the shopping outside for us, which has resulted in an overflow of plastic bags in our house.

We are making sure that we reuse them and any that are ripped or damaged in any way are taken to the special recycling box when I visit the supermarket. They also take things like bread bags, cereal box liners, bubble wrap, the plastic that keeps cans together, and frozen food bags like fruit, vegetables, chips, etc.

As a general rule, any ‘stretchy’ plastic. Just make sure it is clean, dry and try to remove labels if it’s the ‘help yourself’ fruit and veg bags. It’s not for the home compostable, biodegradable bags though.

Face masks
Masks can’t be recycled. There is a lot of talk about the so-called ‘eco’ or recyclable ones that claim to be able to go in your kerbside recycling, but this isn’t confirmed by councils yet and could contaminate the rest of your recycling for obvious reasons.

There are many, many options for fabric face coverings, which are of course reusable – just pop into the wash. But in some circumstances they aren’t enough, in which case make sure you dispose of your single-use mask in an appropriate bin.

Plastic around the home
This is a huge one. Making some minor changes we can cut down on our plastic use and although it might seem small, if every household did it, we would see a huge improvement. Here are just a few things that you can swap out to more eco-friendly alternatives:
Cotton buds
 Washing up sponges
 Face wipes
 Sanitary products
 Bin bags – black plastic is the worst!
 Cling film
 Sandwich bags

There are replacements for all of these things. Look for bamboo cotton buds and toothbrushes, a huge variety of sponge options, reusable fabric pads for removing make-up, period pants, reusable pads and menstrual cups, cloth nappies, beeswax wraps and lunchboxes.

A few quick internet searches should find you an alternative and if money is tight, a lot of things you can have a go at making yourself if you have some scrap fabric. It’s worth remembering that eco-friendly options are usually an investment that will last a lot longer than their less sustainable counterparts.

Buying second hand
Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure as they say! Charity shops are always well stocked after Christmas so if you are able to shop there safely, try that first, or look online at second-hand selling sites. You might get a bargain too!

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