It is estimated that nearly five million tonnes of plastic are used in the UK each year, half of which is packaging, while six in ten (60%) Britons admit they need help reducing the amount of plastic they use.
To help people who want to reduce the plastic used in their homes, online metal retailers, Metals4U, unveiled 10 eco-friendly alternatives to everyday disposables that anyone can make now.
Reusable tea bags
As a convenient alternative to disposable tea bags, reusable metal or plastic tea infusions are a great option for those looking to reduce their waste. In addition, your tea strainers give you the option to add more tea leaves to strengthen your brew and reduce the need to double up on tea bags.
Disposable plastic straws are known to be environmentally harmful as they are rarely recycled, non-reusable, and non-biodegradable.
An estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws are used in England each year3. Reusable straws made of stainless steel or bamboo are a better alternative. These can be washed and reused, especially metal lasts a long time.
Bamboo paper towels
While paper towels are recyclable and washable tea towels are a great reusable alternative, bamboo paper towels are the perfect choice for you if you are looking for an eco-friendly hybrid.
These paper towels are disposable but can be reused over a longer period of time. In addition, they are fully biodegradable and made from sustainable sources.
Beeswax cling film
Beeswax cling film works the same as plastic cling film, but without the environmental damage caused by disposing of plastic. The packaging is reusable, and you can even make your own by simply melting down beeswax and soaking the cloth in the liquid.
Metal water bottles
The use of plastic water bottles in the UK is showing no signs of slowing down, and it is estimated that the average adult turns 150 every year
While a plastic plunger will help avoid the use of single-use bottles, a stainless steel bottle is a better quality, longer-lasting option. In addition, the metal is less likely to leach chemicals into the liquid than plastic
Toothbrushes made of wood
Most people own a disposable toothbrush for holidays or weekends. Instead of buying a plastic toothbrush, it may be better to buy a wooden toothbrush instead.
These eco-friendly alternatives are just as effective as manual plastic toothbrushes but are less polluting when disposed of.
Compostable garbage bags
These biodegradable trash bags are the perfect alternative to traditional bags and are great for collecting garden waste that can be composted. Not only that, but when they are used for household waste, they biodegrade naturally in landfills, reducing the amount of harmful plastic pollution.
Eco-friendly picnic sets
While there may not be many picnic options in the current climate, cutlery and plate sets made from materials like wood or bamboo are great picnics option at the bottom of the garden, waiting for days to come.
These sustainable sets can either be disposed of or washed and reused. They are also a great alternative to plastic dishes and metal cutlery for young children.
Reusable ear cleaners
Cotton swabs with plastic stems are one of the worst pollutants among single-use plastics and one of the focus of the proposed ban. An estimated 1.8 billion are thrown away every year, 10% of which are flushed in toilets and pollute the waterways or pollute the sea6.
You can purchase a reusable wax remover at a relatively low cost. These can be either metal or rubber and can be easily cleaned and reused instead of being thrown away.
Fabric shopping bags
Although retailers are banned from making plastic bags available for free, they are still widely used and not recycled. Environmentally friendly alternatives made of fabric or other natural materials such as hemp can be reused regularly and will biodegrade after disposal.
Paul McFadyen, General Manager of metal4U, said: “It is clear that people are increasingly adopting green initiatives and it is great to see that so many are passionate about improving the environment.
“Plastic is an amazingly versatile material, but it also has disadvantages and we should do our best to keep everyday consumption as low as possible. For this reason, reusable alternatives made from metal or biodegradable materials are the best option, especially for things we use frequently, as it will reduce our carbon footprint and save us money. “