It’s important that we act now and get used to having more sustainable products around the home, because from April 2020, some of the more widely used single-use items like plastic straws and polystyrene cups will no longer be available to buy.
So that we can understand how we can reduce our plastic footprint, we enlisted the help of 2,000 people to tell us which eco-friendly products can help us do our bit.
Shoppers that we asked told us these are the environmentally friendly products that they look out for:
Cloth nappies can be an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable nappies, however for them to be a sustainable product for the environment as well as you, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.
For example, if your baby is a newborn, you’re sure to need to use more nappies than if you have a three year old, who only needs them at night time, so you’ll need to think about how you’ll be able to wash and dry the amount of nappies that your child needs.
Although fewer people (8%) have made the change to washable nappies than to other environmentally friendly products, more and more places are stocking reusable nappies in a variety of different styles and designs.
At babipur.co.uk you can choose between brand, age group and size, including specialist fits for newborn babies.
Shaving can be a burden to most people, and some of us go out of our way to look for a way to shave that doesn’t include using traditional razors, for example, hair removal cream, or even growing a trendy beard!
Research told us that just 9% of people have traded their traditional razor for a wooden alternative, which is surprising, given that a quick search returns a range of alternatives available to shavers.
If you’re ready to switch to a more sustainable shave, take a look at some of the eco-friendly options available at plasticfreedom.co.uk.
We brush our teeth every day, but you probably don’t think about what happens to the plastic in your toothbrush after you’ve discarded it, not least the number of times that you and your family replace theirs each year.
54% of people explained that the toothbrush they use is plastic, making it the hardest sustainable product for us to leave behind.
There’s a great range of environmentally friendly alternatives available too, with some companies even offering a subscription service to make sure your next brush is ready when you need it.
Take a look at anythingbutplastic.co.uk for an impressive range of kids’ and adults’ bamboo toothbrushes and holders.
Perhaps straws are your must have accessory, or maybe your kids or grandkids aren’t ready to give up drinking from them, whatever reason you have for using them - you’re not alone.
42% of the people we asked use straws, and only 17% have made the switch to a more environmentally friendly version so far.
The great news is, you don’t have to give up on the humble straw just yet.
Reusable drinking straws come in lots of different designs and usually come with their own cleaning brush too, meaning that for a little more effort, you’ll be drinking from a straw that’s much better for the environment.
Independent.co.uk has collated its 8 best reusable straws including glass, silicone and even metal straws - so there should definitely be something to suit your taste.
Reusable sandwich wraps
Cling film is something that we’re all accustomed to using for things like keeping food fresh in the fridge or for ensuring our sandwiches don’t go stale on the commute to work each day.
26% of us, however, have chosen to buck the throw away trend and instead use reusable sandwich wraps to safely deliver our dinner to work each day.
As well as reducing your contribution to plastic pollution (reusable wraps tend to last for around one year), you could also save money by switching to an alternative way of keeping your food fresh.
Beeswaxwraps.co.uk stock a variety of handmade beeswax wraps made from cotton, pine resin, jojoba oil and beeswax – their colourful designs look a great deal better than cling film too!
Wipes are a must-have in most of our shopping bags, however a lot of the products available on shelves aren’t biodegradable, meaning it can take years for them to disappear from landfill sites.
Regardless of the types of wipes that you use, you should never flush them down the toilet, by doing this you could potentially cause a blockage that might affect yours or your neighbours toilets and sinks.
If you’re ready to join 33% of people and make a change, head to the ethicalsuperstore.com and take a look at the range of biodegradable wipes and essentials that they have on offer.
Reusable coffee cup
Nowadays, most coffee shops (and even some workplaces) offer a discount when you produce your own refillable cup and you’ll even find that some of them stock their own so you can buy one along with your next coffee.
Only 17% of the people we asked still use a single use cup, meaning that most of us carry a reusable cup and are making the most of the discounts on offer.
When you’re on the lookout for a reusable cup, why not benefit from one that’s insulated, and will keep your coffee warmer on your morning commute.
Here’s a range from thermos that is sure to help keep your tea toasty.
Biodegradable bin bags
46% of the people we asked are on board with ensuring that their waste is packed in biodegradable bin bags instead of plastic, meaning that the bags will break down much more quickly and won’t hang around at landfill sites.
Most supermarkets stock compostable bags and bin liners for all sorts of bins and outdoor waste, meaning that by spending a little extra money on your bin bags, you can easily replace your usual plastic bags next time you’re out.
Every Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, hordes of us head to local shops to stock up on new batteries in time for our loved ones’ arrival, and ready to save children’s tears and power up Christmas toys.
But what if, instead of charging to the shops, you could just head to the garage and power up your trusty battery charger, powering new life into your existing rechargeable batteries.
And it works all year round - 49% of the people we asked rely on this method to keep their household items powered throughout the year.
A quick search for rechargeable household batteries should supply you with everything you need to get started.
Face cloth (instead of wipes)
Most face wipes aren’t degradable, meaning that by throwing them in the bin you’re contributing to landfill, or by flushing them down the toilet they could contribute to blocked pipes and sewers and may even cause flooding in your home.
A reusable face cloth is a sustainable alternative, and 52% of the people we asked told us they’re happy reusing one. By replacing disposable items with those you can reuse in the home, you’re not just removing your environmental footprint, you could also spare your home from damage.
Reusable water bottle
We need to drink water every day, and whether you’re at the gym, the office, or out and about, it’s easy to find somewhere to fill up nowadays. So why not get your hands on a stylish drinks bottle, and start saving money on something we all need to use regularly.
20% of the people we asked still rely on buying bottled water when out and about instead of filtering and filling up at home, or stopping for a drink at the water cooler at work.
Getting up and leaving your seat for a drink regularly is good for you too, so why not kit yourself out with a step counter, reusable water bottle, and take a look at the best family water filters according to healthykitchen101.com.
We’re all aware of the idea of using local produce instead of cheaper, imported fruit and veg, but do we understand why it’s better for the environment?
Head to arrowquip.com to find out how eating local produce helps preserve small farm land, reduce food miles and promote accountability - all contributing to reduce our footprint on the environment.
If you’d like to join the 54% of people who told us they prefer to eat local produce, look out for your local farmers market, eat seasonally, or try growing your own fruit and veg - it may be easier than you think.
Reusable produce bags
Paid-for reusable vegetable bags are favoured by 55% of the people we asked, and they can mean that you no longer need to rely on throw away bags when you pick your loose vegetables at the supermarket.
However, It turns out that 18% of people prefer to pack their vegetables with non-reusable bags, perhaps worrying that they’re unlikely to reuse the bags and throw them out anyway - or just forgetting to pack them on a regular basis.
If you’re ready to start reducing the amount of non-reusable bags that you use and instead carry your vegetables in something more stylish, shop around online for ‘reusable produce bags’.
At ecobravo.co.uk you can buy washable bags that are labelled, meaning you can easily see what you’ve packed - they look great on your kitchen shelf too.
LED light bulbs
Is there anything more annoying than replacing a broken light bulb?
11% of the people we asked have decided against switching from more traditional bulbs, meaning they could be having to buy more bulbs and have to change them more often.
According to howtogeek.com, LED bulbs could last for a cool 10 years under the right circumstances, meaning you’ll be replacing them far less often, and can spend your time doing something much more interesting, like… almost anything!
And the benefits don’t stop there, as well as improving your house’s EPC rating, thegreenage.co.uk reports that you’ll use up to 90% less energy - saving money too!
Reusable supermarket shopping bags
A whopping 83% of the people we asked explained that reusable bags, or bags for life are their go-to hold-all when out and about shopping, perhaps even using them for other day-to-day things like picnics and holiday packing.
7%, however, decided against the switch, maybe concerned that it’s easier not to have to remember your bag before leaving the house, or that you’ll get into the habit of discarding the bags just as easily as their plastic alternative.
If you’re in the market for a new range of bags and you’d like to make your weekly shop easier to manage, take a look at packingsorted.co.uk for bags that fit right inside your trolley - helping restore some order at the checkout!
Visit gov.uk for more information about the ban on plastics like straws, stirrers and cotton buds that comes into force in April 2020.