How to go plastic-free. Hints, tips and tricks for reducing waste and working towards a more ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly future!

Going plastic-free seems to be a bit of a buzz right now – and rightly so!

We’ve all seen it – Attenborough’s expose of the devastating effect that plastic pollution is having on our environment. It is hard not to feel moved by the turtle desperately trying to pull free from a mesh of plastic or the hammer.   Every time I watch the clip it brings me to tears and it inspired me, and so many others I know, to take steps toward a greener, plastic-free lifestyle.

I’m not going to be so bold as to say that my household is plastic-free, we are far from that.   But we are working towards that dream; we are slowly making changes that mean we could, one day, be plastic-free and zero waste.

Not all of the changes we have made will be suitable for everyone.   Myself, my husband (and pooch) live a life of privilege.   We have good and regular wages, we enjoy cooking and have the skills to cook the vast majority of our food from scratch.  We have free time around work that allows us to put a little bit more effort into being sustainable in our lifestyles.  And, living in Devon, we have a lot of amenities close to us that allow for a greener lifestyle.

How to go plastic-free. Hints, tips and tricks for reducing waste and working towards a more ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly future!

Shop Local

Supermarkets are notorious for wrapping everything in plastic! Tins come shrink-wrapped, bananas and salad are contained in non-degradable plastic bags, and even muesli is stored in plastic cartoons.

I have seen a lot of talk about direct action – of shoppers removing the plastic and leaving it in the shop.   I have mixed thoughts on this.   I fail to see how, unless done en-masse, this will make any difference.   This action also risks the staff simply discarding the plastic in a landfill bin as opposed to recycling. Instead, I do my own direct action and shun buying fruit, vegetables, pulses and cereals from the supermarket.   Tinned goods I do buy – just separately to avoid the shrink wrap.

I’m blessed to have a fantastic greengrocer just a few doors down from where I live.  It is mostly organic and locally produced and the woman who runs it can tell me exactly where the produce came from.   I buy the majority of goods from there where I can purchase the fruit and veg in old-fashioned brown paper bags.  They also sell kilo bags of muesli and oats – the bags are, of course, made from paper.   I’ve asked if she can source many of the grains and pulses that in my daily diet; couscous, bulgar wheat, and lentils.   I’m hopeful these will follow shortly so that I can add a few more notches to my plastic-free belt.

Switching to shopping locally for produce has reduced the amount of plastic I’m using but also reduced my food waste as I buy what I need instead of the multipacks so often grabbed at the supermarket.

Carry reusable coffee cups and water bottles

Shop reusable coffee cups & water bottles

This is something that I have done for a long time.   I carry a reusable thermos mug with me wherever I go.   It means that I don’t need to use plastic lined coffee cups with plastic lids when travelling but it also means that I don’t burn my hand as much.  A reusable coffee mug also means that the amount of stained white blouses I own has decreased as I dribble coffee less.  I also get a discount on coffee with most coffee shops, simply for showing up with a reusable cup.

I also carry a water bottle with me wherever I go.  Even when abroad! I’m yet to find a cafe or shop that won’t refill it for me for free – although trains is another matter entirely!   I feel its shocking that I can get my water bottle refilled on a twelve-hour flight to Cuba but can’t on a two-hour train journey to London!

Business can also go plastic-free by installing water purification systems that don’t rely on those huge plastic water coolers that leave a destinctly chemical taste in the water!

How to go plastic-free. Hints, tips and tricks for reducing waste and working towards a more ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly future!

Use Handmade Soap & Organic Beauty Products

One of the biggest producers of waste in my household was from beauty and hygiene products; the bottles of liquid handwash, shampoos, moisturisers, body scrubs, shower gels.

I have reduced this substantially by making my own body scrubs made from sea salt, brown sugar, honey and olive oil.   My lip balms and essential oils are made by my sister-in-law and, although they come in little plastic pots, we reuse them by refilling with fresh balm.   Lush run a similar service where all their plastic pots can be taken back to store for recycling and you recieve reward points for doing so.

I have also switched to handmade soaps – ditching my expensive liquid soaps for these long-lasting, natural, organic options.   They are sulphate free but still create a wonderful lava on your body.   You can buy them in a variety of flavours; the lemongrass and poppyseed variety has a fantastically mild exfoliating quality to it.


Have you started reducing plastic yet?  There are so many other tips and tricks that I’m starting to use and I’ll  definitely share more tips as I  get them on my instagram!

Have you started your own plastic-free journey yet?  I’d love to hear any tips you have!




This post has been sponsored by Atlist.   All thoughts and opinions expressed remain true to my findings.

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  1. August 3, 2018 / 11:46 am

    Wonderful – I loved this article. I loved seeing someone other than me talking about being green. I think you’re doing an amazing job. Because honestly, it isn’t that easy.

  2. August 3, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    I’m so glad so many people have woken up to this as it’s so important, we really need to all do out bit and with simple changed we can drastically reduce our plastic use. Such great tips, thanks for sharing

    Laura x

  3. August 3, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    I do love this and we are trying hard not to use plastic when we shop actually. My parents have also been making homemade shopping bags as they live in NZ and they are going plastic free soon as part of the law!

  4. August 4, 2018 / 7:34 pm

    Great tips! I would love to reduce how much plastic I use. I am guilty of using alot!

  5. August 5, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    I’m definitely trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use and throw away. It was really easy to switch from plastic carriers to reusable bags, so I’m hoping that we’ll succeed in other areas as well.

  6. August 8, 2018 / 9:01 am

    Such a great article and there are some great tips there, too! Thanks for sharing!!

  7. August 9, 2018 / 3:21 pm

    It is so easy to not recognise just how much plastic we are using, but once you start to look, it is shocking. A simple lunch time yogurt pot bought from the supermarket comes in a plastic pot, wrapped in plastic, with a plastic spoon, a plastic film over the crunchy topping, and a plastic backed foil seal over the yogurt! That is one product. I know we as humans are going to have to make big changes, but even the little ones are going to make a difference and we have to start somewhere. I saw an amazing programme about The Galápagos islands. They have been hit hard with plastic pollution from all over The World. The key thing was “Plastic is for life”, and I think we should all shout about this.

  8. August 9, 2018 / 5:15 pm

    I’ve recently learnt that a lot of “recyclable”plastic isn’t actually recyclable which was a big surprise. I have already for my own water bottle which helps cuts down but we could do a lot more I think to limit and save the environment and anaimals.

  9. August 10, 2018 / 7:47 am

    We’ve all bought reusable water bottles and coffee cups. It’s not much, but it’s a start!

  10. August 15, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    I would love to try and go plastic free! I’ll have to take on your tips and see how i can get on!