5 Tips to Reduce Single-Use Plastic

5 Tips to Reduce Single-Use Plastic

To help with the aim of reducing our single-use plastic consumption, I visited Harrogate Spring Water’s beautiful HQ in North Yorkshire to see what they are doing to help create a circular loop for recycled plastic.

During my visit I was overwhelmed with the brand’s passion for helping the environment and was pleased to discover that they are endorsed by the environmental charity ‘Keep Britain Tidy’. This is thanks to their 100% recyclable water bottles which are made from over 50% recycled material and are therefore not ‘single-use’.  Great work guys!

As a dietitian, I’m passionate about making the ‘healthy choice’ the ‘easy choice’ whilst still keeping in mind the potential affect on our planet. Below are my top five personal tips for reducing single use plastic whilst staying healthy.

  • 1) Use Re-usable Tote Bags instead of Buying 5p Plastic Bags.

I always keep a fold-up reusable bag in my bag just incase I go to the shops, it really is amazing how much you can fit in them. I also keep larger, more heavy duty, reusable shopping bags in my car incase I head out for a bigger food shop. If I go clothes shopping I make sure to take with me a large canvas bag, and only ever accept bags from shops which are made from paper meaning they are easier to recycle. You’re not only saving the environment with this tip but money too!

  • 2) Decline Plastic Straws when out & use Reusable Straws at Home.

I’ll admit that I used to always ask for a straw when out, however now I wouldn’t dream of it! Not asking for a straw or telling the bar staff that you don’t want one with your drink is a simple way to reduce your single use plastic consumption. It may even encourage your local bar or restaurant to opt for a more environmentally friendly option such as paper straws. For drinks at home, you could use reusable straws which are made from metal.

  • 3) Use a Keep Cup or Reusable Coffee Cup in Coffee Shops instead of a Disposable Coffee Cup.

A reusable coffee cup is the latest addition to my tote bag and I absolutely love it. I take it with me to work or the shops incase I want a hot drink and to make it even better, most coffee shops offer either a discount towards your hot beverage or an extra stamp towards getting a free one!

  • 4) Buy Fruits and Vegetables Loose, as opposed to in Plastic Bags.

This is probably one of the hardest tips to implement as it’s mainly down to what is available in the shops. There are however almost always loose fruit and vegetables options that you can buy that don’t come wrapped in unnecessary plastic. Bananas are a classic example, buy them loose and you immediately cut down on the amount of plastic that you take home with you.

  • 5) Buy Only 100% Recyclable Water Bottles that are made from Recycled Plastic (i.e. non-single use).

Before visiting Harrogate Spring Water HQ, I had no idea that there was any difference between the plastic water bottles on sale for on the go healthy hydration. Harrogate Spring Water are proud to run one of the most environmentally efficient facilities in the world, with all of their products and materials being made from at least 50% recycled content and are 100% recyclable (this includes the bottle, label and cap). They have been zero-waste-to-landfil for almost 10 years, which is incredible.

Harrogate Spring Water have even taken their bottle designs one step further by allowing them to shrink when empty. You simply twist them with the cap off and then replace the cap to keep them twisted and small; this means that they can be easily taken home to be recycled rather than thrown in a general waste bin on the go.

And, if you’re thinking about buying water in a can or tetra pak, think again, as PET (an abbreviation for Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles are one of the greenest forms of packaging, using less energy and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing process. The most sustainable packaging for the future is one that is fully recyclable and has another life such as the 100% PET bottle.

How many of these tips do you do already?

I would love to hear if you have any more too!

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