12 alternatives to single use plastic.

Single use plastics have been vilianized by the media and society lately and rightly so. It’s been a long time coming for people to understand and see the damage caused by the want of convenience. It is also estimated 50% of all plastic is single use. Food packets, coffee cups and plastic cutlery, all one time use and straight in the bin. That’s if it goes in the bin in the first place.

What damage do single use plastics do?

  • It is estimated there are over 100 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean.
  • 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags alone every year. This figure will no doubt rise if we don’t act.
  • Over 100 million marine animals are killed annually due to plastic as a whole.
  • Approximately 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced in a year. Only 10% of this is thought to get recycled.
  • It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to degrade. In the UK alone 35.8 million water bottles are used daily.
  • 500,000 straws are used every day.
  • It takes over 500 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. How long do you use your plastic bags for? Not 500 years I bet.

turtle plastic pollution

12 ways you can reduce how much single use plastic:

  1. Plastic bag > Bag for life.
  2. Bottled water > Metal bottle.
  3. Plastic straws > Metal or glass straws.
  4. Coffee cups > Reusable cups.
  5. Cling film > Reusable food covers, sandwich wraps, putting a plate over a bowl or food containers
  6. Disposable razors > Metal razors with blade changes.
  7. Ice cube bags > Ice cube trays.
  8. Plastic cutlery > Metal or wood cutlery.
  9. Bin liners > Biodegradable alternative.
  10. Bagged fruit >Loose fruit or paper bags.
  11. Shower gel > Soap in cardboard packaged or make your own.
  12. Cotton buds > Bamboo or paper cotton buds.

Here are some you can get from Big Green Smile for just over 1p per cotton bud. An excellent alternative that can be composted with no harm to the environment.

paper cotton buds


Environmental alternatives are more freely available than ever before so there is no excuse not to make some simple changes. If we can all reduce our use of these 12 items on a global level imagine the positive impact that could make on our oceans.

ocean plastic

Can we change the world?

Of course! If we can unite as one global community in making simple but effective changes, we can begin to reduce our plastic use the second we make that commitment.

Many of the 12 ways are not only environmentally responsible but money saving too. One bag for life will save you money every time you go shopping by avoiding a 5 pence charge for every individual bag.  Why not upcycle a food tin or coffee jar and see how much money you save? Save those 5 pence coins from shopping bags, the £1.50 for cling film, £1 for ice cube bags and every penny you save in the jar from not buying single use plastics like bottled water. I wonder how much money you’d have in 12 months by making small changes.

What One Change Now can you make to better our planet?

Leave a comment and tell me what of those 12 alternatives do you already do? If none, what can you do? If you have any other suggestions please share. We’re all in this together.

Be part of the solution, not the pollution.

10 thoughts on “12 alternatives to single use plastic.

  1. Thanks for these tips. Doing many of them already but good to spread the word. Perhaps people could also get involved in a monthly beach clean. Loads on the Marine Conservation Society site or do a litter pick around their local area. They could also write to as many supermarkets and businesses as possible to pressure them to make a change. Would love to see a petition to urge supermarkets to do more.


  2. These are great ideas!
    A few more from me…
    1. Use a solid shampoo bar (like Lush)
    2. Grow your own vegetables in the garden if you can, even if it’s just a tomato plant!
    3. Refuse plastic hangers at the checkout in clothes shops – the shop will likely reuse them
    4. Don’t buy greetings cards in plastic wrap, buy the ones without
    5. Switch from daily to monthly contact lenses if you can, it’s less packaging

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Roxie. We sell greeting cards in our shop that come in a compostable, biodegradable cornstarch sleeve – so not all the plastic looking sleeves around greeting cards is actually plastic. The cards are also made from recycled card and printed using eco friendly veg. based inks. Best to check first. XXX


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