Plastic has become one of the most harmful materials to our environment, but its only now that people are starting to realise the impact that it is having on the planet and become more aware of what contribution they are personally making to this problem. From polluting oceans and harming wildlife, to filling up landfills for decades without decomposing, plastic is having devastating short term and long-term effects.
But did you know – Going Plastic Free can actually be far HEALTHIER for you and you could SAVE MONEY too! Going Plastic Free will not only help the environment and reduce landfill, but it can be another way of making sure that you are eating fresh and healthy and will reduce your consumption of packaged or processed foods.
I have always been environmentally conscious and try to follow a healthy balanced diet. I’m pretty good at recycling and try not to waste products or food I do buy that that come in plastic. During ‘Plastic Free July’ I took on my own challenge to reduce my use of plastics. I started by identifying the products I buy regularly that contain plastic packaging and looked at changes to my shopping and eating habits.
So what did I find?
I compared my shopping lists and the amount of plastic I was putting into the bin and was surprised at the difference just a few small changes could make:
LESS WASTE – I was throwing away far less rubbish each week
SAVE MONEY – I was spending less money on some of the prepared foods
HEALTHIER – I was eating fresher, healthier food
FEEL GOOD – I felt better for doing my bit for the environment!
I thought it would be great to share some ideas with you to raise awareness of your own use of plastic and how effective a few small changes can be! Here are a few tips to get you started…
- Start using a reusable coffee cup
If you don’t have one already this is perhaps the easiest thing you can do. How often do you get a take out coffee on the way to work? All those cups with plastic lids mount up. What more, an insulated cup will keep your drink that much hotter for longer! Many coffee shops now even give you a discount when you bring your own cup! If they don’t advertise a discount… just ask, they will soon get the message about what their customers want!
2. Buy fruit and veg fresh from the farm store or loose at the supermarket
Take a trip to the farmer’s market to see what kinds of produce are being offered and their prices – Often farmers markets prices are the same or better than the supermarkets, and the produce often stays fresher far longer as it has usually only just be picked.
3. Make your own sauces and dressings
This can be quick, easy and far healthier. You can experiment with spices to get the flavours you want and add a nice variety to your food. Many bought dressings contain lots of added fats and sugar that you really don’t need. Dressings for salads can be prepared in moments and everything can be kept in glass jars.
4. Go for glass jars over plastic when you do your food shop
Never buy water in plastic bottles. If you have a reusable bottle or stainless flask, many cafes or restaurants will fill with tap water for free. Its often just as good as the bottled water, its cooler, fresher and you may find you drink more water that way. Things like olive oil or dressings are a prime example where many manufacturers will use both plastic and glass, so always go for the glass.
5. Make healthy oat or nut/ fruit bars for snacks
Snacking doesn’t have to be unhealthy. You can make your own bars or snacks that can be packed with energy, fibre, protein and antioxidants that wont have any added sugar or preservatives that many of the shop bought options do. You know exactly what you’re eating, they will probably be far cheaper and if you keep some staple ingredients in the cupboard, you may even save a trip to she shop!
6. Avoid Processed food in packaging and prep your own
Make meals in bulk and freeze portions to save you time in the week and give you some healthy meals or snacks to grab and go when you need them! You wont be spending money on convenience foods that come in lots of packaging and you know exactly what you are eating! With a little organisation you may also find that your food waste reduces, saving you money and needless waste of packaged foods that go straight in the bin because you haven’t managed to eat them before their use by date!
Here are 3 Things You Can Do NOW to Spread the Plastic-Free Mantra
- Do your bit by making these positive changes and get healthier!
2. Tell your friends and family about your lifestyle change and inspire others
3. SHARE this article on social media
By living with less plastic, you’re making a positive impact on our planet right now and for future generations. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, the health of our environment affects us all, and you’re helping to make it a better planet for everyone by setting a great example.
One person living with less plastic isn’t going to make a big impact. But if that one person can inspire another person, and that person inspires two more people etc. we could make a huge difference!
Manufacturers and retailers will soon get the message and make changes to the products or services we buy to keep customers and show that they are taking responsibility too! It’s down to all of us to make a difference…that includes YOU!