It’s estimated that 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK, but only 0.25% of these are recycled. To combat this, more and more people are looking for plastic-free alternatives for their takeaway drinks. Whether you’re using them for water, coffee, or a cheeky mojito in the park, these eco-friendly options are perfect for plastic-free sipping.
Reusable metal straws are a great alternative to single-use plastic straws. They’re inexpensive and super easy to keep in your bag, so you’ve always got them there for your next drink. You can also get a handy brush for keeping them clean between uses.
Bamboo coffee cups
Switching to a reusable coffee cup is an easy way to cut down on plastic without compromising your caffeine fix. Bamboo cups can be washed and used over and over again, while an insulated travel mug will keep your Americano or iced latte at the perfect temperature until you’re ready to drink it.
Reusable water bottles
Staying hydrated is really important, so why not grab a reusable water bottle to carry with you? Metal water bottles are designed to be durable and lightweight. Plus, they help keep your water cool – even on a sunny day.
Zero-waste food storage
Whether you love to prep your meals in advance or you’re just looking to store your leftovers, grabbing some reusable food containers is an easy way to ditch disposable items like clingfilm and plastic freezer bags. These zero-waste food items will make you feel great about all those leftovers.
Keeping your lunch in a metal or bamboo bento box, instead of using tinfoil or sandwich bags, is a fantastic way to reduce your plastic usage. You might even find the inviting little compartments inspire you to try out some new lunch recipes.
Sustainable food wraps are a great alternative to fiddly disposable clingfilm. Beeswax strips have a slight stickiness to them, so they can fold neatly around the top of your dish. Simply wipe them clean after each use, and they’re good to go. If you’re after a vegan-friendly alternative there are soy wax versions too.
From glass tubs to metal mixing bowls, there are loads of great options for plastic-free containers out there. Glass dishes are usually pretty hardy and will be fine in the fridge, the microwave and even the oven. You’ll even reduce your washing up by using the same container for cooking and storing food.
Heading to the shops? These easy plastic-free swaps can help you cut down on waste while you purchase some goodies – a great excuse to get that new outfit you’ve been eyeing up!
Cotton tote bags are a great alternative to plastic bags. They’re lightweight, durable and can be folded up easily and stored away. They also come in a huge range of designs and colours. And if they start to get a bit grubby, you can just pop them in the washing machine – great for using over and over again.
Buying loose fruit and veg may seem like a good way to avoid excess packaging, but you still need something to put it all in. That’s where these reusable bags come in. Washable cotton or mesh fabric bags are made from breathable fabrics, so they’ll help to keep your fresh produce, well, fresh. They fold up super small and are totally reusable; you could even sew your own if you’re feeling creative.
Glass bottles and jars
If you’re wondering how to go plastic-free, you could make a start by considering how many pre-packaged items you buy. More and more shops are offering a zero waste section where you can refill your own containers to save on plastic. Glass bottles and jars are a great way to buy and store all sorts of household items, from washing up liquid to pasta.
Keeping your house clean doesn’t have to involve toxic chemicals that can pollute the planet. Some of our favourite plastic-free products are great for eco-friendly cleaning.
Most sponges and J-cloths are made from plastic fibres, but compostable sponges are made from natural fibres including cellulose and cotton. Once they’re worn out you can simply pop them into your green bin or compost heap and they’ll biodegrade into the soil.
Coconut fibre products
Coconut fibre is naturally scratchy and can be farmed sustainably. This means it makes great dish brushes and scourers that remove food easily – but won’t scratch or damage non-stick pans. The fibres are antibacterial too, so your dishes will be even cleaner. Plus, they’re made of wood, coconut fibre and metal wire, so once they’re fully worn out they can be taken apart and recycled or composted.
Bamboo clothes pegs
Drying your laundry on a washing line or airer is a green, low-energy alternative to the tumble dryer. Bamboo clothes pegs are made from a sustainable plant fibre that’s tough enough for you to use over and over, no matter how much laundry a full house can produce. Unlike plastic clothes pegs, they won’t fade or degrade over time in bright light.
With a bit of creativity, you’ll find plenty of simple swaps to help you live plastic-free. Here at Gumtree, we’re doing our best to reduce waste by finding new homes for pre-loved items. Why not check out our home and garden section to see what you can find?