• binbagchallenge

NO MORE SINGLE USE ITEMS

Updated: Nov 8, 2021


A key objective of all zero waste subscribers is to get rid of single use items. Single use, except for medical purposes, is a nonsense.


The top four offenders are the water bottle, the straw (plastic or paper), the carrier bag and the coffee/tea cup. Other offenders include: plastic wraps and aluminium foil, meal containers, sandwich bags, plastic cutlery used on the go or for parties, outdoor plastic glasses and paper plates.


More sustainable options exist for all these items. Here is a selection.


 

On the go

 

Carrier bags

Find light, foldable bags to replace single use plastic carrier bags. Keep them with you at all times, folded in your handbag, pocket, bike or car, so you always have one at hand.


Use bags you already have, make one, or buy second-hand from Oxfam - because even the good old cotton tote can have a huge unseen environmental impact due to the water and energy needed to produce it.If you do get them, re-use them thousands of times - until they fall apart!


If you often buy fruit/ veggies in bulk, or bread, find smaller, lighter bags to replace these paper bags too (M&S and Waitrose have drawstring bags). Keep your bread in the bag to keep it fresh.

Take-away food

When going for take-away food, refuse plastic cutlery, paper napkins, plastic containers. Straws, cups, bottles, and plastic cutlery are all within the top 10 items found on beaches. Get their reusable alternatives: a reusable cup, durable cutlery, and a cloth napkin.

Water bottles

Avoid water bottles and carry a reusable water bottle.


There are plenty of places to refill them for free (check here: app version or web based).

Refuse straws

Even if they are paper based or biodegradable (most boroughs do not have the specific process required to treat them). Straws have a tendency to appear all by magic – so the key is to let the waiter know you don’t want one when you order.

 

At home

 

Water bottles

Avoid water bottles at home too – find another system to get tap water to your taste. Charcoal for instance. The carbon surface attracts chemicals, chlorine, and carbon-based impurities and traps them. Some chemicals are neither attracted nor trapped e.g., sodium, nitrates, etc. as active charcoal is a partial filter. If you do use charcoal make sure you check what it will and will not filter, and that you maintain it (as you would any drink container) to ensure it remains free of bacteria. To understand your water quality in Wandsworth, click here.

Special events

Whether for your day-to-day life or when organising special events, avoid single use cutlery, plates, and glasses. If you do not have enough at home for parties:

borrow instead or rent what you need. Library of Things rents party kits.

Bathroom

In your bathroom, avoid everything single-use, such as Q-tips, cotton balls, sanitary pads, could go too. They all have re-usable alternatives.


Our Beauty section includes many swap options. If you have to renew these items, have a look at this section first.


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