Just by switching from plastic scrubbers to cleaning cloths we can cut down on plastic. Foodie and food waste activist Tom Hunt shares his favourite tips for saying no to plastic when we’re eating and drinking

Whether it’s wrapping leftovers in clingfilm, or grabbing a drinking straw for our drink, many of us are guilty of over-using disposable plastics. Luckily, eco chef Tom Hunt was able to offer valuable advice on cutting down on non-recyclables recently at Ecover’s two-day pop-up ‘Rubbish Café’ in Covent Garden, London. Here are his top 10 tips for living plastic-free…

Fill-up a bottle
Investing in a good reusable bottle is an easy way to cut down your everyday plastic use. It only takes seconds to fill up before you leave the house and will save you money.

Ditch microwave meals
It may surprise you that the black plastic trays included in many ready-meals are non-recyclable. This is because the dark colour of the plastic can’t be recycled with the more common pale plastics used for bottles of milk, water and pop. Cooking meals from scratch is an easy way to avoid waste.

Look for recyclable packaging
We all have days when we want to be in and out of the supermarket as quickly as possible, but taking a few moments to check product packaging could make a big difference to your environmental footprint. Look out for the arrow symbols on bottles and tubs to ensure that you will be able to recycle your empties.

Ditch drinking straws
If the bar or restaurant you’re at doesn’t offer paper drinking straws, then politely turn down the plastic ones. If you like using straws at home or are happy to carry one with you, there are now some reusable metal ones on the market that can be washed up and used again.

Don’t be fooled by fancy packaging
Supermarkets often package fresh ingredients in unnecessary plastic wrapping in order to brand them as premium products. Check the aisles to see if the same products are available loose.

plastic

Shop at your local market
Making the effort to visit your local food market is an easy way to avoid supermarket packaging, while supporting independent traders and buying fresh ingredients. If you’re not afraid to haggle, you can also land a few bargains!

Bring a bag
The easiest way to avoid using 5p plastic bags is to always pack a resusable tote at the bottom of your everyday bag. This way, when you need to do a spontaneous shop, it will be there ready and waiting.

Join in on #PlasticFreeFriday
Friends of the Earth run a weekly campaign, encouraging people to ditch single-use plastics every Friday. Fully committing to the cause for one day a week will make you realise how much we use plastic without thinking and give you more ideas about how to cut back.

Tub-up
You might not think twice about wrapping leftover ingredients in clingfilm, but the stretchy plastic is non-recyclable, meaning, once used, it will head straight to the landfill. When possible, choose reusable plastic, glass, or bamboo tubs, or biodegradable beeswax wrap.

Visit an Ecover refill station
To try and reduce our use of plastics, Ecover has refill stations at many local health food stores, where you can fill up your empty bottles instead of buying new ones. One Ecover customer has been refilling the same bottle for 10 years!