Kicking your plastic bottle habit
Plastic bottles are a growing nightmare for the planet. In the UK alone we use 36 million plastic bottles every single day according to Recoup Recycling. Less than half of the bottles purchased in 2016 were recycled — with just 7% of those collected turned into new bottles. The rest ended up in landfill sites or the ocean. The great shame is, so many plastic bottles are easily substitutable for a more environmentally friendly alternative.
The Raindrop team have been having a look at how you can ditch your plastic bottle habit this, and how much hassle and expense are involved. Let's start off with an easy one:
Plastic household cleaning bottles
As we're Raindrop we have to talk about this first. You can reduce all your plastic household cleaning waste by switching to Raindrop products. You create zero plastic waste, the performance of our products is second to none, and it's no more expensive - often even cheaper - than buying cleaning products in plastic bottles from the supermarket. An easy win.
- Hassle rating: None
- Cost rating: Essentially zero
Still water bottles.
This is a massive category of plastic bottle waste and there's no excuse here for not switching away from plastic. There's an amazing range of refillable water bottles on the market - some are really cheap (we've found them at £2) and some are objects of design desire and more expensive. However, if you're paying £1 on average for bottled water from the shop, however dear your refillable water bottle was you'll soon cover the cost. What's more, there are over 14,000 cafés, restaurants, shops, hotels and other businesses in the UK where you can top up your water for free, whether you're a customer of not. Get the Refill app to find out more
- Hassle rating: None.
- Cost rating: You end up saving money.
Sparkling drink bottles
This is more tricky. Whether it's Coke and Fanta, or sparkling water, there's no role here for a refillable water bottle. There are, however, other options which are zero plastic and more environmentally friendly. You can get pretty much any sparkling drink you choose to name in a glass bottle or aluminium can, and they're both exceptionally recyclable and environmentally friendly materials. An aluminium drinks can, in fact can go from being thrown away to recycled as another can in just sixty days and it's so recyclable that 75% of all aluminium ever produced in still in use! There is a downside, though. Glass is heavier to carry and once you've opened a can you have to finish it (there are can sealer tops available, but sadly they're all made of plastic). The cost works out pretty much the same though.
- Hassle rating: A bit, but not much.
- Cost rating: Zero.
There's only one solution here to stopping plastic use here, and that's to speak to your parents about how pretty much all milk used to be sold until the 90s - in glass bottles, delivered to your door. Presently, only 4% of UK households continue to have milk delivered. This is a great shame as it's ultra-environmentally friendly - the milkman has an electric float and the glass bottles are washed and reused every day. Raindrop think it's high time milk deliveries came back into fashion. There's an app you can download to find your nearest milkman - check out dairydrop.com for more information. It is more expensive than buying milk from the supermarket; where we live it costs around 80p for a pint of milk to be delivered, compared to 89p for a litre in Tesco.
- Hassle rating: Easier than lugging heavy milk bottles home from the supermarket.
- Cost rating: More expensive.
Shower gel and hand wash bottles
This is another easy one. There are so many types of soap available that there's no excuse to use products that do the same thing in plastic bottles. Soap can be a lot cheaper if that's what's most important to you - shop around and you can get big name brands for under 20p a bar. If you like the luxury of high end shower gel, there's an almost infinite range of beautiful, hand crafted artisan soaps available. This is definitely one area where you should make the switch from plastic.
- Hassle rating: None.
- Cost rating: Can be cheaper if you want it to be.
There's a split at Rainbow around this. Some of us think that shampoo and conditioner bars (which you can get from Lush or a range of other outlets) are just as good as the best shampoo; some of us really don't get on with them. If you really want to be as strict as you can with plastic use, you should swap to shampoo bars right away. If not you should always buy large sizes, or ideally look at the refillable shampoo options that are springing up from great brands such as Faith in Nature. Either way, there's not much difference in cost unless you're opting for ultra-cheap shampoo.
- Hassle rating: Depends on your taste.
- Cost rating: Again, depends on your taste
We're not so confident about this one. There's so many different products, from moisturiser and sun cream to cleanser and foundation that aren't readily available in anything other than plastic. We say 'readily available' as there are zero-plastic beauty ranges on the market such as All Earth and Zao Make Up but you'll need to do quite a bit of shopping around to cover off all you need, and it will be more expensive that what you can buy on the high street. Hopefully things will change though...
- Hassle rating: You'll need to shop about quite a bit. Maybe that's fun?
- Cost: More expensive.
At Raindrop we reckon you could make a massive difference to how much plastic bottle waste you generate by following these tips, and without it involving going to extra trouble or expense in most cases. Perhaps you can't reduce it to zero just right now, especially if you're on a budget, but every bit helps.
START CLEANING THE ECO WAY
Are your cleaning products free from plastic-waste? Raindrop cleans just as well as your regular brand, without the plastic waste.
More from the blog on how to live a plastic-waste free lifestyle: