To celebrate the start of Plastic Free July – a worldwide challenge to cut out single-use plastic for a month – we asked environmentalist and Asda Magazine columnist Stephanie Todd, aka Sustainable Stephanie, to share her top tips for reducing plastic waste during and after lockdown...
Stephanie says: 'It’s safe to say it has been a difficult time to avoid plastic waste. With some of us reluctantly opting for plastic-packaged foods and unable to use our reusable coffee cups, it can feel like we're reverting back to our old, unsustainable habits. But living in lockdown can also present an opportunity for us to reset ourselves, change our behaviours and support a green recovery.
'While it may be trickier at the moment, there are still steps we can take to reduce our plastic consumption – and with Plastic Free July kicking off this week, there's never been a better time to start. Here are my six easy tips for staying sustainable during and after lockdown:'
1. Keep bringing your reusable bags
'From 2018 to 2019, UK consumers purchased a staggering 1.11 billion single-use plastic bags. Saying no to plastic bags and yes to reusables is a simple change we can all make to tackle unnecessary plastic waste. Using a canvas tote means you can pop it in the washing machine after shopping – just make sure you combine this with a full load and use an eco-wash setting.'
2. Buy products made from recycled materials.
'The manufacture of products from recycled content brings a value to recovering waste [such as ocean plastic] and preserves natural resources that would otherwise have been used. Asda has been looking into ways to use more recycled materials in its products, including a new range of beach towels made from 80% cotton and 20% Seaqual upcycled marine plastic.'
3. Use green cleaning products
'More time at home may mean the house is getting dirtier quicker. Cut out waste by switching from single-use wipes to reusable cloths and use eco-friendly cleaning products made from plant-based ingredients and packaged in 100% recycled plastic bottles.'
4. cook from scratch
'Using loose, fresh and seasonal ingredients avoids the plastic packaging often associated with ready meals. As some of us have more time on our hands, now is the perfect opportunity to try some new dishes. Check out ASDA’s favourite recipes for inspiration and #GetYourCookOn.'
5. Avoid food waste
'More home-cooking means there’s more likely to be leftovers. Make sure leftovers don’t go to waste by storing them in the fridge, in an airtight container, to eat the following day – or freeze to eat at a later date.'
6. Buy double-concentrated products
Hopefully you will find yourself keeping these sustainable habits long after lockdown!'