Here at Beyond the Box, while you know we’re all about sharing the wonderful attributes of cardboard packaging, there’s no denying that plastic certainly has its part to play. In fact, plastic is incredibly useful for packaging a wide variety of everyday items – did you know a plastic-wrapped cucumber stays fresh up to 11 days longer?
At the same time, it’s well documented that reducing our consumption of single-use plastics is a simple step in helping to reduce our individual environmental impact.
So, with the final week of Plastic Free July well underway, we’ve got some tips to help you stay on track – and keep those good, sustainable packaging habits up all year long!
1. Reusable heroes
Cutting down on coffee cups, plastic water bottles and straws is an easy way to get started on your plastic-free journey. Treat yourself to reusable versions you can use again and again and feel greener with every sip you take!
2. Swap your shops
Look out for zero-waste shops in your area; take your own containers and fill them up with a selection of kitchen staples, from rice to lentils, oil to nuts. Many grocers sell loose fruit and vegetables which will help cut down on single-use plastic too. Just remember to take your own (paper-based or canvas) bags!
3. Get creative in the kitchen
Reducing your cling-film usage doesn’t necessarily mean splashing out on reusable alternatives (although they can be very useful). Old takeaway tubs, Tupperware or simply a bowl covered with a plate are all items likely lying around the home which can be re-used to store leftovers easily.
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Reducing and reusing single-use plastic where you can is a great start. And if you do need to throw plastic packaging away? Just remember to recycle wherever you can. While some forms of plastic packaging can be tricky to recycle at home, you might be surprised at just how much can be taken away via your local kerbside collection. So, just like with cardboard, check with your local council, then pop it in your recycling bin. Keep your eyes peeled for additional recycling sites in places like supermarket car parks for anything that can’t be collected kerbside.
5. Choose cardboard where you can
Finally, choose readily recycled, paper-based packaging where you can. Cardboard is renewable, reusable, biodegradable and recyclable. That means, while it’s important to recycle as much cardboard wherever possible, if it does end up in landfill, it will break down.
The good news is more than 80% of the cardboard we use in the UK is recycled, which is the best recycling record of any packaging material. The paper fibres in cardboard can be used again and again to create new packaging and, as we’re seeing more deliveries arriving in cardboard at home, it’s more important than ever to recycle and keep the life cycle moving!