How to Cut Your Plastic Packaging Intake

ZWAI support the #SickOfPlastic national days of action and encourages all Zero Wasters to participate locally.

As well as encouraging Shops to offer less plastic to us we need to take positive action on a personal level to avoid unnecessary plastic in our daily lives. Here’s a few tips on how to reduce your own plastic intake.


In the first 10 years of this century we have manufactured more plastic than in all of the 20th century.

Plastic is one of the most enduring materials we have derived from fossil fuels. But that is both good and bad. It takes 500 to 1,000 years to degrade. But over half of the plastic produced is used once and then discarded. That leads to over eight million tons of it ending up in the ocean every year. This was never considered when we first started out with Plastic. So it has to stop.

Here’s a few ways to keep it out of your kitchen and your life.

1. Coffee cups & lids

Give up using take-out coffee cups. Get yourself a re-usable and collapsible portable coffee ally. At the very least, give up the plastic lid from the disposable cup or use a compostible one. A reusable coffee cup is the best way to go. Get an eCupán from the eCupán online store. Why not encourage your local coffee shop to stock them and spread the word.

2. Your last Straw

If you don’t have a medical need to use a straw, drop the straws completely. If you must use one get a Bamboo or Silicone straw and re-use it.

3. Wrapping.

Don’t wrap or house things in plastic when there’s a paper/cardboard option. Cardboard, beeswax, cardboard box, linen are all usefull alternatives). As a minimum, save plastic wrapping for hygiene purposes or raw meat and only use what is necessary.

For storage use glass jars, glass food containers, aluminium foil, oilcloth, beeswax and parchment paper, fabric bowl covers, a bowl with a lid and stainless steel food containers.

Did I mention plastic bags? Well, you avoid these like the plague. Replace the bags with natural fabric bags. There’s lots to choose from.

4. Going nude for fresh food

Go nude here. Only buy loose fruit and veg. Don’t buy produce that is encased in plastic presentation cases. Make your own salads from scratch and skip these pre-packaged mixed salads. Bring your reusable bags to the shop. Use paper bags, bring your own jars, or just put loose produce in your basket.

If you shop by car or shopping trolley just use shopping boxes and have some in your boot to receive the loose purchases.

5. Party time tip

Instead of buying disposable plastic cups, plates and utensils for every party why not invest in a “party set”. This can be old or odd items of glasses, ceramic plates and silverware that you can keep in storage and bring out when entertaining. You can also retire your current crockery and buy new for your regular use and bring out then retired stuff for parties.

6. Water bottles

Simply stop buying water in plastic bottles. Period ! We need to just stop! And the solution is a reusable water bottle – glass or steel or silicone. Could this be any easier? Get a re-usable bottle and put it to work every day. Check out the campaign for free water refill locations.

So that’s a start. You’re getting closer to ZeroWaste already.


Support the #SickOfPlastic campaign. Form a local group and follow the 5 step action plan. Go to here for details. Best of luck!