How to reduce your plastic use for Plastic Free July

Pim Pam was born in Brighton, so the sea is close to our heart. Living near the beach is so special, but it’s also meant that we’ve seen firsthand how much of a problem plastic is causing to our shorelines. Beautiful beaches are sadly littered with all kinds of plastic waste, and the sea is no longer bursting with as much life as it once was. 

Starting Pim Pam was one of the ways we hoped to help change this, but reusable nappies are only one aspect of reducing plastic use. This month is Plastic Free July, so it is the perfect opportunity time to switch more of your plastic use for ethical and sustainable alternatives. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Reusable wipes

  • In the UK, a staggering 11 billion single-use wipes are thrown away each year, adding a huge amount of plastic waste to landfill and causing problems with the country’s waterways. So even if you’re still on the fence about reusable nappies, it’s definitely worth trying reusable wipes. 

    As well as making a huge dent in your plastic use, reusable wipes work so much better than disposable ones. Our super soft bamboo wipes are so gentle on baby’s bottom! If you’re worried about the extra washing, don’t be put off, it’s super easy. After use just rinse off any solids, pop them into a wet bag and then into the wash with some light-coloured baby clothes. 

  • Bulk buy produce and toiletries

  • Trying to cut down on plastic in your supermarket shop is tough. Even if you’re trying to avoid it, plenty of items are still only available wrapped in plastic. Thankfully there are a handful of lovely new shops and brands selling everyday items free of packaging. 

    Head to your local bulk food or zero waste shop for a selection of pantry items, like beans, grains and nuts, as well as loose fresh fruit and veg. It’s as simple as turning up with your refillable containers, measuring out the amount you need, and paying just as you would in a supermarket. Some shops will even offer bulk toiletries and cleaning products (like the ones made by our good friends over at Fill!

  • Reusable swim nappies

  • Babies love to swim, and with summer (finally!) upon us, it’s likely you’ll be getting through lots more swim nappies. Swim nappies aren’t absorbent in the same way as normal nappies (since the absorbent bit would just soak up the water), but instead are designed to contain solids while your little one is swimming. 

    Reusable swim nappies are a great way to try out cloth nappies without a full time commitment. They’re more straightforward to wash, since they don’t end up very dirty, and they’re much more reliable than disposable ones at containing mess. Plus they are so much more fun than disposables, thanks to the beautiful prints! You can find our range of reusable swim nappies here.

  • Reusable carrier bags

  • Although the number of single-use carrier bags sold has hugely reduced in the last few years, there’s still a way to go. If you’re not yet carrying around a reusable tote bag, now’s the time to start! 

  • Reusable period products

  • If you’re a person with periods, you’ll know that it’s possible to go through quite a few single use products each year. With options for all different lifestyles, it’s easy to find something that works for you, without much extra effort. Popular choices include reusable period pads and period pants, which are soft and absorbent and simply need washing after each use. You can store them in a waterproof bag while they wait for the wash. Another option you could try is a menstrual cup, which has a little learning curve to get the knack of it, but isn’t as costly as buying a full set of pads or pants. 

  • Reusable coffee cup

  • While recent events have forced many coffee shops to stop accepting reusable cups, more and more are now making this popular eco-friendly option available again. A reusable cup could save the average person from adding around 150 single use coffee cups to landfill each year. Going for a glass cup is about as eco-friendly as it gets, since glass is infinitely recyclable, but really any reusable cup will be better than its single use cousins, so even carrying around an old thermos works fine!

  • Buying less polyester clothing, or buying secondhand

  • Surprisingly, a significant part of global plastic waste comes from clothing made of polyester and other synthetic fabrics. An estimated 48 million tonnes of clothing is thrown away in the UK each year, and approximately half of this is believed to be made of polyester. While plastic has its place in certain pieces of clothing (like a good quality raincoat), polyester is now used unnecessarily for all kinds of clothes thanks to the growth of cheap fast fashion. 

    The simplest way to reduce the amount of polyester we throw away is to get as much wear as possible out of the items we own, or to donate things wisely if they’re sitting unused. And when you’re looking for something new for your wardrobe, buy intentionally, choosing secondhand first, and natural, biodegradable fibres where possible.

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