Naked cucumbers save equivalent of 30,000 plastic bottles a year
One of the greatest struggles in the quest to reduce your plastic footprint is avoiding the swathes of flimsy film used to preserve supermarket fruit and vegetables.
Home delivery company Riverford promises the 50,000 boxes of fruit and veg it delivers across the country each week contain 82 per cent less plastic than equivalent products from major UK supermarkets.
‘We found we could do away with plastic bags by training our staff to identify the different types of pumpkin, for instance (to do away with the need for labels) and by getting our farmers to keep more leaves on their cauliflower to protect it,’ says Robyn Copley-Wilkins, Riverford’s packaging technologist. ‘By leaving popular items such as cucumbers naked we have saved an equivalent of 30,000 plastic bottles per year.’
Home delivery company Riverford promises the 50,000 boxes of fruit and veg (pictured) it delivers across the country each week contain 82 per cent less plastic than equivalent products from major UK supermarkets
Delicate fruit and veg that cannot be delivered loose are gathered in pulped paper punnets (like egg boxes), with citrus fruit and onions in netting made from wood pulp.
This has saved an estimated 113 miles of plastic netting in two years, although the punnets and netting are 50 per cent more expensive than plastic, says Robyn.
Toilet roll that comes wrapped in paper is a real labour of lav
We get through an estimated 100 rolls of lavatory paper per person per year, and unless you buy two at a time from Andrex (double rolls are wrapped in paper), your loo roll will be swathed in unrecyclable plastic.
Who Gives A Crap (pictured) was created in 2013 by a group of young Australians to provide an online lavatory paper delivery service, which could provide bulk orders of recycled paper
In a bid to reduce this plastic load, quirkily named Who Gives A Crap was created in 2013 by a group of young Australians to provide an online lavatory paper delivery service, which could provide bulk orders of recycled paper, with each roll individually wrapped in pretty paper and packed in a cardboard box.
The team promises that 50 per cent of the company’s profits goes to building toilets in less developed countries.
- Get 24 rolls for £24 from uk.whogivesacrap.org.
Smile — your new Toothpaste has swapped the tube for a glass jar
Metal toothpaste tubes were phased out in the Nineties and replaced by all-plastic tubes and pumps which manufacturers found to be less expensive and more durable (less likely to become damaged when repeatedly rolled-up).
This means the dental care industry is dominated by difficult-to-recycle plastic.
Georganics was one of the first UK companies to sell a range of toothpastes in a screw-top glass jar (pictured)
Georganics was one of the first UK companies to sell a range of toothpastes in a screw-top glass jar. You apply it to your brush with a compostable wooden spatula.
Founder Alessandro Rocchi says: ‘Most toothpaste tubes are made of a series of layers, ranging from aluminium, internal lacquer, virgin plastic and exterior paint.
‘All these layers cannot be separated, and this is why 90 per cent of used toothpaste tubes cannot be recycled.’
- A 60ml jar costs £6.90 from georganics.co.uk
Compostable wraps for a guilt-free choc treat
Britons eat 24lbs of chocolate per person each year and the majority of bars are wrapped in difficult-to-recycle plastic. Mars and Nestle have committed to 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. In the meantime, forward-thinking companies, particularly those behind organic ‘healthy’ snacks, have been pushing the boundaries with their use of compostable packaging.
Cornish company Buttermilk Confections is using compostable cellulose packaging for its snacks (pictured)
Now one unashamedly indulgent fudge bar is following suit. Cornish company Buttermilk Confections is using compostable cellulose packaging for its snacks. Boss Tracy McDonnell Goad says: ‘We’re surrounded by beaches here. We were keen to find a plastic-free solution so customers could enjoy a treat, knowing the packaging will not end up in the ocean.’
- Buttermilk Sea Salt Fudge Bar, £1.50 From Waitrose.
Deodorant in a tube of card
Both aerosol and roll-on deodorants are tricky to recycle. British company Earth Conscious has created a plastic-free stick which works like the usual brands. Founder Angela Manton says: ‘We chose a compostable, recyclable cardboard tube.’
- Deodorant stick, £7, earthconscious.co.uk.
British company Earth Conscious has created a plastic-free stick which works like the usual brands (pictured)
Vitamin supplements come in healthier packs
Small companies have found clever ways to seal supplements in plastic-free packaging.
David Alpert, managing director of Advanced Nutrition Programme says: ‘As a keen diver, I am appalled by the impact plastic has on our oceans.’ All ANP supplements come in pots made from card and aluminium.
Vegums chewable daily multivitamins are sealed in biodegradable packaging (pictured)
Vegums chewable daily multivitamins are sealed in biodegradable packaging, and tucked into a recycled cardboard tube.
- Vegums starter pack, £12.95 from vegums.com
Clean up cleaning
An estimated one million plastic bottles are bought every minute and cleaning products make up a considerable proportion of our plastic purchases.
Now OceanSaver has created concentrated versions of household cleaning products in a dissolvable pouch which you drop into your existing bottles and top up with water. This means there’s no plastic to throw away and the pods arrive through the post in a recyclable cardboard box.
OceanSaver has created concentrated versions of household cleaning products in a dissolvable pouch which you drop into your existing bottles and top up with water (pictured)
‘We were keen to avoid adding to the plastic burden, but also to encourage consumers to re-use plastic bottles,’ says OceanSaver’s founder, John Buitekant.
- Five-product starter pack of concentrates, £6.99 from ocean-saver.com
Crisps — it’s in the bag
We eat six billion packets of crisps a year, each housed in shiny metallised plastic. Walkers has vowed to use recyclable, compostable or biodegradable bags by 2025.
But small Herefordshire firm Two Farmers have beat them to it. Packs are made of biodegradable eucalyptus wood fibres and printed with vegetable ink.
Two Farmers packs are made of biodegradable eucalyptus wood fibres and printed with vegetable ink
The packaging looks similar but costs ten times as much as a standard crisp packet.
- From Whole Foods and twofarmers.co.uk for around £1 for a 40g pack.
Taking plastic out of a cuppa
Ninety-six per cent of teabags use a dab of plastic resin to stop them from falling apart.
This means putting used bags in your bin or compost contributes to plastic pollution. One dot of glue might not sound much, but if everyone in the UK uses two teabags a day (sealed with 0.1ml of glue), that’s 26,455lbs of plastic.
Teapigs (pictured) has been making biodegradable bags from cornstarch for 11 years and stitching them with thread
Teapigs has been making biodegradable bags from cornstarch for 11 years and stitching them with thread. Co-founder Louise Cheadle says: ‘Some of our packaging decisions have cost us money but we feel this is well spent.’
Big names are beginning to catch on. Last year Co-op pledged to work with Twinings on a mass market plastic-free teabag.
Inspired? Your idea could win £10,000 – here’s how to enter
The Daily Mail will award £10,000 to the individual, small business or charity making the greatest strides to Turn The Tide On Plastic by creating eco-friendly alternatives or providing creative solutions for reusing or repurposing disposable plastic goods.
We will be publishing a selection of your entries and one runner-up will receive £1,000.
HOW TO ENTER: Email or write in no more than 100 words why you think you should win. Include contact details for yourself and, if relevant, your nominee.
Attach as many illustrations or photos as you wish. Only one recommendation per entry.
Send yours before Saturday, April 20, by email to email@example.com or write to Great British Spring Clean Competitions, Daily Mail Marketing, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT.
Terms and conditions apply, visit dailymail.co.uk/springcleancomp for full details. Winners revealed in May.