Ideal for those looking to be a little kinder to the environment this year.

It’s estimated that nearly five million tonnes of plastic is used in the UK every year, half of which is packaging, while six out of ten (60%) Brits admit they need help to reduce the amount of plastic they use. And you know what they might say about the other 40%? They’re liars.

As the government’s proposed ban on single-use plastics will likely be postponed until late 2020 due to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, we’ve teamed up with online metals retailer, metals4U, to suggest these 10 eco-friendly alternatives for everyday disposable items, IDEAL for those looking to be a little kinder to the environment this year.

REUSABLE TEA BAGS

A handy alternative to disposable tea bags, reusable tea infusers made of metal or plastic are a great option for those looking to reduce the waste they cause making Britain’s favourite brew. Additionally, tea strainers give you the option to add more tea leaves to customise the strength of your brew, reducing the need to double up on teabags. That’s two wasteful birds killed with one sustainable stone, then.

METAL STRAWS

The fall guy for the anti-plastic movement, single-use plastic straws are notoriously bad for the environment as they are rarely recycled, not reusable and do not biodegrade.

With an estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws used every year in England, we should all be looking for a better. And the best? Reusable, washable, sturdy straws made of stainless steel or bamboo. These can be washed and reused, and metal, in particular, will last for a long time.

BAMBOO PAPER TOWELS

Whilst paper towels are recyclable and washable dishcloths are a good reusable alternative, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly hybrid then bamboo paper towels could be the perfect choice for you.

These paper towels are disposable, but can be reused for a long period of time. Not only that, but they are fully biodegradable and made from sustainable sources. Music to our ears, that.

BEESWAX CLING FILM

One of the worst culprits for single-use plastic is cling film; more than 1.2 billion metres (or 745,000 miles) of the stuff is used by households across the UK each year – that’s enough to go around the world 30 times! 

Beeswax cling film works in exactly the same way as plastic cling film, but without the environmental damage caused by the disposing of plastic. The wrap is reusable, and you can even make your own by simply melting down beeswax and soaking cloth in the liquid.

METAL WATER BOTTLES

Usage of plastic water bottles in the UK shows no signs of slowing down, and it’s estimated that the average adult goes through 150 every year. Blimey.

Whilst a plastic flask goes some way to eliminating the usage of disposable bottles, a stainless steel bottle is a longer-lasting, better quality option. Not only that, but the metal is less likely to leach chemicals into the liquid than plastic.

WOODEN OR BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES

Most people own a disposable toothbrush for holidays or weekends away, but instead of buying a plastic toothbrush for everyday use, from now on it might be better to purchase a wooden or bamboo toothbrush instead.

These eco-friendly alternatives are just as effective as plastic manual toothbrushes but are far less damaging to the environment when disposed of, and don’t remain in landfill for eternity. 

COMPOSTABLE BIN BAGS

Biodegradable bin liners are the perfect alternative to conventional bags and work well for collecting garden waste that can be composted. Not only that, but when used for household rubbish, they will naturally biodegrade whilst in landfill, reducing the amount of harmful plastic pollution we’re constantly contributing to our lovely planet.

ECO-FRIENDLY PICNIC SETS

Whilst there may not be much opportunity for picnics in the current Covid climate, cutlery and plate sets made out of materials such as wood or bamboo are a great option for those bottom of the garden picnics, and once purchased will be ready and waiting for future days out, too.

These sustainable sets can either be disposed of or washed and reused., What’s more, they also make a good alternative to plastic crockery and metal cutlery for young children.

REUSABLE EAR CLEANERS

Plastic stemmed cotton buds are one of the world’s worst pollutants amongst single-use plastics, and one of the focuses of the proposed, now postponed ban, with an estimated 1.8 billion thrown away every year, 10% of which are flushed down toilets and end up polluting waterways or the sea.

You can pick up a reusable ear wax remover for a relatively low cost. These can be either metal, or rubber, and can be easily cleaned and reused instead of being thrown away.

FABRIC SHOPPING BAGS

Although retailers have been banned from providing plastic bags for free, they are still available in shops for a small fee, and are still commonly used and not recycled. Eco-friendly alternatives, made of fabric or other natural materials such as hemp, can be reused regularly and will biodegrade once disposed of. 

Paul McFadyen, Managing Director of metals4U, said: “It’s clear people are embracing eco-friendly initiatives more and more, and it’s great to see that so many have a passion for helping to improve the environment.

“Plastic is an amazingly versatile material, but it has its downsides and we should try our best to minimise the amount we use in everyday life. That’s why reusable alternatives made from metal or biodegradable materials are the best option, especially for things we use often, as this will reduce our carbon footprint, as well as save us money.” 

Do the right thing.