Plastic has become one of the most harmful materials to our environment. It has devastating effects on our planet, from filling up landfills for decades without decomposing and contributing to climate change to harming wildlife and polluting oceans. That is why this year we are vowing to go Plastic Free for Mother Earth and Me! 

Our society has become increasingly dependent on plastic products, so making the shift to living with less plastic can be a huge challenge but we are ready for it! If you want to start living a more plastic-free lifestyle, then you've come to the right place. Here are ten really easy ways to reduce your plastic waste in 2018...

1. Shop sustainably 

We spoke all about why you should make shopping sustainably your New Year's resolution in our latest blog post. Go read it now to find out more about how your clothing choices hugely impact the amount of plastic waste on our planet. 

However, in short, so much new clothing these days is made from synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex and nylon. In other words, plastic fabric. Every time you wash your garments in the washing machine, millions of pieces of tiny fibres are released, of which around half a million tonnes every year contribute to ocean pollution – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics.

When buying new clothes, look for organic cotton, hemp, ethically-raised wool, and other natural fibres - all of which are used in one way or another to make the clothing we stock here at Sancho's!

2. Switch to reusable shopping bags 

This is one of the easiest things you can do to start reducing your plastic waste and probably one of the most popular. Simply take a few reusable bags with you whenever you go shopping. This will immediately cut out all of your plastic shopping bag waste and saves you the 5p charge too!

3. Avoid bottled water and bring your own reusable water bottle/coffee cup with you when you go out

Not only does bottled water come in a plastic bottle, but tremendous resources are used to extract, bottle, and ship it. Instead, get a reusable stainless steel bottle (we recommend S'well or Chilly's), fill it up with tap water before leaving the house, and refill it wherever you can.

Similarly, bring a reusable coffee cup out with you! Most coffee cups are plastic coated with plastic lids. Choose a size cup that suits the kind of coffee you drink and bring it with you when you next go to buy takeout coffee from your favourite cafe. Pret a Manger offers 50p discount on hot drinks to customers who bring their own reusable cups which is a great incentive to start living a plastic-free lifestyle!

4. Carry lunch in a reusable non-plastic container/lunch wrap with reusable utensils

Using a reusable container, made from glass, stainless steel or china, eliminates the need to throw away your plastic container/utensils after each use. When plastic food containers are exposed to extreme temperatures, it causes them to break down faster and leach chemicals more readily - not good!

5. Use a bamboo toothbrush

Pick up a bamboo toothbrush, a sustainable alternative to conventional plastic toothbrushes, and do some good for the environment! Buy yourself some plastic-free toothpaste too whilst you're at it.

6. Cut out frozen meals

Most frozen meals contain plastic in the packaging. Cut these out and replace them with freshly-made meals! A win for you and a win for the environment.

7. Use bar soap to wash your hands and body

This eliminates the need to buy body wash, hand soap, and other soaps that come in plastic packaging. We sell some lovely natural, vegan Soap Daze soaps in store!

8. Buy second-hand clothing

Buying clothes second hand not only saves you a heck of a lot of money but ensures that the second-hand clothes you purchase have an extra long lease on life, instead of going straight into landfill.

9. Look for plastic-free shoes

Investing in a good pair of plastic-free shoes is a huge (and fun!) step towards becoming plastic-free. Look to buy ones that are made from natural rubber rather than plastic, or jute soles and reclaimed leather. We offer plenty of plastic-free shoes both in-store and online in a variety of colours and sizes!

10. Switch to paperless billing 

Get with the times and go paperless with your billing! Most companies are more than happy for you to switch to paperless billing because it reduces their costs as well.