Tips on how to reduce plastic consumption in our daily lives
Do your bit to prevent ocean pollution with these simple tips on how to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics at home!
Get on board with the trend that’s good for us all!
Plastic is everywhere in our daily lives because it’s so versatile and useful in the manufacture and packaging of many products. However, because it is often not recycled correctly, a lot of it ends up in our oceans, polluting ecosystems and marine fauna. The figures are very worrying, with more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our seas every year. We can all work together to tackle this huge environmental issue by reducing our consumption of single-use plastics!
We’ve come up with some changes that you could introduce into your usual routine to avoid creating more plastic waste.
But, before we share our top tips, do you know what single-use plastics are? They include: shopping bags; plastic straws and stirrers; disposable cutlery and plates; cotton buds; polystyrene containers, bottles, cups and lids; balloon holders; cigarette butts and oxo-degradable plastic products. As you can see, they’re everywhere! Think about all of the products that contain plastic that you use once before throwing them away!
Of course, our best advice would be to remove all single-use plastic from your life, but we know that it’s not that easy. That said, there are some really easy things that you can do to prevent our seas from becoming a giant dumping ground. Shall we get started?
1-Always carry a fabric shopping bag with you
Have you ever stopped to think how many plastic bags you bring into your home every day? Every time that you buy something, you get a bag.
Wouldn’t it be handier and more sustainable to have your own fabric bag to carry all of your shopping? A fabric bag won’t break on your way home and no one can see what you’ve got inside. Keep one folded up in your bag and you can use it every time you go shopping!
Remember, if you don’t have a fabric bag, choose a paper or reusable one!
2-Opt for glass containers and reuse them at home
More and more foods are packaged in glass containers. Opting for these products is another way that you can reduce your plastic consumption and, what’s more, you can reuse them at home to store other things, such as flour, rice, buttons… They can also be used as pretty plant pots or vases!
We’d also recommend reducing the amount of prepared or frozen food that you eat and cooking more meals from fresh ingredients and storing them in glass containers. Your health, your pocket and the environment will thank you!
3-Buy food in bulk
Buying food in bulk has a lot more advantages than you might think.
Firstly, it prevents food wastage because you can buy the exact amount that you need. It also does away with the need for packaging — you can just use old glass containers that you have lying about at home, like the jars we talked about in the previous tip.
In addition, items bought in bulk are less expensive and, when you buy local, you benefit local shops and businesses too!
4- Wood or stainless steel cooking utensils
When choosing your utensils, opt for materials like wood, bamboo or stainless steel — they’re much more sustainable, hard wearing and affordable. Plastic utensils can’t usually withstand very high temperatures and many contain bisphenol A (BPA), which should be avoided. All IKEA products that come into contact with food, such as containers, bottles and cooking utensils, are BPA free.
5- Your reusable water bottle
Bottled water consumption generates thousands of tonnes of waste that end up in the sea. You can help to reduce your waste by always carrying a reusable bottle with you. Customise it, choose the colour or size that you like best and always keep it with you, whether you’re in the office, at the gym or travelling.
6- Recycle whenever you can, including at work
Step one is to stop using single-use plastics; step two is to properly recycle all of the plastics that you do use. And not just those that you use at home. Think about the hours that you spend at work and all of the plastic containers that you use! And what about when you’re in the park or at the beach?
Recycling these products and materials wherever possible helps to create new jobs and gives these products a second life, when they would otherwise end up becoming waste that pollutes our seas and ecosystems. Using recycled materials also creates less pollution than manufacturing a product from raw materials.
In the following video we share some solutions for recycling at home, even if space is tight — so you have no excuse!
You might also be interested in this article “How to recycle and reduce food waste to save money and be more sustainable”
7. Make more responsible purchases!
Find out which products or brands are working to produce less plastic or recycle more, and choose them. Little by little, you can push companies to change how they manufacture and encourage them to become more sustainable. At IKEA, we already stock more than 500 products that are made from recycled plastic, and our goal is for all of the plastics that we use to come from reusable or recycled materials by 2030.
If you’re interested in sustainable products, we have more than 70 collections made from renewable or recyclable materials! Check them out!
We love it when customers use our products in a creative way. Why not try being creative too? But do remember, any modifications or changes that you make to IKEA products prevent them from being resold or used for their original use, and so voiding IKEA product warranties and your right of return.