8 Easy Ways To Go Low Waste Out And About
A littering epidemic
With lockdown easing, many of us looking forward to getting out and about a lot more during the warmer months. Picnics at the park with friends and long awaited trips to the beach are finally in sight. We can’t wait! However, the levels of littering are anticipated to soar with this new found freedom. With an increase in people visiting public spaces, it’s more important than ever to explore low waste options and be mindful of our habits. So, how can we still get out and about without ruining the very places we love to visit?
The impact on our public spaces
When lockdown eased in the summer (2020) the charity Keep Britain Tidy found that councils were spending on average an extra £33,000 over the three months on managing their parks. This included clearing up litter, bin emptying and maintaining public order or enforcing lockdown rules.
An average of 57 additional tonnes of rubbish have been removed from our parks over this period. These mountains of litter mainly consisted of single-use plastic, including take-away food cartons, drinks bottles and non-medical PPE.
Teams of voluntary litter pickers across the country are faced with rubbish at levels never seen before. Caru Cymru by Keep Wales Tidy are launching new initiatives to tackle the problem. They are trialling a range of new and innovative solutions that will tackle roadside rubbish. From fast-food and marine related litter, improved air quality and eliminating single use plastic. We can all play our part by taking our own rubbish home, and reducing the amount of single-use plastics we consume.
8 easy plastic-free swaps
We can all play our part in reducing the amount of litter being generated, by replacing single use plastic items with reusable alternatives. You don’t need to make all these swaps at once. It is always best to use what you already have at home. However, when things come to the end of their useable life then it’s a good idea to think long term and invest in some key reusable items. Here’s our guide to our favourite plastic-free swaps which you will use over and over again on your day trips.
Reusable Bottle, Cups and Straws
‘In the UK 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used each year, with the average person in the UK now using 150 plastic water bottles every year – that’s more than 3 a week.’ Water UK
And that is just water bottles! Add in those take-away coffees or hot chocolate, milkshakes and squash, and the numbers really start adding up. Refill stations are popping up across the UK making it easier than ever to quench your thirst, and it’s free too! Get into the habit of taking your reusable bottle out with you.
Our top choice is the Klean Kanteen TKWide, an insulated bottle with a selection of different lids. Being insulated they will keep your drink hot (or cold) for hours! Team it up with a ChicoBag bottle sling if you are heading out for a walk. For picnics, take along your stainless steel cups which are lightweight and easy to clean. Reusable straws are a great option if you are a fan of straws.
We’ve got a great range of Lunch Bags at Babipur. There really will be a style to suit your needs! Many are insulated which is useful on hot days, and big enough to fit a lunchbox and drinks bottle. Use them for school packed lunches, work and picnics at the park.
Food wraps are a great eco-alternative to single use plastic film. Keep Leaf Wraps and baggies are great for sarnies and snacks. Use wax wraps for fruit or vegetable sticks, to cover cheese, leftovers and sandwiches. Beebee Wraps are available in either beeswax or vegan wax wraps.
A low-waste lunch on the go essential. Choose a lunchbox that is going to last, is easy to clean and will hold everything you need for lunch. Bento boxes are a great option if you like to take left-overs to work. They have separate containers and compartments for your different snacks. The Kean Kanteen Food Box is perfect for those days when you want to take curry, soup or casserole out. They have a secure leakproof lid, and made from stainless steel and food grade silicone. It can go in the dishwasher and won’t hold on to any food smells.
No more throw-away plastic forks and spoons! Keep a set of reusable bamboo cutlery in your bag ready for takeaway meals on the go. Lightweight and compact, you’ll hardly now you’re carrying them.
Not just for babies, a pack of reusable, washable wipes are great for everyone! Have some to hand at picnics, barbeques and to mop up those ice-cream dribbles. Team them up with a little wet bag and wet them as you go, or pre-wet them before you go out. Reusable wipes are so much better than single-use wipes at cleaning mucky hands and faces. Often made with plastic polymers, disposable wipes won’t biodegrade, and can’t be recycled.
Reusable Facemask and Hand Sanitiser
This is a new entry into our top plastic free swaps. Face masks and hand sanitiser are likely to be needed for some time to come. It’s been estimated that hundreds of thousands of single-use face masks have been dumped in countryside and towns. Being made with plastic polymers, they can’t be recycled and won’t biodegrade. Moreover, seabirds and other animals have been found entangled, the elastic causing a serious threat to wildlife. Choosing a reusable, washable face mask is an easy swap. Team it up with a Haomer Hand Sanitiser that comes in a little glass bottle.
A Babipur favourite, Close Pop-in playmats are a picnic essential. With a soft, warm fleece top and water resistant PUL layer, they will stop bottoms getting damp in wet grass and help keep the sand out of your sandwiches. Two people can share a mat, but with so many gorgeous prints to choose from you’ll soon want one each! We always have one in the back of the car. They double up as a warm blanket for snoozing on the way home or wrapping up little ones after an impromptu paddle.
Low Waste Lifestyle
We hope these single use and low waste swaps have inspired you to make some plastic-free choices while out and about. By modelling environmentally conscious behaviour, we can all play our part in keeping our beautiful shared spaces free from litter for everyone to enjoy. Preparing food and drink in advance, reducing our reliance on single use plastic, and taking our rubbish home are all things we can do. With a little bit of forward planning and a few key reusable products that you will use again and again, its easy to have low impact and fun trips out without harming our environment.