Many people find sustainable living overwhelming and often don't start to make eco-friendly choices simply because they don't know where to begin.
We think it's important to recognise that every small step towards sustainable living makes a huge difference and that you don't have to be perfect at it.
In this blog, we'd like to share some of the simplest environmentally friendly swaps you can make in 2022 whilst encouraging you to remember that making the shift to more sustainable habits is a journey and to be kind to yourself - practice makes perfect.
Take Produce Bags To The Supermarket
It's a sad fact that every time you pick up a single-use plastic bag from the supermarket, you are contributing to one of the major environmental concerns of our time - plastic pollution. Each bag will outlive you by centuries, as plastic takes up to 1000 years to decompose.
Our produce bags are the perfect alternatives to plastic fruit and veg bags. Made from durable, unbleached organic cotton, these reusable shopping bags will last you a lifetime rather than a single shopping trip—a great way to reduce your single-use plastics.
Made with a colourful label that shows you the bag's weight, these produce bags will also keep your produce fresher than their plastic counterparts. Another eco-friendly product that is an easy swap.
Every year in the UK an estimated 17.5 billion plastic bags are given away by supermarkets, this equates to 130,000 tonnes of plastic which is enough to cover an area the size of London twice with a layer of plastic bags! Swapping to a reusable tote bag, alongside produce bags, instead of the usual supermarket plastic bags to reduce your waste.
Swap Tea Bags For A Tea Strainer
Most tea bags contain plastic - polypropylene to be exact - which is added to the paper tea bag to help heat seal them during manufacture.
Heat sealing the bags like this means that the teabags won't open in the box or your cup. It also means that these tea bags aren't 100% biodegradable. Whether you compost your tea bags or send them to landfill, you are adding microplastics to the environment.
You can find plastic-free, organic tea bags online, or you can swap to loose leaf tea and buy a strainer instead. Some people believe it even tastes better this way.
Use A Coconut Fibre Brush Instead Of A Scourer
The bright green and yellow sponges you buy from your supermarket are typically made from plastic. This means when you throw it away at the end of its life, it either goes to landfill or is incinerated.
According to The Center for International Environmental Law's report Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, manufacturing and incinerating plastic produced more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses in 2019 alone.
Plus, when you wash your dishes with a sponge, it sheds tiny fibres. These fibres, a type of microplastics, can't be filtered out by water treatment plants. These end up in the ocean, where they join the millions of metric tons of plastic dumped there every year.
Swapping to a coconut fibre dish brush is the answer. The bristles are tough enough to shift any tough grease or build-up, and yet they are soft enough to be used on your non-stick saucepans or even glassware.
Our dish brush is made from sustainably sourced coconut fibre and FSC Certified wood, meaning you are buying a 100% natural and biodegradable washing-up brush. They last ages too.
Use Bar Soap Instead Of A Pump Dispenser
Most of us don't realise that our soap pump dispensers can contain at least two to four different types of plastic, plus sometimes glass and rubber. The big issue with pumps is that, in most cases, they're only used for a very short period of time before they're tossed into the rubbish or recycling bin.
Even if each pump component is recyclable, it will need to be meticulously disassembled and each part separated to allow recycling. Unfortunately, because the bits are so small, it's not usually cost-effective to do this, so, as a result, the majority of pumps end up in landfill.
Why buy your soap in plastic packaging when you don't have to? Buy a bar soap instead - it's pretty easy to get one completely free of packing.
Swap Cling Film For Wax Wraps
The average family uses 24 rolls of plastic wrap and up to 1,000 plastic sandwich bags a year in the UK. To put that in some perspective, it equates to 1.2 billion metres (745,000 miles) of cling film being used and discarded in the UK - enough to go around the Earth 30 times over.
As you might already have guessed, cling film is hard to recycle, so it ends up in landfills and our oceans, poisoning marine life when mistaken for food.
An easy swap is to use beeswax or soy wax wraps instead. Our beeswax wraps are free of any toxic chemicals and made with organic cotton and natural dyes. Simple to use, sustainable and natural, you can stop throwing away empty plastic bags and wrap and choose these chemical-free, daily reusable eco wraps.
Switch To Silicone Baking Mats
You might presume that as paper is recyclable, using greaseproof paper in baking isn't a problem, right?
While paper is generally a recyclable product, this does not apply to greaseproof papers. Greaseproof paper is treated to make it fat repellent, which often includes a silicone coating, making it unsuitable for recycling. Also, the oils from the foods affect the recyclability of the greaseproof paper.
Switching to reusable silicone baking mats is a simple answer, cutting your household waste and reducing the burden on our environment.
Check Your Cotton Buds
It's an incredible fact that in the UK alone, it is estimated that we use 1.8 billion, primarily single-use plastic, cotton buds every year. This high usage and, often, improper disposal (flushing used cotton buds down toilets, rather than putting them in the bin) has resulted in the pollution of inland waterways and the marine environment. In fact, between 2015 and 2018, cotton buds were in the top 10 items found during the Marine Conservation Society's Great British Beach Clean.
Cotton buds with their long, thin shape can pierce the internal organs of marine animals who ingest them by accident, and plastic stems are frequently found in the stomachs of seabirds. They not only contribute to microplastic pollution as they degrade, but they also pose a threat to species across the food chain due to ingestion or toxic discharge.
An easy eco swap is to our Cotton Buds, which are 100% biodegradable, meaning you will not be causing any plastic waste by using them.
Wild & Stone’s mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our wide range today.