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Be More, UseLess

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

How to Use Less Plastic

We all know we should be doing our bit to reduce our plastic use and save our oceans before plastic straws outnumber fish, but it seems pretty complicated at times. Where do you begin?

We’ve done the work for you: here are just a few suggestions on how we can all make positive changes for our environment.

Buy a Reusable Bag


I mean, if you really need this one explained to you then it’s time to step out of the rock you’ve been living under. It’s an obvious but necessary change to make to reduce the amount of carrier bags in our oceans. Why not collect a reusable tote bag for free from a uni fair? (Pro tip: you can also stock up on stationery for the year from fairs #freeloader life). Trust me, there are always loads! Or perhaps you could buy a quirkier bag of your choice. Seriously why are you walking around with a 5p carrier bag digging into your hand, about to break and spill your embarrassing choice of beers onto the Tesco car park, when you could be packing your shopping in one of these?

Buy a Menstrual Cup

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Although the initial investment may be around £20 for a menstrual cup such as Mooncup, you will save yourself so much money in the long run by not having to buy tampons and pads. It’s also environmentally friendly as it lasts for years so you’re not throwing away disposable products each month, which come in plastic packaging. Also, it’s 2018 and the government still taxes tampons as luxuries, so maybe let’s stop paying for being female. Be smart, undermine the government. 

Be smart, undermine the government.

Purchase a Reusable Water Bottle


You’ve probably heard this one plenty of times before, so why not just do it. You can find plenty of cool prints online, and owning a reusable bottle will stop you regularly buying a plastic one. Metal bottles, like these from S’well, can double up as a flask for hot drinks in winter too.

Buy Loose Fruit and Veg


Try and purchase loose fruit and vegetables where possible, whether from the supermarket or local markets. Zero waste shops are also becoming more popular, especially in University cities. Take your new tote bag and then you’ve drastically reduced your plastic consumption in just one shop by cutting out the unnecessary packaging. You’ll also feel a bit like a villager from the Victorian era browsing the market. Or maybe that’s just me. 


The British climate-change-fighting weapon of choice

Avoid Hidden Plastic

Look out for items that contain hidden plastic, such as teabags and takeaway paper coffee cups which are coated in plastic. Aim to buy plastic-free teabags and take your own cup to a coffee shop- you usually get a discount for doing this too. Some brands whose teabags are plastic-free include Pukka and Teapigs, or you could go for loose-leaf tea such as the wide variety sold at T2.

Refuse The Straw


Slurp that drink.  Go on.  Slurp it.

This is a hot topic in the news right now so you’re probably wondering why I’m harping on about it but I’m going to say it anyway. This is such an easy way to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use. Many restaurants have started to phase straws out but be sure to ask for your drink without one when you order. Or if you prefer to drink with a straw, you could purchase your own reusable straws like these Globi slurpers online, so that you always have one handy, without creating more single-use plastic waste!

Go Naked


I can’t even be sarcastic about my Lush shampoo bar.  It’s great.  I love it.

Why not ditch the plastic shower gel and shampoo bottles in exchange for naked products, like the ones sold at Lush. Lush has launched a line of products which have zero packaging and last longer than a normal bottled product. They’re also great for the environment! So why not ditch the plastic bottles and get naked? While on the topic of Lush, they also have a pot return scheme: if you return 5 of their black pots (for items which can’t be made naked) you will receive a free fresh face mask!

So there’s a start for you – now it’s time to look out for ideas of your own.  If you can’t use something more than once, it’s basically useless, and you know what we should do with useless things?  We should use less.

(Okay, I couldn’t come up with anything better there.  I’m sorry for putting you through that.)

The point is – be practical.  Take your own initiative.  And if you have any great ways to use less useless plastic, tell us about them below!

About the Author: Megan Harvey studies History and has her own lifestyle blog at

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