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By Just Essential, Nov 8 2019 04:43PM

1. Keep food fresh without using cling film

Instead of cling film, you can use off-cuts of fabric covered in beeswax and coconut oil to keep food fresh in the fridge. Or if that's too much like hard work, you can buy your own beeswax wraps.

2. Only use recyclable wrapping paper

Most of us are aware you can't recycle all wrapping paper, but we often throw it in with the paper waste and hope for the best.

Non-paper gift wrap, such as foil-based wrapping paper or bags, cannot be recycled. You can check if your wrap can be recycled by scrunching it; if it springs back when you scrunch it, it's not recyclable. Just buy lovely brown paper and decorate presents with ribbons or string, which can also be re-used. When you are recycling wrap, remember to remove any bits with labels or sellotape on them, too.

3. Put your recycling in the right bin

It sounds obvious, but so many people put items in the wrong recycling bins. This Christmas, more than 90 per cent of us are set to shop online, which according to DS Smith, means that 25 per cent more cardboard will make its way into residential collections. To make sure that all recyclable paper and cardboard is actually sent for recycling, residents need to make sure that it ends up in the right bin.

4. Bin the bubble wrap

Bubble wrap and plastic-lined envelopes are extremely difficult to recycle, so use paper versions instead. They'll protect any goodies you're popping in the post and can then be recycled.

5. Use a good old hankie

Tissues, paper towels and kitchen roll cannot be recycled once used - mainly for hygiene reasons. So why not go old school and swap these for a handkerchief or cloth, so you can wash them and re-use?

6. Treat yourself to a reusable coffee cup

If you frequent the likes of Starbucks or Costa for your morning caffeine fix, maybe it's time to get yourself a reusable coffee up. According to new YouGov research commissioned by DS Smith, the number of disposable cups used each year in the UK is estimated to have risen by 20 per cent from 2.5 billion in 2016 to 3 billion. And despite a major push to use reusable coffee cups (like cheaper hot drinks), research shows that of the 46 per cent of Brits who have a reusable coffee cup, only 12 per cent use it all the time."

7. Think about the cards you buy

Greetings cards can be recycled, as long as they're not covered in glitter or other non-paper materials, so only buy ones you can actually recycle.

8. Stop buying records and CDs

I know, I know, we love vinyl too, but do you really need any more stuff cluttering up your home? Sign up to a music streaming service like Spotify, where you can select and play pretty much any song you fancy listening to. And if you treat yourself to a new Google Nest Mini (£49, store.google.com, pop it on your Christmas list), not only will you be able to listen to your tunes on a quality speaker, but you don't even need to use the app - you can just ask Google to play you anything you want to listen to. Oh, and the Nest Mini base is made of 35 per cent recycled materials, while the cover is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, so it's also a green product to invest in.

9. Shop with recyclability in mind

Look for the on-pack recycling information and avoid foods packaged in single-use plastics. Black plastic can't be recycled, and companies like Marks & Spencer are doing something about this. Their priority is to remove or reduce plastic packaging, and as part of this, they've removed 1,700 tonnes of black plastic from products such as fruit and veg, meat and fish and their Mini Bites tubs, while also launching new, widely recyclable terracotta CPET trays to replace black plastic.

10. Use more eco-friendly ways to stay warm

If you feel the cold, it can be massively tempting to have the heating on more frequently, but if you want to use less energy, why not focus on just warming yourself up? Throw on an extra jumper,

By Just Essential, Sep 18 2019 09:44AM

UK supermarkets are taking steps towards going plastic-free. With growing awareness of the effects of single-use plastic on the environment, retailers are making pledges to cut out the use of plastic in their stores.

Retail Insight Network looks at how some of the biggest UK supermarket chains are making changes in their stores to become plastic-free and tackle the plastic waste problem.


In July this year, Iceland launched the UK’s first plastic-free bag store in Hackney, offering customers paper, jute and cotton bags as an alternative.

By Just Essential, Jul 1 2019 12:06PM

Last month, 162 people from very diverse walks of life boarded a boat to join the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit (OPLS) in the North Atlantic Gyre -a circular system of ocean currents. They were on an experiential research expedition to better understand the scope of plastic pollution and to develop cross-industry solutions and partnerships to solve this global challenge over the next decade.

Organized by SoulBuffalo, the immersive experience was designed to put decision makers where they could see and feel the consequences of the plastic scourge firsthand. According to the California-based Oceanic Society, Between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year—enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet! And that amount is expected to more than double in the next 10 years

But ocean plastic is a problem we can solve. We know how to pick up garbage, and we know how to recycle it. According to Ted Siegler, a resource economist who spent 25 years working with developing nations on garbage, the problem is building the necessary institutions and systems to do it before the ocean becomes irretrievably a thin, lifeless soup of plastic.

Not a fish in sight

The OPLS group included producers, manufacturers, brands, recyclers and waste worker representatives. There were financial experts, scientists, and storytellers like National Geographic, researchers, thought leaders and innovators ranging from C-level executives from companies like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Dow Chemicals to NGOs like Greenpeace, WWF, and Ocean Conservancy.

Whenever the ship approached clumps of sargassum seaweed in the gyer, the participants would stop their meetings and presentations and jump into zodiac boats with their snorkeling gear.

They didn’t see any fish all day. And at first, they didn’t see much plastic either. That’s deceptive because it’s not visible on the surface. Plastic in the ocean breaks down into small particles that are caught in seaweed and ingested by marine creatures.

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