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The future of plastics – 10 hacks to reduce plastic waste

  • 3 Minutes read

Tired of the negative headlines about plastic being incinerated, landfilled or polluting our oceans, the world is waking up to the plastic problem. To help, here are 10 life hacks to reduce everyday plastic use.

Building on recent positive developments, including the launch of the first-ever mission to rid the oceans of plastics by a Dutch non-profit organisation, and the European parliament’s vote to ban a wide range of single-use plastics by 2021 – charities, businesses, politicians, governments and international bodies are all now becoming drivers of change.

However, perhaps more important than any of this, consumers are keen to take action. So as individuals, what can we do? To help, here are 10 life hacks to reduce everyday plastic use.

1)    Shop with fabric or biodegradable bags – fabric bags are known for being sturdy and reusable. Meanwhile, biodegradable shopping bag alternatives are also on the rise. They are as versatile as plastic bags, but being compostable can also be used as food waste bin liners.

2)    Give food containers a quick clean – across Europe, food residue is a major prohibitor to recycling. If you clean plastic food containers properly, you could help to turn the tide on needless incineration and landfill.

3)    Buy a reusable water bottle – unlimited refills not only help to slash waste, your reusable bottle offers a great way to bring excitement to your water by adding fruit, herbs or natural ingredients such as lemon, lime or ginger.

4)    Switch to bamboo toothbrushes and earbuds – make positive change a daily routine. These pioneering eco alternatives are made from organic materials and can be composted.

5)    Say no to plastic straws or use a paper version – if you order a drink, say no to plastic straws or request a paper one. They are strong, biodegradable and a great alternative to plastic.

6)    Goodbye cling film – wrap sandwiches in vegan wax film. It is malleable, water-resistant, airtight and food stays fresh.

7)    Shop locally to avoid pointless packaging – nature is great at packaging and its solutions are planet friendly. If you shop at local, organic stores where fruit and vegetables are loose, you can take exactly what you need while avoiding needlessly or excessively packaged items.

8)    Switch to a reusable coffee cup – contrary to what many people think, take-away coffee containers are not made from paper, but plastic and they are not recyclable. Bringing your own cup can also lead to discounts and rewards in certain coffee shops.

9)    Refuse plastic cutlery
– instead of accepting disposable cutlery when you buy a takeaway lunch, keep a metal set in your desk drawers.

10)     Avoid microbeads – products such as face washes often contain abrasive micro plastics for exfoliation. These make their way directly into the water cycle and are extremely damaging to marine life. Either avoid microplastics or opt for products that use natural alternatives, such as nut shells.

Brother is passionate about improving its plastic footprint and is working towards the circular economy principles of reduce, reuse, refurbish, repair and recycle.

Our return and recycle scheme enables customers to send us their used printer toner cartridges for remanufacturing or recycling at no cost.

Beyond this, when you return your printer cartridges you are also helping our charity partner Cool Earth protect endangered rainforest, meaning recycling with Brother has the double benefit of tackling plastic waste and funding environmental protection. 

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