11 Alternatives to Plastic - that are worth getting excited about!

1. Water Bottles
Reusable water bottles are not just handy but they will also save you money.

Don’t let convenience override sustainability – single-use PET plastic bottles can take over 400 years to decompose. And just in case you were tempted to think that reusing that plastic bottle you bought from the shop the other day is a good idea…Plastic bottles aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re bad for you too. Studies show that they gradually leak a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) into the liquid stored in them. The chemicals can alter hormones and have other negative effects. Grab a reusable BPA free, glass or stainless steel bottle instead.

2. Swap plastic straws for paper, metal or bamboo alternatives.
Have you noticed how many bars have already swapped plastic straws for paper or metal ones? This proves that consumer pressure can have an impact. Thanks to you, we’ll hopefully start to see fewer plastic straws at beach cleanups.
3. Do you really need to wrap your lunch in a plastic bag?
This one is a no brainer for me. Maybe I do it wrong, but my when I use sandwich bags, my sandwiches are squished, and sometimes even moist. Instead use a dishwasher friendly bamboo lunch box or a tupperware container to carry your snacks in.
4. Grocery bags

There are lots of better alternatives to the flimsy and cheap plastic bags we buy for 5p. I bought these ones at my local charity shop. Functionally they are great but I think they look good as well ?

Can you believe that we still buy millions of single use plastic bags? For example: 100 million in 2017 alone! That’s about 139 for each Northern Irish household. So go on, make the switch away from single-use plastic to cloth or hessian bags for your weekly shop. You can help make a big difference.


5. Do bananas really need a bag?
Fruit and Veg already come ‘prepackaged’ and quite often the retailers supply them loose. So why then do we automatically reach for a plastic bag? A bag that we know is only for the journey home? I bet most of you already take shopping bags with you, so why not place any fruit and veg into one of those instead of a single use plastic bag? Deep down, you know it makes sense.
6. Do you really need disposable plates and cutlery?
We’ve all had a party when we’ve taken the easy route of buying throw away plates, plastic glasses and cutlery. But there is an easy alternative.
7. Bamboo toothbrushes
Here’s another easy swap you can make in the bathroom. I bought my first bamboo toothbrush last year and I was surprised by how good it felt in the hand. Next time you are shopping for a toothbrush, try and buy a sustainable alternative instead. You’ll not be disappointed.
8. Double Edge Safety Razor

Switching to a double edge safety razor will save you money when compared to the cost of cartridge blades. Best of all you’ll reduce your plastic consumption since the blades can be recycled.

Read my story on how I switched to a double edge safety razor.

9. Use a proper mug
If you work in an office, do you really need takeaway coffee? You can invest in a ‘portable’ reusable mug or just bring a regular mug from home and make your own tea or coffee in the office. Saving yourself time, money and possibly the planet as well.
10. Start using soap instead of shower gel
Not only do some shower gels contain microbeads, they come in plastic bottles. Since I switched to soap I’m just as clean (honest) and soap doesn’t dry out my skin and is generally cheaper. Sometimes things just make sense.
11. Wooden chopping boards
Wooden chopping boards provide a great chopping experience and look great. Cleaned and stored properly, they will last as long as your kitchen.
What products have you swapped?
Here at MyNI we’re all about sharing knowledge and giving each other tips on how we can live more sustainably. But we’ll be the first to admit that we don’t know everything. Let us know on our facebook page what plastic products you have swapped for a more sustainable option.

Unfortunately we’re all getting so used to seeing the terrible images of plastic pollution around the world, that we’re almost becoming immune to them. Even statistics that tell us how EVERYDAY approx 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans, have lost their ability to shock. That’s why we created #OneSmallThingMyNI to highlight some of the small everyday things you can do to reduce your use of plastic in the hope that together we can motivate and encourage others to reduce, reuse and recycle too.