Easy Plastic-Free Alternatives

Two of the biggest challenges in cutting down on single-use plastic are a) identifying which products you use contain plastic, and b) knowing what alternatives are available.

It feels like it should be a doddle to identify plastic products, but there are actually quite a lot of things wrapped unnecessarily in plastic or sneaking hidden plastic into our lives (tea bags, anyone?). And sometimes, we’re so used to using something we don’t even think about the fact it’s made from pointless plastic. Remember how many carrier bags everyone used to get through before the restrictions were brought in?

So to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common plastic products that you can easily get rid of. Where What Plastic stocks the alternative, we’ve stuck a link in so you can easily add it to your shopping cart. For everything else, search online for the product (and let us know if it’s something you’d like to see us stocking in future!).

Don't buy this...

...buy this instead!

Cling film

Beeswax wraps

Coffee pods

Coffee beans or instant coffee

Cotton buds

Ones that are actually made from cotton!

Dental floss

Eco-friendly floss

Disposable nappies

Reusable cloth nappies

Face sponge

Body loofah or nothing!

Firelighters

Old beeswax wraps, eco-friendly firelighters in cardboard packaging

Jay cloths

Plastic-free reusable cleaning cloths

Lip balm

Tin versions

Liquid and tab laundry detergent

Powdered laundry detergent, soapnuts, refillable bottles

Loo roll

Recycled loo roll wrapped in paper

Make-up

Make-up that comes in tins

Make-up remover wipes

Reusable cotton pads

Milk in plastic cartons

Milk in glass bottles from the milkman

Plastic bread bags from the supermarket

Net produce bags

Plastic carrier bag

Cotton string bag

Plastic cutlery

Metal or bamboo cutlery

Plastic fruit and veg bags at the supermarket

Net produce bags, or no bag!

Plastic water bottle

Metal or plastic reusable water bottle. OR pick a product in a cardboard carton, can or glass bottle (more easily recycled)

Sandwich bags

Beeswax wraps, paper sandwich bags, tupperware / lunchbox (with no wrapper around sandwich)

Shampoo

Shampoo bar, refillable shampoo bottles

Shaving

Safety razor + blades + soap

Soap (pump-action)

Bar soap

Soaps and scrubs with microbeads

Plastic-free soap and shampoo bars

Straws

Paper, metal, or refuse

Styrofoam or other disposable cups

Reusable coffee cup (plastic, bamboo, etc.)

Takeaway containers

Reuse the plastic tubs

Tampons & pads

Compostable tampons, menstrual cup, reusable pads

Tea bags

Plastic-free tea bags or loose leaf tea

Toothbrush

Bamboo toothbrush

Toothpaste

Toothpaste in a jar

Washing-up scourer

Coconut fibre scrubbing brush

Washing-up sponges

Loofah

Wet wipes (for household cleaning)

Plastic-free reusable cleaning cloths

Wet wipes (for your face)

Water! Or a reusable cotton pad

Wrapping paper

Without glitter, foil or plasticky bits