Yesterday was National Refill Day, an opportunity to encourage the country to make the switch from single-use plastic water bottles to reusable bottles. BILLIONS of plastic bottles are produced every year around the globe: doesn’t it make sense to do what we can to reduce that number?
But the ethos of refill is about far more than just water bottles. We are absolutely surrounded by plastic, most of which gets used only once before being binned or added to the recycling pile. Is it any wonder that our recycling system is so overloaded that, in the UK at least, it’s being shipped abroad to make a mess in other countries?
However, there are so many simple ways of reusing and refilling containers on a regular basis. It just takes a smidge of forethought to plan what’s needed—isn’t that the least we can do to try to improve our environment?
- Fruit and veg: Switching to cloth or mesh bags and bringing them with you to the supermarket or greengrocer eliminates individual plastic bags. These bags can live in your normal reusable shopping bag until needed.
- Meat and fish: A lot of places are now allowing you to BYOC (bring your own container) to put products in. This is an easy way to stop low-grade plastic from entering the waste stream. Just make sure to wash well between uses!
- Tea: You may remember some of the scary infographics that were making the rounds a few years ago about the amount of plastic in teabags. Jon and I made the jump to loose-leaf tea and haven’t looked back since: it tastes so much better and our tea-related packaging waste has been brought to zero. Both Comins Tea and the Tea House Emporium in Bath do caddy refills.
- Refill shops: These shops are built around the idea of zero-packaging waste: bring your own containers, weigh them, fill them, and weigh them again to determine price. Job done. While we don’t have one in Chippenham yet, Malmesbury has the Wild Food Company, Marlborough is home to Packaging Not Included and Bristol has Zero Green and Preserve.
Plastic Free July is just around the corner—whether you want to go completely plastic free or just make a start at reducing your wasteline, try reusing and refilling. You may be surprised how easy it is: