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A Guide to

Sustainable Living

Reduce Reuse Recycle. It’s the key to sustainable living and reducing single-use plastic in your life right? But as you will have learned from reading The Plastic Problem (link), recycling is not the answer and this is why reducing and reusing what we have is the only way to make a difference while we wait for the government to overhaul the manufacturing and energy industries.

This page is here to help you take those small steps towards removing single use plastics from your life. Over time as you introduce these sustainable practices, you will find that you will be recycling less and less, and you can also save money in many cases.


Take a good look around your home and:

  • Swap clingfilm for Tupperware

  • Swap those single use plastic water bottles and soft drinks bottles for refillable bottles and if you drink fizzy stuff – buy cans which are easily recycled.

  • Swap soap dispensers and shower gel for actual soap! – this can really make a difference fast. If you must use dispensers, - Street Sustainables, and Parapura market stall in Faversham will refill your washing up liquid and your clothes washing liquid amongst other things.

  • Refill your washing up liquid and laundry soap and softener.

  • Swap shampoo and conditioner bottle for soap bars, there so many to choose from these days.

  • Cooking spices and other dry ingredients do not need to be encased in plastic, you can source these from refill shops here Unboxed in Canterbury (now on the high St) will refill all sorts of cooking spices and other tasty treats. It also offers a great range of plastic free household alternatives.

  • Make Home-made reusable make-up remover pads or buy them in your local eco store

  • Moon cups are a brilliant to way to reduce tampon landfill.

  • Swap your throwaway razor with a traditional razor with replaceable blades

  • Swap your plastic dishes sponge for one made from eco materials.


When you are out and about

  • The key to reducing single-use plastic when you are on the move is being prepared.

  • If you are food shopping, take reusable tupperware for your meat and fish and string bags for your veg.*Did you know you can put plastic ziplock bags in the dish washer and they will live to be used for another day.

  • Reusable water bottles, flasks, and coffee cups need to be regularly in your mind if you like to rehydrate on the go. Look out for the Refill signs in shop windows about town, or just try your luck - chances are they will happily refill your bottle.

  • Reusable pint glasses - plastic or metal are So useful, but not just for festivals - venues such as theatres mostly serve their drinks in plastic glasses - a prime opportunity to look smug when you produce your reusable cup!!

  • Don’t forget your reusable straws and cutlery if you are going to a picnic!

Fashion – Buy Less and Buy Second Hand

  • Unhook yourself from fast fashion – buy fewer, quality items that will last more than a season, you will save money in the long run.

  • Buy pre-loved items from sites such as Vinted, pre-worn or Thriftplus and Oxfam and other charity shops.

  • Buy classic items that can be accessorised in many different ways

  • Mend your clothes! Sometimes all that is needed is a quick patch or stitch up and your favourite items need not be discarded.


  • Parties can be tricky as they often require more plates and glasses than you would normally have at home. But these days help is at hand. There are companies set up that hire out all the equipment that you need - both adults and children's parties.

  • Or you can buy natural products such as wooden cutlery and biodegradable plates

  • Or you can always borrow from your mates!



  • Buy second hand. Some toys are not only made of non-recyclable plastic but come wrapped in swathes of plastic packaging. Buying second hand can not only save money but avoids further landfill.

  • Buying quality over quantity means toys are less likely to break as soon as they are purchased and thus also reduce landfill.

  • Experiences to create memories. Is anyone else finding that in fact kids these days have many more toys than they can play with, and as birthdays and Christmas roll on, the pile of un-played-with clutter grows higher. One way to tackle this is to buy your child an experience that will stay with them for ever!


Seasonal Festivals

Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and all the other festivals in between, once you have opened your eyes to it, you will see that these events have become one huge opportunity to sell material goods - often plastic and nearly always wrapped in plastic. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate without placing such a strain on the world’s resources.


​Christmas can be an eco-warrior's nightmare with all the single-use plastic and paper that is discarded over the festive period. But it is also an opportunity to get creative to find solutions.

  • Make your own crackers! – this a great activity to do with your kids click here to see how

  • ​Reuse your wrapping paper, or consider using fabric, newspaper or paper saved from last year. If we all did this - we could really make a difference!

  • Brown paper, reused paper and newspaper can look really lovely with a nice bit of (reusable) string round it.

  • Gift experiences over material goods

  • Make your own gifts – A home made gift is a lovely personal touch and Pinterest is awash with fabulous DIY gift ideas


​Single-use plastic and mountains of sugar! It's enough to keep you up at night.

  • Try to reuse or pass on old costumes rather than buying new - or have fun making your own - these are nearly always the best ones.

  • Making your own decorations, sweets and treats is really the only way to reduce the amount of single-use plastic on this ghastly night. These are great activities to do with the kids and it can really get you into the spirit of the whole shebang!



  • Need confetti? Collect some lovely leaves and dry them, then hole-punch the hell out of them. Job done!

  • Swap plastic balloons that can wild animals will choke on for fabric bunting - there are so many sources for this these days, or make your own. A great activity to do with the kids!


Can Wrapping Paper be Recycled?

  • ​Do the scrunch test - if it pops back out after it has been scrunched - then it is not recyclable. neither is anything shiny or that has paint, sticky tape or glitter on it.⠀

  • You can recycle paper with ink on it but not paint. An extract from one recycling company:

    "Paper with paint on it cannot be recycled. The same goes for other kids’ art supplies such as: crayons, glitter, large globs of glue, stickers and foam".

    These are all contaminants. Even if your children use a water-based paint, the paper still can’t be recycled. This is because it’s not the paint itself that makes the paper unrecyclable but the fact that the paper has been wet. Once paper or cardboard has been wet, the paper fibres are damaged and can’t be recycled.

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