10 Ways to reduce plastic as a family

With the world finally seemingly more aware of the problem with single use plastic, especially after the recent series of Blue Planet II more and more people want to make changes and cut back single use plastic.

Doing so can be hard, especially when you have a young family and everything they want is incased in plastic. Ive put together 10 changes we have made as a family to slowly cut back on single use plastic.

A few from a very long list off Sad Plastic Facts

  • At least 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year
  • There is more micro plastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way
  • 22 million tons of plastic were produced in 2015 — the same weight as 900 Empire State Buildings (which is made of granite and steel).
  • Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined
  • Cigarette butts, plastic bags, fishing gear, and food and beverage containers are the most common forms of plastic pollution found in the oceans.
  • Approximately 5000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK
  • Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.
  • 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually

Thankfully governments and businesses around the world are staring to take action against single use plastic.

  • UK plans launch of deposit return scheme for single use plastic, glass or metal drinks containers
  • Every major supermarket in Britain has pledged to eradicate unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025
  • Plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned in England
  • BBC to ban single-use plastics by 2020 

But what can families do?
You often see people on TV chats shows showing how all their waste from an entire year can fit into a single jar, which is great, but most these people seem to be single or couples with no children.
Having the time to drag 3 young children around supermarkets, high street shops, farmer markets etc to find food with no plastic wraps is unbelievably time consuming and a real headache with the endless questions and whining from the children. Order online, Click and collect, have it delivered can save so much time and hassle, but it can also give you a large amount of unwanted single use plastic.

Here are 10 things we as a family do to try and cut back single use plastic.


We have been buying Bamboo Toothbrushes for a few years now, when your done you can just chuck them in the compost.

  • Bamboo handle, cost around the same as a normal tooth brush.


  • Bristles: There mostly still plastic, but there is not a lot of alternatives right now to plastic bristles unless you want to use pig hair bristles.


Yes Tea , most people don't seem to realise there is plastic in your Tea. Most tea bags use polypropylene, its added to the paper teabag to help heat seal them during manufacture, which means  tea bags aren’t 100% biodegradable.

There are a few companies that use plastic free packaging and Biodegradable tea bags, but you pay a lot for them.

We as a family have switched to buying loose tea, using the Tea pot and Tea leaf strainer.

We have found a few companies that use no plastic to box the loose tea, but with most companies pledging to eliminate it completely in the next couple of years, your plastic free Tea choice should be a lot easier.

Cotton Buds

Plastic ones could be banned in the UK.

We have been buying Bamboo Cotton Buds which are Zero Waste, when done, compost.


  • Zero Waste, not much price difference to plastic
  • None

As a family with 3 young children, we can get through lot of milk, which means a lot of plastic milk bottles.
Early 2018 we switched to having a Milk man/woman, 3 times a week we get glass milk bottles delivered.

  • Glass, which is reused by the milk company and can be recycled and infinite number of times, delivered to your door, normally before 7am.


  • Expensive, averagely costing £1.44/litre vs Plastic supermarket bottles £0.48/litre

Children love Juice, but again it means loads of plastic bottles, we now mostly buy Rocks Organic Juice in a glass bottle


  • Glass bottle, can be recycled and infinite number of times
  • More Expensive

Fruit and Veg
If you don't want to drag you children around the supermarket, find a Fruit and Veg delivery
We use a guy we found through Facebook, who is loads cheaper than the supermarkets, collects it from the main trading markets and delivers in a wooden box, which he recollects and uses ZERO plastic.
There are a few companies that offer the same service but most will be local to your own area. 
we also used Riverford Organic for a couple of years which were great, but as the children got older, they consume a massive amount of fruit and veg it was a lot more expensive.

They could be banned in England, but you really don't need them.
Loads of options are now available for reusable straws, Bamboo, Silicone, Stainless Steel.
We have had Silicone straws for a few years now, never had to replace them, children love them.


  • Cheaper in the long run, no waste
  • None

Drinks Bottles
Easy this, Buy a water bottle, ideally something like a Klean Kanteen, fill it with water or juice before you go out, then you shouldn't need to buy a plastic bottle of water, simple.

Toilet Roll
It’s covered in plastic and mostly made from trees, so we switched to Who Gives a Crap
They make theirs either with 100% recycled paper, or Bamboo.
Its Made without trees, Delivered to your door in a Cardboard Box, each roll is wrapped in a paper, they don't use any inks, dyes or scents and 50% of profits donated to help build toilets.
Price per 100 sheets is similar to the normal high-end brands.

Sauce bottles

Brown sauces and Tomato sauces are available in glass bottles.

They just takes a bit of bashing to get the sauce out sometimes towards the end.

Why Glass over plastic

Plastic has fibres a bit like paper, and the fibres shorten each time it is recycled. This means plastic can be recycled 7-9 times before it is no longer recyclable.

Glass, steel and aluminium lose no quality during recycling and can be recycled endlessly.

We as a family still have a long way to go to reduce our single use plastic even more, a lot of the changes we hold off on come down to cost, most plastic alternatives aren't cheaper, but over time with more and more people switching to plastic alternatives hopefully the demand will bring more competition and the prices down.

What Plastic alternatives do you and your family use?

Links to buy your non plastic products from.
Babi Pur ethical shopping for kids *

*Highly Recommended By Us

"Think about it. Why would you make something that you're going to use for a few minutes out of a material that's basically going to last forever, and you're just going to throw it away. What's up with that?" 
Jeb Berrier, BagIt Movie


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