SUSTAINABLE HOME: Easy solutions to help reduce plastic and packaging pollution

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen headlines here, there and everywhere warning of the dangers of plastic pollution.

Sustainable Home logo.

This is part of the new Sustainable Home series.

Plastic is very useful, and we use it every day – but disposing of it can cause a big issue for our planet.

Most plastics – such as single-use carrier bags, drinks bottles and straws – are not biodegradable and not all of types of plastic can be recycled.

According to Plastic Oceans UK, 350 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year and half of all plastics are single-use applications – they’re used just once and then disposed of.

Sustainable Design expert Dr Rhoda Trimingham has shared her top tips for reducing avoidable plastic and other damaging packaging waste in the home and has suggested some planet-friendly alternatives to popular single-use plastics.

She said: "These are incredibly simple tips for reducing unnecessary single-use plastic but they’re also important to do in order to reduce the impact plastics are having on our planet." 

An array of unrecyclable plastics

Many plastics are used just once and then disposed of. Dr Trimingham's tips aim to reduce single-plastic use. 

Dr Trimingham suggests:

  • Drinks: Opt for reusable water bottles, coffee cups and metal straws
  • Personal hygiene: Swap bottles of hair products for solid shampoo/soap, keep an eye out for refillable make-up, and choose to use reusable bamboo wipes and cloths
  • Food: Take a lunchbox of food rather than buy products that come in packaging and opt for reusable cutlery. If you like a microwave meal, then prep food at home and store it in a mason jar. These make for good and quick meals for one and cut out the plastic and other materials that microwave meals come in
  • Reusable bags: Use bags you have in the home rather than opting for plastic or paper shopping bags
  • Cleaning products: Making products at home cuts out unnecessary packaging and plastic. One idea is to make a multi-purpose cleaner using water, white vinegar and essential oils in a reusable spray bottle. An abundance of recipes for cleaning products can be found online.

This is the fourth video released as part of the Sustainable Home video series. Previous videos have been on food waste, recycling and fashion waste.

To keep up-to-date with the Sustainable Home series, visit the Media Centre video and audio subsection.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 19/221

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via

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