10 top tips for reducing your plastic waste
As a nation and as an equestrian collective, we’re using more plastic in our everyday lives than ever before. It’s cheap to produce, it’s durable, it’s easy to use. It’s even easier to throw away. The problem with plastic is that we’re consuming it at a staggering rate. We use it, we throw it away. Where does it end up? In landfill and in our waterways, all of which lead to the sea. Current estimates suggest that 8 million bits of plastic are entering the world’s oceans every day.
It’s having a catastrophic effect on the environment. The average time taken for a piece of plastic to decompose is 450 years. That means that every single bit of plastic we’ve ever produced still exists! There are approximately 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tons in the oceans as you read this and over a million animals die as a direct result of plastic pollution every year. So depressing, isn’t it?
We can all reduce the amount of plastic we use by making a few small changes. Whilst we wait for the big supermarkets and brands to make the changes they need to make to really help solve this problem, there are smaller companies and brands that you and I can spend our money with, that leave us with no plastic waste.
For each of the plastic reduction-based changes we’ve suggested as part of the #RidersOnAMission, we’ve suggested some of the brands you could buy from, with fantastic plastic alternatives…
1. Use only re-useable coffee cups
Did you know that in the UK, we use around seven million disposable coffee cups every day, which equates to 2.5 billion a year? We really don’t need to. There are hundred’s of options when it comes to picking up a coffee on the go. Why not save a few pounds and take your coffee on your commute to work or the yard. Check out this stunning Huski reusable coffee cup from EcoGreen Revolution which is made from rice husk waste! It's totally biodegradable and double-walled to keep your brew warm for as long as you need. You can also ask your favourite coffee shop to pour your latte straight into your own reusable cup.
2. Use only re-usable water bottles
There are so many different options when it comes to reusable water bottles. Top tip – keep a couple pre-filled with water or your favourite squash in the fridge so that you can grab them quickly when you’re hurrying out of the house.
Consider keeping one in the lorry so that when you’re at a show, you can fill your own from the tap rather than buying one from the burger van!
Did you know that there is also a big initiative to get Petrol Stations refilling water bottles, instead of selling plastic single-use ones? Refill is an app you can download to easily find places on your travels to refill your water bottle https://refill.org.uk/
These Chilly’s bottles look stunning and keep your refreshment cool for up to 24 hours!
If you use a plastic reusable water bottle, just make sure it’s BPA free for safe drinking.
3. Buy horse care that comes in recyclable packaging
Plastic-free horse care is few and far between. Why? We spoke to several of our suppliers about the problem and all of them said that as smaller brands, it is currently prohibitively expensive for them to buy alternative packaging.
However, there are brands that are doing more. Here’s three of the brands that we stock who are working hard to reduce their plastic waste impact…
- Have you seen the Mother Bee range? All of their products come in aluminium pots which can of course be recycled! Not only that, the Mother Bee range is 100% natural and does the job it was designed to do, so you’ll want to use every single last scrap.
- The majority of the plastic that our other brands products come in is recyclable, but we’ve always had a bit of a problem with the spray tops, which are not. So, we’ve been working exclusively with Well Gel to offer our customers refills! If you’ve run out of a Well Gel product, keep the spray part and just order a refill. The main part of the bottle can go in the recycling bin.
- We’re super excited to be stocking the incredible new range of grooming products from The Alchemists Garden. Their product comes in bottles made from sugar cane (also described as bio-plastic) which is 100% recyclable and has a much lower carbon footprint in production!
4. Switch to a horse feed brand that comes in recyclable bags
Paper feed bags were a familiar sight in feed rooms 10 years ago. Nowadays many feed companies prefer to use plastic bags as they tend to be more durable. There are plenty of brands skipping the plastic though. The Horse Feed Guru has written a fantastic blog post for us giving her top tips on the ways you can avoid plastic waste when feeding your horse.
Donna is also offering £5 off a consultation with her when you quote 'PLASTICFREE' - exclusively for Honest Riders customers throughout July!
5. Buy only loose fruit and veg
How many of you get annoyed when the 6 bananas you bought in the supermarket were wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging? It’s so avoidable! Not least in this case because mother nature provided her own protective case – the humble banana skin!
Most supermarkets now offer loose fruit and veg, so next time you need to stock up, take a reusable bag and load your fruit and veg in there to take them to the checkout! Morrisons estimates that it’s new bagless fruit and veg area will save an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week, equating to 156 tonnes a year. Get involved!
Better still, if you can, find a local farm shop and buy your fruit and veg from there – it’s much less likely to have been covered in chemicals during the growth process and locally grown produce will have a much much lower carbon footprint.
6. Switch to recyclable supplement containers
As part of our #RidersOnAMission giveaway, we’ve been working with The Little Feed Company to offer plastic free alternatives for you to try.
The Little Feed Company provides an artisan alternative to the major feed
manufacturers. They support local producers, believing that the provenance of
their locally sourced ingredients ensures the highest quality and least
environmental impact. Most of the manufacturing is performed in Devon, and is
undertaken in accordance with the highest quality feed assurance standards
(UFAS and BETA NOPS).
Their granular supplements are supplied in 1.5kg paper bags which of course are totally recyclable. We love.
If you want to give their supplements a try, we've got a discount code just for Honest Riders customers, throughout #RidersOnAMission month. Just enter "OnAMission" at checkout for 15% off!
7. Switch to 100% compostible dog poo bags
Did you know that a lot of biodegradable poo bags are actually made of plastic and biodegradable just means they can break down into smaller pieces? The other problem with ‘biodegradable’ poo bags is that they need light and oxygen to degrade. As poo bags usually end up in landfill, buried, they often just create a mummified stinky mess that never really breaks down!
Luckily, there are compostable alternatives that you can chuck on your own muck heap or compost at home (just don’t use it on your homegrown veg ;-)
Check out these ones by Beco from EcoVibe.
8. Ditch the face, anti-bac, tack, fly wipes! Swap for reusable, washable versions
Sales of disposable wipes have more than doubled in the last 3 years and has lead to one giant problem when it comes to plastic waste. According to the Marine Conservation Society an average of 35 wipes are found for every kilometer of beach around the world! Mostly due to people flushing them down the toilet, and, being made from non-recyclable polyester that’s just more plastic floating around in our oceans. They cause other problems too. In order to keep wipes moist they have to be treated with harsh chemical preservatives like parabens, alcohols and triclosan.
There are alternatives though. We absolutely love these washable face wipes from EcoGreen Revolution that you can chuck in the wash when you’ve used them. Totally plastic free and made from 100% cotton they won’t be spreading microplastics into the water supply either!
If you're still addicted to the disposables, make it clean with the Cheeky Panda, whose wipes are 100% plastic free.
When it comes to wiping tack and applying fly spray, check out these amazing Scrubbie unsponges! We've spoken about these versatile eco-beauties in our next tip...
9. Swap the your traditional sponges for compostable / biodegradable ones
Did you know that the cleaning sponges you use in the kitchen and on the yard contain plastic? Yep, they’re not recyclable. Of course the problem with sponges, with all those little holes, is that they fill up with bacteria pretty quickly, so we end up throwing them away. Either that or they break down as we’re scrubbing, releasing heaps of microplastics into our waterways.
There are biodegradable alternatives though! We discovered these by Scrubbies on our hunt to ditch the plastic sponges and haven’t looked back. They can be used for all kinds of cleaning duties in your home and at the yard – they’ve now replaced all of our tack cleaning sponges! Whilst these Scrubbies are 100% biodegradable they’re also reusable – just chuck them in the wash and they’re ready to go again! We’re converted.
10. Get your Milk delivered! Sign up to get your milk in reusable glass bottles instead of plastic ones
You know, like back in the day when your milk would turn up on the doorstep in glass bottles which were then duly collected and reused once empty?
Milk & More are throwing it back to the good old days, delivering fresh milk around the country. The service has had a serious upgrade since the 80’s too. You can now include a whole host of other grocery essentials in your order; eggs, juice, bread and so much more. Top tip, we’ve been LOVING their organic veg boxes. Saves a trip to the shops and full of chemical-free goodness! It’s a no-brainer.