Top ten tips to reduce Single Use Plastics from Leave No Trace Ireland

Here’s a list of 10 ways you can pass on plastic and help protect our oceans.


  • Bring reusable shopping bags
  • Using a plastic bag for your shopping may seem convenient, but plastic bags can take 1,000’s of years to decompose. Rather than taking a plastic bag, bring your own reusable cloth or canvas shopping bags with you.


  • Cut out unnecessary food packaging
  • While you’re shopping, choose the package-free options where possible. Pick up the loose fruit and vegetables, or choose products with biodegradable packaging. Skip the pre-packaged food wrapped in plastic.


  • Ditch the plastic straw
  • Plastic straws are rarely recycled and can easily end up in our seas and oceans and cause potential harm to marine life. Take the lead from Westport, which is aiming to become the first town in Ireland to eliminate plastic straws. Next time you enjoy a cold beverage, pass on the plastic straw.


  • Choose reusable cutlery
  • Along with plastic bags and straws, plastic plates and cutlery are another single-use plastic we could do without. If you need to use disposable utensils, look for the eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives.


  • Carry your own reusable water bottle
  • Every minute, a million plastic bottles are sold around the world! Invest in a reusable water bottle, and remember to take it with you next time you head to the gym – the environment will thank you!


  • Swap out your takeaway coffee cup
  • The disposable takeaway coffee cup can’t be recycled, because even though they are made of partly-recyclable materials, they also contain a layer of plastic, and the lids are made of polystyrene. Swap the takeaway coffee cup for a mug, or bring your own reusable coffee cup – some outlets may even offer you a discount!

    Avoid products with microbeads

    Tiny particles of plastic, called microbeads, are sometimes added to skincare products such as face scrubs and soaps. These particles can end up in local waterways and eventually the ocean, and could cause potential harmful effects to marine life. Check the label, and look for the Zero Plastic Inside


  • Replace your plastic bathroom products with alternatives
  • You’d be surprised at how much plastic can be found in our bathroom products. Plastic toothbrushes need to be replaced a few times a year, try a bamboo or wooden toothbrush or swap your disposable plastic razor for a metal alternative.


  • Invest in reusable items
  • Besides your reusable water bottle and coffee cup, there are other long-lasting items you can use. Pack your lunch in glass containers and avoid using plastic food wrap, reuse your glass jars and use reusable storage containers around your home.


  • Always recycle
  • This almost goes without saying in 2018 and its importance is not just for the oceans but for the environment in general. Reusing products, using bio-degradable products and knowing how to recycle is becoming a crucial part of our 21st century world.