The Big 4 - Top Single-Use Plastics & Alternatives

Plastic Pollution
They’re those single-use plastics that are everywhere – plastic bags, plastic bottles, takeaway coffee cups and plastic straws. By saying no to the top four single-use plastics you can make a big impact and reduce the amount of recycling that you produce.

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are incredibly dangerous to wildlife and environment. They break down into tiny micro plastics and remain indefinitely in the environment causing damage for generations.


Reusable shopping bags are a fantastic alternative to single-use plastic bags. Tote bags are wonderful, try to choose bags that are made from natural fibres such as such ethically-produced cotton, jute, or hemp or recycled plastic bottles.

To make an even greater impact, consider making your own reusable shopping bags using repurposed fabric.

By choosing to refuse plastic bags, you can save around 500 plastic bags per year from entering our oceans and landfill

Plastic bag filled with fruits and eco friendly bag filled with fruits

Water Bottles

Many people buy plastic water bottles when they’re out and about, only to discard them after one use.

Like plastic bags, plastic water bottles remain in the environment for generations causing harm to wildlife which can get stuck in or ingest them.


Avoiding buying single-use plastic water bottles is as simple as carrying your own reusable alternative with you. Be sure to choose a responsible and environmentally-friendly alternative, such as a bottle made from stainless steel, glass, or safe copper.

You can find our range of environmentally-friendly reusable water bottles here.

Plastic bottle pollution and environmentally friendly reusable water bottle

Takeaway Coffee Cups

Coffee cups are not recyclable in most locations. Even ‘compostable’ cups are rarely composted as they require very specific facilities and conditions.


You can easily avoid takeaway coffee cups by bringing along your own reusable alternative. There are many reusable coffee cups available on the market. Keep it in your bag or on your desk at work; wherever you’ll remember to use it.

Many people choose socially and environmentally-friendly reusables made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel.

If you forget your reusable alternative and don’t have time to dine-in, consider going without. It might not be easy, but will probably mean you never forget again!

Takeaway coffee cups and reusable environmentally friendly coffee cup

Plastic Straws

Single-use straws are used for a few minutes then discarded, where they’ll remain in the environment indefinitely. They are lightweight and easily blown down drains and into waterways, rivers and oceans. Straws can become stuck in the airways of animals, or if mistaken for food and ingested can be fatal.


If you’re able to, request your cold drink is made without a single-use plastic straw. It’s important that you state this before your drink is made; if the straw is already in there when it’s brought to you, it’ll likely become plastic waste anyway.

You can also bring your own sustainable alternatives. There are stainless steel, bamboo, and glass options available on the market, and even foldable reusable straws that you can easily keep in your purse or pocket.

You can check out our environmentally friendly bamboo straws here.

Make A Start

Start slowly and focus on a few areas where you know you can avoid single-use plastic.

Say NO to the top four plastics – plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups, and plastic straws.

Invest in some quality reusable products and create a “reusable” kit which you can take wherever you go.

By making these small changes we can significantly reduce the amount of plastic we have in our lives.

Woman with environmentally friendly bag

1 comment

  • Anonymous

    What a fantastic article! I had no idea that takeaway coffee cups were such a problem. Will be carrying a glass one with me from now on!

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