With support from Hubbub, Waitrose & Partners is launching a £1 million grant fund to accelerate action on reducing plastic pollution. ‘Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge’ will give grants expected to be between £150,000 to £300,000 to innovative, impactful projects that rethink how we use and dispose of plastic.

We know that the plastic problem can sometimes feel overwhelming and not everyone is a budding entrepreneur with a revolutionary idea. But fear not, we’ve condensed out top tips to help you start reducing your plastic use today.

The rise of reusables

With lots of talk about plastic free and zero waste lifestyles in the media it can be hard to know where to start, so we've pulled together some simple steps, starting with reducing the amount of single use plastics you buy. The good news is there are now some great reusable products to help you do this. Here are our favourite reusables for when you are out and about.

1) Get yourself a reusable water bottle

Every year in the UK we use approximately 13 billion plastic bottles, of which only 7.5 billion get recycled! Switching from disposable plastic bottles to a water bottle that will last will save you money when you’re on the move. Be sure to get a bottle that's BPA free so you’re not drinking in any nasty chemicals. Not sure where to fill up? Check out this awesome refill app to find out where you can refill your water bottle for free throughout the UK.

2) Coffee to go please

Did you know less than 1% of coffee cups we use in the UK get recycled? This daily treat is causing havoc for the planet and is a headache for recyclers - due to a tricky mix of plastic film inside of the cups they need a special recycling facility that isn't widely available. Watch our Hubbub Investigates vlog to hear more about this. The havoc doesn't stop here either - if cups with dregs of coffee end up in other recycling bins they could make the whole batch dirty meaning none of it can be recycled! This a latte to handle? Stay grounded and check out our top tips for switching to a reusable coffee cup today.

3) Bag of tricks

The environment bagged a winner when the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, as it led to an outstanding 85% decrease in use. Despite this, we can all remember a time when we simply forgot to bring our bag with us and this can cause a dilemma, as reusable bags are only better environmentally when we remember to use them. Why not treat yourself to a foldaway bag such as the Baggu bag, that scrunches up so small you’ll hardly notice it’s there….until you need it that is. 

4) Waxy wrapping

Cling film is an unnecessary plastic in the home that often gets thrown away after use. There are more and more great alternatives made from natural materials that work just as well at keeping your food fresh. Why not give beeswax wraps a try? These colourful creations are made in the UK using all natural ingredients and are reusable and compostable too. Fancy making your own? It’s easier than you think with Lisa Cole’s step by step guide.

5) Use clean cutlery

Used only for a few moments, your single use fork, knife or spoon can take over 200 years to decompose! Why not try a spork or if you’re feeling fancy how about a metal straw for enjoying drinks when you’re out? Check out these washable bamboo wonders and find the perfect straw for you here.

6) Reusable royalty

It might seem like zero waste shops are simply for reusable royalty but more and more people are giving them a go. You don’t have to convert to doing your whole shop in one, start with one thing at a time. Products that take longer to use up like cleaning products, shampoos or laundry detergent are a good place to start. More zero waste shops are opening each month, you can find your nearest one with this app.

Want to see what it’s like before you go? Watch Hubbub’s Sarah and blogger Kate Arnell go shopping in London.

Waitrose Plan Plastic Fund

Do you want to learn more about what Waitrose is doing to tackle plastic pollution? Read our blog on the grant fund here. Do you know of an individual, campaign or organisation that could make good use of a Plan Plastic grant? Click here to learn more about the initiative and apply.