Getting Started

There are things we can all do in our lives to reduce the amount of single use, avoidable plastic we use. Here are some tips on how to start a less plastic lifestyle. Just try one at a time, get used to it and let it settle into your life … then try another. Before you know it you’ll have made a huge difference to your ‘plastic bootprint’!

Use a Refill Bottle

36.5 million single-use bottles are bought every day in the UK. Only half are recycled. The rest are burnt, buried or end up in the environment. Just this action alone makes a big impact on resources, litter … and our pockets! You can save up to ¬£400 a year by refilling with tap water.

Use Refill Coffee Cups

Seven million disposable cups are used each day in the UK. 99% end up in landfill, being burnt or polluting the environment. Compostable cups are not a solution so refuse single-use outright! Most cafes in Penzance and beyond offer a discount for using refill cups. You can save up to 50p a drink.

Refuse Straws

Straws suck. Refuse them. Even paper straws. If one is put in your drink hand it back explaining you are avoiding unnecessary throwaway items. Some people are reliant on straws, we know that. In those cases check out the great range of re-usable straws, now widely available.

Take Your Own Bag

Carrier bags stay in the environment indefinitely. Bio-plastic bags break down quicker, but are still plastic. Marine wildlife mistake carrier bags for jellyfish and eat them. You have to pay for carriers. Pretty good reasons to take your own re-useable bags when shopping!

Plastic Free Shopping

How can you avoid the mountain of plastic that comes with the weekly shop? Try these top tips and again let each one settle into your lifestyle. Some things cost more, some things are cheaper and some things you just won’t buy anymore. Reducing single-use plastic is an ongoing aspiration and you can balance up the books along the way. The key is to shop local as much as possible, which has the added benefit of keeping our hard earned cash in the local economy.

Fruit & Veg

As a first step why not decide to stop buying fruit and veg in the supermarket, where it’s plastic wrapped within an inch of its life. Head to your local high street grocer, farm shop, roadside stall or order a veg box from a local grower. Less plastic and less food miles = wins all round! You can also buy some fruit and veg loose in the supermarket, just pop it straight in the trolley and then into a reusable bag to take home.

Dried Goods

Image: The Refill Store, Truro

Choose flours, cereals, pasta, rice, sugar and other dried goods in paper bags. Some supermarkets sell more than others … but to be sure head to your local refill shop. In Penzance we have The Weigh Inn and The Granary who offer refill in paper bags and are happy to refill your containers from home. Think herbs, spices, pastas, dried fruit, flours, rices, cake mixes, nuts, seeds …


So this can be tricky … and we are all about being realistic and making the changes we can before tackling the harder stuff. BUT, there is a way around this one. Shop at your local butcher and take your own containers! Lenterns in Penzance paper wrap meat and are more than happy to fill tubs from home. The only issue we’ve had so far is with the bigger cuts, but if you are reducing elsewhere that’s maybe one for another time!

Bakery Goods

Head to the local bakery and get your loaf, rolls or treats in paper bags. Places like Baker Toms on Causeway Head are pretty much completely plastic free. Others vary, but all our local bakers are great and have plastic free options. In the supermarket opt for loose bread and take your own washable cotton bag. Even if we just reduce the amount we buy in plastic, it all helps. And it tastes SO much better!


A few ideas to get started: Register with your milkman and go back to glass bottles. Some village shops and local dairies are starting milk refills too. Bulk buy yoghurt in bigger containers and decant into smaller pots (reuse the containers afterwards) or have a go at making your own in glass jars. Treat yourself to some paper wrapped cheese from Newlyn Cheese Shop. Make sure you recycle any plastic you do use.


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