New research released this month suggests that the cost-of-living crisis is making it harder for Welsh consumers to avoid single-use plastic; this is despite the plastic crisis being a concern for a whopping 95% of people in Wales.
So, to help conscious consumers live with less plastic without breaking the bank, indie Cardiff businesses are sharing their top zero-waste, money-saving tips.
REUSE & REFILL *CAN* BE THE MORE AFFORDABLE OPTION
The new research, released by campaigning organisation City to Sea, reveals that sustainability has fallen down the priority list for Welsh consumers; 51% now prioritise cost over any other criteria.
But whilst some big retailers estimate that reuse and refill can make products up to 15% cheaper, City to Sea’s findings show that 32% of people in Wales believe that zero-waste or plastic free options are always more expensive.
To prove this isn’t the case, independent retailers and hospitality businesses in Cardiff are using #WorldRefillDay and #PlasticFreeJuly as a chance to share their examples.
1 – QUENCH YOUR THIRST – FOR FREE
Anyone can download the free Refill app to find over 1,800 businesses accepting reusables and providing free tap water refills across Wales. Refill stations offering free tap water include museums, bars, galleries, and supermarkets as well as smaller, family businesses, local cafes and restaurants – like Kemi’s Café and Dusty’s Pizza in Cardiff.
2 – GRAB A DISCOUNTED COFFEE
Takeaway coffees can cost up to 30% less if you bring your own reusable cup. Big brands like Costa, M&S and Starbucks offer a 25p discount. Local independent coffee shops accepting reusables and offering a discount include Waterloo Tea (a hefty 50p discount) and Pettigrew Bakery (35p). Check out my guide to indie Cardiff coffee shops accepting reusables for more info.
3 – USE YOUR LOCAL REFILL STORE
At Ripple zero waste shop in Cardiff, a recent customer refilled their entire collection of dried herbs & spices, for just £4.19. Herbs and spices are just one example of how refills can be considerably cheaper, and you can always buy the exact amount you need. Check out my guide to Cardiff’s zero waste shops for more info.
4 – LIVE LIFE ON THE (PLASTIC FREE) VEG
Look for local alternatives to shopping at the supermarket for fresh fruit and veg. Across Wales, a number of food cooperatives work to make healthy, sustainable food accessible to everyone in the community. At the Splo-Down Food Co-op in Splott, members can purchase weekly, plastic-free fruit and veg boxes for as little as £3.50. Find out more here.
“CONSUMERS SHOULDN’T HAVE TO CHOOSE”
Of the UK adults surveyed by City To Sea for World Refill Day, two thirds (63%) said they felt frustrated, powerless or angry about the amount of plastic that comes with their weekly shop. Almost another quarter reported feeling sad (13%) or worried (11%).
And whilst 93% of Brits said that they would like to see more refill and reuse options available in their local area, more than a third (34%) indicated that using them would understandably, depend on the cost.
Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, feels it is completely unfair that people are being made to choose between their ethics and their wallets. She said:
“We know that the public still care about plastic pollution, and want to do more, but we need all of the big brands, businesses & retailers to take action by reducing single-use packaging and investing in reuse and refill systems. And we need governments around the world to hold them to account”.
To this end, more than 400 organisations across the world, including Greenpeace, The Women’s Institute and The Muslim Council of Britain have joined forces to demand that the biggest plastic polluters commit to tackling plastic pollution through ‘transparent, ambitious and affordable reuse and refill systems’ in an open letter. Find out more here.