How I’m cutting down on plastic in my home

By Mags McWhinnie, Key Account Case Owner & Green Champion

23 July 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes

Did you know that less than 15% of plastic is currently recycled globally? (Marine Conservation Society). This is a shocking statistic when you consider it takes around 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose when it’s sent to landfill ( There’s also the added issue of plastic contamination with the volume in our oceans expected to triple on the next 20 years (Marine Conservation Society). It’s important we act now to prevent plastics causing more damage to our planet.

In July 2020, over 300 million people took part in ‘Plastic Free July’ in a bid to create new habits to reduce their plastic usage. This year, a number of colleagues in Business Stream are taking part in the challenge and have been sharing lots of their tips on how they cut down on plastic in their household. We caught up with Mags McWhinnie, Keys Case Owner and Green Champion, who told us more about the changes she’s made which are helping her to make a positive difference to the environment.

“I’ve always been conscious about my impact on the environment and try my best to make environmentally-friendly decisions as much as possible. Last year, I took part in my first ‘Plastic-Free July’ and really enjoyed the challenge so I’m doing it again this year. I’ve discovered there are so many alternatives to using plastic, it’s just about changing your behaviours and not buying the items we always buy out of habit.

“My favourite switch has been to using bars rather than bottles for soap, shampoo and conditioner. There are some amazing bars available and they work just as well as the liquid versions in plastic bottles but they come with the added bonus of being more environmentally-friendly. However, if you’re not quite ready to make the switch to bars, there are a lot of shops that you can take empty bottles to and get them refilled. You don’t need to buy new bottles every time you need more shampoo!

“I’ve also recently started growing my own seasonal fruit and vegetables which has been really fun. You can’t get fresher than picking your own veg and eating it for dinner that evening! I find a lot of the fruit and veg you get in supermarkets is packed in plastic so I was keen to avoid this as much as possible. If I do buy some in the shop, I buy individual items loose rather than prepacked and use my own containers to put it in. This also means I only buy what I need which helps to prevent food waste too.

“If I was to give anyone advice on how best to reduce your plastic usage, it’s to be prepared. Try your best to remember to take your own bags and containers to the supermarket – this will stop you needing plastic bags while you’re there. You can use your own containers for fruit, vegs, meat, fish and even pasta in some shops. Every time you use your own container, you're reducing the volume of plastic you’d have used so it’s a great way to make a positive difference.

“Changing habits can be really tricky at first but you soon adopt to a new way of buying and shopping. This year, I’m finding Plastic Free July a little trickier as I’ve kept going with all the changes I made last year so I’m looking for new ways to cut down on plastic in my home. I’d love to hear what other people are doing in the business!”

Marine Conservation Society is currently running their July 'Plastic Challenge' to help stop plastic waste! Why not sign up and become part of a global movement to protect our beautiful blue planet? To find out more and sign up, go to