The global movement to tackle plastic pollution appears to be gaining momentum after some of the world’s biggest companies announced plans to reduce and eliminate plastic use. McDonald’s recently announced that it is testing out plastic-free restaurants in Canada and Germany, while Adidas has pledged to eliminate virgin plastic use from its products by 2024.

Here in the UAE, we have seen similar moves being made from public and private sector players.  Earlier this year, Dubai Airports said it would ban single-use plastic items such as cutlery and shopping bags in consumer spaces starting 2020.

As more businesses jump on the ‘no plastic’ bandwagon, it begs the question if consumers will follow in their footsteps and shift towards a plastic-free lifestyle. There is a perception out there that it is costlier to opt for sustainable products as opposed to going for more convenient and cheaper options. Let’s see how we can change that!

[Related: Six Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries]

Invest in reusable products

Although you may have to shell out a bit more cash upfront to buy good quality reusable products such as bags, jars, or containers there is an argument that can be made that investing in these long-term alternatives can actually save you money. If you are someone who is keen to change some of your habits but unsure of where to start, you may benefit from the practical tips outlined below.

Switch to reusable coffee mugs & metal or paper straws

Coffee lovers will love to hear that they don’t have to give up their morning latte in order to make more responsible choices. By using reusable coffee mugs and ditching straws altogether, they can do their part to cut down on plastic and paper waste, while saving money in the process. In fact, Costa Coffee offers its UAE customers a discount of AED 2 if they bring in their reusable cups or mugs. If you get your coffee daily from the café that amounts to AED 14 a week in savings, or AED 56 a month.

Ditch plastic bottled water

Even bigger savings can be unlocked by using a thermos to fill up your water instead of buying plastic bottled water every time you need it.

Store food in glass or steel containers

This will eliminate the need for you to keep buying sealable plastic bags, clingfilm or aluminum foil. Assuming that you usually purchase one of each of these products every month, that adds up to a monthly savings of at least AED 34.

Rethink your shopping habits

Swapping liquid soap for soap bars is another simple change that can be good for your wallet, as the latter option is cheaper and don’t contain plastic packaging. The same can be said for powder laundry detergent that is sold in cardboard boxes – these are usually a few dirhams cheaper than the liquid counterpart which comes in big plastic jugs or bottles. Buying grocery items in bulk can also go a long way in curbing your plastic consumption, not to mention that larger quantities often mean big savings.

Minimize use of cleaning products

If you take a look inside your cupboard that holds all of your cleaning products, you will be shocked to see just how many of these items are stored in plastic containers or bottles. Also, chances are that you have more cleaning products than you actually need. More and more shoppers these days are replacing these chemical-filled products with natural alternatives such as white vinegar and baking soda which can be stores in glass jars or spray bottles. The best part about these options is that they can be used for all areas within your home.

Making the complete transition to zero-waste lifestyle is not the easiest or most practical task. However, by making a few simple changes you’ll be amazed to see just how much you can reduce your consumption, spending and environmental impact. 

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