18 November, 2019

7 Fairtrade Switches to cut your plastic use

Plastic rubbish
by Claire Liboureau

Take the standard supermarket product. We buy it, consume it, discard it. But we all know that a product’s life is longer than that. Fairtrade works to shed light on what happens before you buy a product but what happens after you discard it matters too.

By now you’ve probably seen pictures of our seventh continent, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ and disturbing images of whales and dolphins dying with bellies full of plastic. It’s no secret that plastic is one of the most difficult materials to dispose of, and so if we don’t use it in the first place then we don’t have to get rid of it. Here are seven Fairtrade switches to make your purchase responsible from beginning to end.

1. Switch from Plastic wrappers

Chocolate and Love plastic-free wrappers tick all the boxes. The inner wrapper is made with wood pulp from responsibly managed forests and is fully compostable. The outer wrapper is designed in collaboration with one of the co-founders and a talented New York artist who hand-paints all the illustrations, which are then printed on FSC certified paper. Chocolate and Love minimises their carbon footprint through a tree-planting project with WeForest. 27,000 trees planted and counting! 

Seed & Bean's 100% organic and delicious chocolate comes wrapped in fully compostable packaging. Each chocolate bar comes in a recyclable outer paper layer and an inner foil made from Natureflex™, a specially sourced, flexible cellulose film which is made from eucalyptus wood pulp.

Chocolate and Love Pomegranate gift box

Where to buy Chocolate and Love 

Where to buy Seed & Bean

2. Avoid Plastic Clothes

Are you dressed in plastic? Chances are yes! Synthetic fabrics are made from plastics. Why does it matter? Because with every wash your clothes release micro-plastics, which end up in our oceans where they can be ingested by fish and some of these fish end up on our plates. And so the circle is complete: plastic clothes = plastic diet. Choosing Fairtrade cotton is choosing sustainable fashion. Sustainable for the workers, sustainable for the environment.

White Stuff

Where to buy Fairtrade Cotton clothes 

3. Zero Waste Beauty

Fairtrade, vegan, organic cosmetics in reusable glass jars and bottles. That easily scores them a 10/10! Fair Squared is part of the Zero Waste movement… will you join them?

Find out more about Fair Squared's beauty range 

4. Recyclable coffee packs

100 million. That’s the number of non-recyclable coffee packs the UK goes through each year. Percol switched from plastic to home-compostable plant fibres and eucalyptus. Will you switch with them? 


Find Percol coffee in local supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Coop, Asda, Morrisons, Foodylicious or online on Ocado and Amazon.

5. It's time for a sustainable cuppa

Clipper Fairtrade tea

Tea bags or tea leaves? For 96% of us, it’s tea bags. But did you know that what keeps the bag sealed is most often polypropylene. In other words, petro-based plastic makes up around 25% of your tea bag. Clipper are doing things differently they are using a special fully bio-degradable bio-material from a plant source. Check out their website for the full details.

Buy Clipper Teas onlineOcado or Amazon or find their tea in local supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Booths. 

6. Unpacked Shopping 

Why limit yourself to a few plastic-free products when you can have a plastic-free shop? Waitrose & Partners, one of the largest Fairtrade retailers, trialled an unpacked model in Oxford and it was an overwhelming success! So much so, that this model will come to three more stores this autumn: Cheltenham, Abingdon & Wallingford. If you’re lucky enough to be a local, gather your reusable jars and bags and support this fantastic initiative.

Waitrose unpacked - https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/shop/featured/groceries/unpacked

Find out more about Waitrose & Partners’ unpacked initiative 

7. Fairtrade’s tote-ally fabulous bags

Melissa Hemsley with Fairtrade She Deserves Tote Bag - circle

Choose from two fun designs printed on Fairtrade cotton tote bags. Get yours and help us make trade fair as you go plastic-free. 

Buy a Fairtrade tote bag

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Banner photo of plastic waste by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

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