Rise to the Challenge: Plastic-Free London

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London is an increasingly eco-friendly city, offering plenty of options for visitors eager to maintain a low-waste lifestyle during their trip to England’s capital. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the key ways you can contribute to building a plastic-free London…

London’s plastic problem

As a city with visitors from all over the world, and a reputation for a hectic pace of life, it’s no wonder that litter and plastic pollution can sometimes be a problem.

However, the city has recently undertaken an ongoing commitment to being a little greener, and is encouraging both locals and those enjoying the sights to take part in each doing their bit to combat throwaway culture.

During your own stay at the Park Grand Hotel Paddington, you’ll have access to many key ways to get involved in building, a greener London for all to enjoy.

Pick up some plastic-free items

London now offers a variety of different locations where you can pick up essential items for your trip, yet ensure they’re completely plastic-free. We recommend visiting One Small Shop, which is dedicated to ethical shopping.

Founded by an enthusiastic and conscientious shopper, the store puts ethics at the core of every single product for sale, and specialises in health and beauty and fashion products. Here you can find a combination of handmade indie brands and notable brands from the ethical beauty and fashion scene.

Recycling is integral to the One Small Shop product range, providing a guilt-free shopping experience while still enabling you to try something new while staying at hotels near Paddington Station.

Another great location is Content, which offers a range of unisex grooming products from the brand’s Marylebone boutique. Each offer an ethical way to shop whilst still providing the height of indulgence in London.

Find sustainable souvenirs

Whether you’re buying for yourself or eager to pick up a few souvenirs of your trip to take home with you, there are also a number of great venues to search through.

As sustainability and eco—friendliness becomes ever more mainstream, new shops are springing up all over the city, offering a more thoughtful interpretation of traditional gifting. Some focus on charitable donations alongside a present, while others focus on natural gifts such as flowers or items created from recycled materials.

Enjoy a plastic-free night out

There’s no need to miss out on London’s nightlife, just because you’re adopting a new plastic-free approach. Many locations throughout the city are now taking a stand against plastic pollution by banning straws and steering away from disposable packaging and serving options.

Plastic straws have been a particular talking point, though this also extends to other items designed to help effectively ‘dress up’ a drink or a meal. By renewing their commitment to simplicity and quality, successful destinations such as Tap13 have removed the garnishes from their drinks and instead offer everything from cocktails to beer, wine and Prosecco, direct from kegs. The kegs can be refilled, helping to make this Tooting bar more and more popular.

Stock up on zero-waste supplies

If you find yourself needing a few essential foodie items during your stay at the Park Grand Hotel Paddington, simply head for a branch of Unpackaged, a ‘zero waste’ store which encourages users to bring their own containers.

There are five outlets of Unpackaged in London, ensuring you’re never far from delicious produce. Investing in some re-usable storage containers before making the trip will help you get involved in the circular economy, and items can be weighed in store before purchasing – so you only ever need to buy what you truly need.

This is a particularly great approach for visitors, as there’s no need to purchase excess product and you can also cut down on your food wastage, in addition to saving on single-use plastics.

Indulge in some ethical retail therapy

London is renowned as one of the best shopping destinations for fashion, and you can still be at the heart of this scene whilst supporting eco-friendly products.

There are many new and emerging fashion brands which take a more sustainable approach to clothing production, as well as a plethora of second-hand stores where you can pick up a pre-loved gem.

We recommend heading to indie brand Birdsong, which creates womenswear with a stylish approach to sustainability. There are no sweatshops involved in their production line, and every item has been produced by a person paid the London Living Wage. In addition, the brand steers away from synthetic fibres, using organic alternatives and bamboo to help prevent micro-plastics and synthetics entering the ecosystem.

Key vintage stores to look out for include the likes of Absolute Vintage, Beyond Retro and Rokit, where you can browse through history to find a new outfit, safe in the knowledge you’re not contributing to fast fashion’s unethical practices.

Stay away from plastic water bottles

Many of us reach for a plastic water bottle when we’re in need of a drink on the go, but this leads to a huge amount of waste in the long term. Every single plastic bottle takes a startling 450 years to decompose, so there are certainly more environmentally-friendly ways to hydrate during your stay.

The Refill app will let you know where to find one of London’s water fountains, which have been installed around the city. If you want to always have a bottle with you, then look into reusable alternatives to help eliminate plastic usage.

Coffee drinkers can also get involved, by buying a reusable coffee cup and asking your favourite outlet of Starbucks to use that, instead of a plastic alternative. If you’d prefer to stay away from packaging altogether, then look for the latest range of water containers from London department store Selfridges, which are made from seaweed and completely biodegradable.

With a little added ingenuity and imagination, everyone can do their bit to help London cut down its use of plastic.