By Catherine Somerville of Sustainable Wallingford.

The issue of excess plastic in our lives and how it is disposed of does not go away. It has a useful role, just not as much as has become the norm.

If you are looking at how to reduce how much you have, and therefore less to dispose of, here is a way to start.

Go through your home to find things like shower bottles, laundry and washing up liquids, deodorants and shampoo bottles.

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Replace liquid shampoo with shampoo bars and swap plastic cotton buds for recyclable ones; buy liquid detergent in refillable plastic bottles at your local refill shop.

Buy recycled paper loo rolls – they are not just loo rolls which have been recycled!

Replace plastic toothbrushes with bamboo ones which only take about six months to biodegrade instead of floating in our oceans for aeons.

Get into the habit of carrying reusable fabric shopping bags. Reuse plastic ones.

Buy dried foods such as rice, pasta and lentils loose from Fairtrade shops and put into glass jars to avoid buying food wrapped in plastic.

You could also try the Scoop plastic-free refills shop which now pops up at places around Oxfordshire.

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No need to rush out to buy jars, just use that coffee or jam jar which is almost empty.

Outgrown children’s plastic toys could go to a toy library. Borrow from it too. Charity shops take clean usable items. Remember to shop there too.

Many places are happy to fill your reusable coffee cup or flask; keeps plastic-coated cups out of landfill.

Say no to plastic cutlery at takeaways. Carry a picnic fork with you. Say no to straws – lips are great for drinking with!

Stop using cling film. It cannot be recycled in most UK collections. Foil is recyclable, so use that instead or reusable plastic boxes. Or easily and cheaply make your own waxed covers using old cotton sheets or pillow cases and beeswax pellets. Instructions available online.

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Use a safety razor instead of plastic disposable ones.

Once you start looking at what can be reused, either filled again with the same things or used in another way, it is surprising what other ideas occur to you. If there are children in the family, get them to start thinking of solutions. They are very creative.

Ask companies whose packaging is non-recyclable, to change to recyclable materials. Tell your family and friends what you are doing. More will do it if they think they are not the only ones doing so.