How you can banish plastic from your handbag contents

How you can banish plastic from your handbag contents

How green is your handbag? From silk dental floss to bamboo combs, you can banish plastic from your must-carry items

  • Contents of your handbag is the next step on turning the tide on plastic waste
  • TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp led the way when she shared a picture on Instagram
  •  From bamboo combs to cotton hankies, here’s how to rid your bag of plastic

You’ve stopped using plastic straws and cut back on food packaging. So what’s the next battleground in the fight against throwaway plastic? The contents of your handbag.

So what can you do about it? TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp led the way when she shared a picture with her followers on Instagram showing the contents of her blue Anya Hindmarch tote, along with the caption: ‘Water bottle — tick. Reusable coffee cup — tick. Wooden toothpicks — tick. Three previously plastic things gone. Much more work to do on contents of bag, but it’s a start #plasticfree.’ 

From bamboo combs to cotton hankies, here’s how to rid your bag of plastic . . .


Cotton handkerchief, £13.95, Liberty

Your tissues don’t contain plastic, but those pocket packets come wrapped in plastic film. Try decanting a cardboard box of tissues a few at a time into a fabric pouch.

Better still would be to pack an old-fashioned cotton handkerchief.


Olivia Garden Healthy Hair Bamboo comb, £4.90,

Sandalwood comb, £7.83

Not only is a bamboo or a wooden comb better for the environment than a plastic one, but experts swear they’re more effective at detangling as they don’t create static.


S’Well reusable bottle, from £25 for 260ml size,

 or a completely plastic-free option — including the lid and seal, which are often made with plastic — try a bottle from S’Well, available in three sizes and dozens of designs. Made of vacuum-insulated stainless steel, it keeps drinks cold for 24 hours, or hot for 12.


Peppersmith mints, £1.99, Holland & Barrett (

Almost all chewing gum contains a kind of synthetic rubber, derived from petroleum, like plastic, so swap it for mints. The Peppersmith ones come in recyclable card boxes and while they have a cellophane wrapper (due to food safety laws), this will be ditched by Spring this year.


Wouf flowers cosmetic bag small, £25,

Most make-up bags have a plastic lining, or are made from plastic-coated fabric such as oilcloth. Swap yours for a cotton or canvas version, such as this, and it’s even printed with eco-friendly ink.


KeepCup Cork Brew Reusable Glass Coffee Cup, £20, John Lewis

Many coffee shops now offer a discount to customers who use their own cups. Every part of this glass and cork KeepCup is either recyclable or biodegradable.


WooBamboo Eco-Awesome floss, £6.49, or £5.45,

Instead of plastic dental picks or floss, use this floss made from natural silk. Not only is it biodegradable, but the plant-based packaging acts as the dispenser.


Snakehive solid wood phone case, from £7.95 depending on model,

A fabric or leather phone case is better than a plastic one; alternatively, this case is made from sustainably-sourced wood, with a clever slider mechanism that fastens around your phone.


Bee Lippy lipbalm, £5,

 Swap your plastic-packaged lipbalm for one in an aluminium tin. Made with beeswax, this organic one comes in delicious flavours.


BYBI Babe balm, £18,

Containing 100 per cent natural ingredients, this moisturising balm comes in biodegradable packaging made from sugarcane — among the first of its kind in the beauty world.


OnesEarth Reusable stainless-steel drinking straws, £5.99 for four,

A staggering 8.5 billion plastic straws are binned in the UK every year, and the Government is considering banning them. But until then, why not carry your own reusable one made of stainless steel?


Revolution Pro Empty Palette, £4 to £10,

Go a little bit greener with a refillable compact. Available in three sizes, this one is made of sturdy card. It can be customised with your choice of make-up. 


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