10 ways to cut back on plastic for the good of the planet

It's been called a "scourge" on the world's oceans and is bemoaned by environmentalists around the globe.

Plastic use has seldom been far from the headlines in the past year as the world finally wakes up to the impact of our dependency on this modern material.

Here, our thrifty expert Beverley Glover gives her top tips on cutting back on single-use plastics:

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1) Buy sauces in glass bottles - you might even find you get more product for your money.

2) Move to using reusable mugs and plastic bottles if buying hot and cold drinks while out and about.

2) Don't buy cotton buds with plastic central 'wands'.

3) Local markets and greengrocers sell loose fruit and vegetables. Take your own bags, or make use of any paper bags on offer.

If you do need to shop in a supermarket, see if they have paper bags near the mushroom section that you can use instead of the plastic bags on a roll.

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And if you get a check-out operator who puts wrapped food items in a new loose bag, unless it's necessary don't be afraid to remove it again and hand the bag back.

4) Ditch the party bags if hosting a children's birthday celebration. Instead, have fun with the children making little baskets or bags from coloured copier paper which they can decorate themselves.

5) Say no to plastic straws. Either carry a permanent one with you or ditch them completely.

6) Swap plastic 'bags for life' for those made from hessian, cloth or an old-style string bag.

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7) Try to avoid disposable plastic cutlery. Reusable travel sets are easily obtained from many outlets.

8) If ordering a takeaway pizza, ask for it without the plastic lid rest insert.

9) The addition of plastic micro beads in cosmetic products has now been banned in the UK.

However, people may still have products in their homes containing these, including in some toothpastes.

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Although tiny, these beads can get into our food chain as well as doing a lot of harm to the wildlife in our seas.

10) Look for refill services - some cleaning and beauty products can be bought in this way, although you might need to do some online research for your own particular area.