In October 2017, David Attenborough spoke, and the country listened! He called for the world to cut back on plastic use, in order to save the oceans. This sparked a national surge of anti-plastic campaigns, which today, are hard to ignore.
So what’s the deal with plastic harming the environment?
Plastic is designed to last forever…however most of it is disposed of after just one use. Despite the known advantages of alternative packaging, consumer demand for plastic is increasing by the day. It’s anticipated that by 2050, there will be almost 3 times more plastic in circulation than today.
PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE
It’s even in our clothes…most clothing contains plastics such as polyester, polyamide, acrylic and nylon. Staggeringly up to 64% of new clothes have some form of plastic within them.
Recycling plastic won’t fix the problem.
Recycling only delays the escape of plastic pollutants, as most plastic can only be recycled a few times before they becomes too low grade for use. Many landfill facilities will burn plastic bottles, which in turn emits toxic emissions into the air.
Here’s 10 ways to reduce your every day plastic use:
Carry a cup and save some pennies
Get yourself a nice reusable cup and remember to take it out and about with you, whenever you go to coffee shops and cafes. Less than 0.5% of disposable cups are recycled properly!
Many large chains are incentivising reusable cup usage, by offering discounts. Pret A Manger offers a 50p discount when a customer uses their own reusable coffee cup. Even EasyJet now offer the same discount, all the way up in the skies.
Recognise the amount of plastic you use
How much plastic do you use every day? Have a think? And then think about how much plastic you really need to use every day. You could try swapping plastic for glass milk bottles. Cling film, for a simple bowl with a plate covering it. And if your making sandwiches for the day, use aluminium foil that can be recycled easily.
Less quantity and more quality
90% of childrens toys are made from plastic! The famous LEGO brick was originally designed in wood, but sadly caved into mass production demands, opting for plastic instead. Invest in good quality, classic wooden toys and don’t spend another Boxing Day throwing countless amounts of plastic toys out for the rubbish! Also, consider investing in quality cleaning cloths and sponges that are machine washable, rather than disposing of J-cloth after J-cloth!
Cans over bottles
Only 10% of bottles are recycled, where 50 percent of cans are recycled! Big difference. Plastic bottles are convenient, you can replace the top once your finished.. But is that small bit of convenience worth contributing to the 60 million plastic bottles that end up in landfill in the UK every day?!
Remember, remember…your bag for life
A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade! Plastic bag charge and ‘bag’s for life’ have been around for some years now…but how many of us still end up buying an odd plastic bag here and there whenever we forget? Be prepared! Keep reusable bags in convenient places, such as your bag, your car and your coat pockets. That extra bit of thought, can make a real difference to reducing plastic bag waste.
Use paper alternatives
Lots of pubs and bars are doing their bit by swapping their plastic straws for a paper alternative. If your a heavy straw user, you could even look into purchasing an aluminium one to carry around with you. Also, decorate your kid’s party with paper plates and cups instead of plastic. Encourage the next generation to steer away from plastic too.
Say no the chewing gum
Did you know…that chewing gum is made of a synthetic rubber, a type of plastic. That’s just shocking!
Go back to matches
Like many plastic products, although originally designed to be refillable, lasting a lifetime, lighters have become another everyday disposable item. Most of these will end up being incinerated by landfill. Bring matches back to your top draw to light your candles!
There are now many shops around the UK that invite customers to refill their own bags and containers, saving both food and unnecessary plastic packaging waste. They aren’t easy to come by, but a bit of online research will point you in the right direction. The added bonus is that you can buy just exactly what you need.
Change your Razor Blades
Disposable razors are convenient and buying a new razor is often cheaper than buying replacement blades. But what are all of those discarded razors doing to our planet? Is the damage really worth making that small saving?
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the potentially change that could be made. Just making a couple of changes a month will make could make a huge difference. Chose the ones that you find easiest, to help to get you motivated. Your changes will make an impact on our planet.