As consumers, we use a considerable amount of plastic every day! From water bottles to food packaging plastic is a big part of how we consume goods but how good is it for the planet? Here we tell you all about our five easy steps to cutting down on plastic.
Why should I think about cutting down on plastic?
Although as a nation we take recycling very seriously, unfortunately, it just is not enough to help reduce the amount of plastic that is consumed. Single-use plastics are one of the most damaging products people consume daily; this often means the consumer will only get one use out of the plastic before they throw it away. These are usually items such as plastic bags, coffee lids, straws, water bottles and most food packaging. Here in the UK, we produce a plastic on a large scale with roughly 300 million tons of plastic being made each year, however, only half of the plastic produced is actually recyclable.
A lot of the plastic produced is a petroleum-based which means it is non-biodegradable. A significant amount of non-biodegradable plastics are buried in landfill; it takes plastic 450 years to decompose. While it is in the decomposing process, it will often release harmful toxins or chemicals which will make its way into our food and water supply.
1. Stop buying pre-packed fruit and veg
Unfortunately, not every supermarket will provide you with the option of plastic-free everything which often means we have to purchase items wrapped in plastic. While it may not always be easy for everyone one of the best places you can go to get vegetable and fruits is your local market, you may also be happier in that it is far cheaper to do so.
Alternatively, you can always look at getting eco-friendly reusable mesh produce fruit bags, they are an inexpensive option which will last you months on end. Take them with you when you do go food shopping so any loose food items can be packaged in reusable bags instead of plastic.
As we are already on the topic of food shopping why not use a reusable shopping bag? The UK is already working to help reduce the amount of plastic consumed when doing your food shopping, but is it costing you everytime you forget your shopping bags? Get yourself a sturdy reusable bag which will allow you to get large amounts of shopping in such as this Fortnum’s and Mason bag for life.
2. Carry a reusable bottle
Plastic bottles are one of the many tips of plastic that are actually recyclable; however, most of the recycled bottles we put in the bin often make their way into oceans and rivers which can be harmful the natural habitats. Think about how many times you have purchased a bottle of water when you could have easily filled a reusable bottle. If your drinking water is perfectly palatable, you could be wasting large amounts of money on bottled water.
Even if you do need to refill a water bottle in most cafes and restaurants tap water is free, so give them a little smile, and we are sure they will be more than happy to fill up your water bottle.
3. Avoid straws
Many people use straws when they go out for a meal or on a night out because they do not want their lipstick to smudge or think their sugary fizzy drink is missing their teeth by using a straw. What a lot of people do not realise is the damage those straws are doing to the planet. Single-use straws are found in the thousands across the oceans of the world; they can be extremely harmful to sea life. It may come as a shock, but straws made the top 10 items that are picked up during beach cleanups.
Recently one of the most endangered species of sea turtle had been caught with straws clogging their noses which means as humans we are the ones making this species endangered. You can read more about the dangers straws cause to sea life by reading 1 million women.
Many restaurants across the UK are now taking action by no longer allowing plastic straws and are using biodegradable alternatives such as cardboard. If you’re going to a restaurant that does not supply biodegradable straws but instead uses plastic ones why not enjoy your drink without it. If you are still looking to use a straw there are other alternatives you can look into purchasing such as bamboo straws
4. Facial plastics
You may be wondering what on earth we are going on about here? Many of the facial products we use daily contain some form of plastic. Face washes and toothpaste are some of the biggest culprits with little beads inserted into the product to act as an exfoliator. Many wastewater treatments are unable to stop them from getting back into the water system. We recommend either scrapping these types of products and find an alternative. Or you can make your own at home out of products you already have. If you would like to consider a home alternative why not take a read of Tree Hugger’s article A recipe for the oatmeal-almond facial scrub.
5. Food preperation
When in a rush many of us will pop into our local store to pick up a plastic packaged sandwich or salad as well as a plastic bottled drink. Why not consider prepping your food before the night before. Not only will it be great as you don’t have to worry about going out to get lunch, but it will also save you a considerable amount of money. If you are thinking about food prep why not get yourself stainless steel lunch containers.
Why cut out plastic?
Cutting out plastic is a great way to help the environment, there are a few simple steps you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re looking to become more eco-friendly why not consider switching your residential gas plans, many energy companies do not use renewable energy which can be harmful to the planet.
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