I doubt I need to upset you with pictures of sea turtles with plastic stuck around their necks or oceans swimming in mounds of plastic for you to know that plastic is having a negative impact on our environment. Plastic is everywhere and sometimes it can be extremely hard to avoid, but once you start paying attention to the world around you, you quickly realise how big the issue with plastic is.
90% of the rubbish floating in oceans is plastic and only 3% of all plastics used are recycled.
To put it simply, plastic is killing our planet and making a few small changes can have a massive impact. It’s better to do one small thing than nothing at all, so here’s a few ways you can make a difference:
Reusable shopping bags
These are a brilliant investment, not only are they saving you paying for 5p carrier bags, they’re also stopping plastic bags ending up in landfill sites! They’re normally also far more durable and carry a lot more in them than your usual bag. Investing in a bag for life is the simplest thing you can do to help the environment.
Do you head to costa regularly, or grab a Starbucks on your way to work? Do you also get it in a takeaway coffee cup? Well did you know that those cups are destined for a landfill when you’re done with them. They are then incinerated and produce harmful chemicals into the surrounding environment.
Good news is you can still grab your caffeine on the go! Bring a reusable cup with you or buy one in store (many places sell them), so you can get your caffeine fix and have your costa logo cup.
Lots of coffee chains now offering incentives for you bringing a reusable cup such as Starbucks and costa 25p off, café Nero offer double points, Greggs 20p off and Pret 50p off.
Eco-friendly period products
If you have the privilege to, switching to eco-friendly period products is a good move to make. Single use period products are the fifth most common waste producer, and it’s estimated you will use over 11,000 single use period products in your lifetime. From the packaging to the applicators, it seems it’s a very messy business when it comes to period products. Opting for applicator free tampons, reusable menstrual cups or sanitary pads instead can make a world of difference.
It’s great to hear that many clubs, pubs and bars have already ditched the plastic straws (e.g. Wetherspoons) but many places are still yet to make the move to paper straws. Although it may seem like a small insignificant thing, on a mass scale it makes a difference.
I’d suggest investing in metal, bamboo, glass or silicone straws. And if you forget to bring it out, forgo a straw altogether if they don’t offer plastic alternatives.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk means that there is far less single use plastic packaging on a product, which means far less plastic going into landfill sites. It also tends to be far cheaper to buy your food in bulk.
Buying in bulk might also help reduce food waste as it can encourage you to use up a product completely. e.g. buying 5kg of potatoes may mean you start cooking all your meals from scratch (again reducing plastic usage), and you use them across multiple meals and various recipes.
Many supermarkets are now trialling refill stations and ditching plastic bags for fruit and veg. there are a lot of eco-friendly stores about too that endorse this zero-food packaging ethos.
Reuse household items such as glass bottles and old jars to carry around your packaging free produce when you go shopping.
Say goodbye to face wipes
Single use face wipes are the cause of 93% of blockages in UK sewers and many toiletries you use in the evening could be contributing to the 13 billion plastic bottles that the UK uses each year. So, saving your skin, is not exactly saving the planet. Save money and the environment by investing in reusable makeup removers such as microfibre face towels or reusable cotton pads. Normally you just stick them in the wash after you’ve used them and they’re good to go again!