Inspired by The Plastic Pollution Problem infographic featured at the end of this blog post, by a company called Kennedy Wild Bird Food, I’m going to share with you today 15 ways you can start to reduce your plastic consumption today. We are absolutely plastic addicts. We love it because it is lightweight, cheap, durable and versatile, but unfortunately plastic waste is having a devastating effect on our wildlife.
Many plastics never totally decompose and if you’ve watched the documentary on Netflix called A Plastic Ocean then you’ll know it’s even beginning to fill the sea. In ‘clean’ areas of the sea that are miles and miles from shore and should not be polluted at all, there is now plastic pollution. Tiny fragments of plastic floating on top of the sea that cannot be seen by eye at first glance. Not only do fish eat this plastic accidently, but as larger fish eat smaller fish the problem becomes worse and worse and then guess who eats these plastic poisoned fish? Yep, humans.
Birds are also mistaking attractive shiny and colourful pieces of plastic for food. Their stomachs are becoming so jammed up with plastic that it’s killing them. The plastic does not digest and instead blocks their stomachs leaving no room for actual food. Devastatingly, this is causing many birds to die from starvation.
It’s so sad and I’d like to think that we in the UK are not a part of this pollution problem as we can recycle our plastics. It’s even collected from our homes! But unfortunately we are aiding to this problem and the brook at the end of my road is an example. It’s filled with rubbish, mostly plastic. Unfortunately some people just don’t care about the environment and are too selfish to carry their litter to the nearest bin or home with them. My husband and I recently cleaned up 10 metres of our local brook and filled FIVE bin bags with litter! It’s a joke.
Such irresponsible littering is causing plastic to get into the oceans and have disastrous consequences, not only for the health of the planet and animals, but for us as humans too. Not only does it annoy me that people are littering and not recycling plastic, but many plastics are still not recyclable. The government should act on this and pass a law that only recyclable materials can be used from now on.
Even though many plastics can be recycled it’s still very wasteful to live in our throwaway culture. We use a lot of plastics only once and then chuck them in the recycling bin. The energy and pollution that must be caused by constantly remaking plastics for single use and again to turn them into something new can’t be any good for the planet either.
Here are 15 ways to reduce your plastic use today:
Order vegetable boxes
Not only are veg boxes organic which helps support better soil, wildlife and cleaner water, they also reduce your packaging consumption. Many of the vegetables arrive loose in a big cardboard box which drastically reduces the amount of waste buying pre-packaged products.
There is no need to use throwaway plastic straws. Either go without a straw or choose a reusable straw at home. There are many companies selling eco-straws made from metal that last forever.
Reusable water bottles
Instead of buying single use water, save some money and invest in a water bottle you can use over and over again. Fill it from the tap or filter or distill your own water at home for a more pure taste.
Carry your own cutlery
Stop using plastic cutlery and use your own. Carry a set in your bag if you know you are eating on the go or buying a pre-packaged meal for lunch.
Take a packed lunch
Why not take your own lunch to work or on outings to save having to buy a pre-packaged item? This will save money and reduce plastic waste. Win-win!
Cook at home
As well as eating your own food when out and about, eat your own food at home! Microwave and ready meals have a lot of plastic packaging that is instantly discarded. Cook from scratch and reduce your household waste.
Take your own carrier bags
Leave reusable jute shoppers in the boot of your car so you always have them to hand for sporadic shopping trips.
Buy loose produce
If you can, as it’s hard when buying organic from a supermarket, but otherwise opt for loose produce. It’s usually cheaper and there’s no packaging. If you’re only buying one or two items then don’t use a bag and just stick the price and weight sticker to the skin.
Use a hot drinks flask
Coffee cups are terrible for pollution and many of them are lined with a plastic meaning they can’t even be recycled! Instead take your own drinks flask to coffee shops or just take your own coffee with you to work.
Buy in bulk
Start choosing the larger packs instead of buying several small items time and time again. Choosing to buy in bulk is cheaper and often less packaging is used.
Use cloths to clean
Stop cleaning with wipes and throwing away wipe packets so regularly and choose to clean with spray and cloths instead. Many wipe packets aren’t recyclable so end up in landfill and may never decompose.
Choose concentrated cleaning solutions that last longer and use less packaging. Some cleaning products even come 100% concentrated so you can add your own water at home.
Opt for glass packaging
If your favourite spread or sauce comes in a glass jar instead of plastic then make the switch.
Don’t chew gum
Mainstream chewing gum contains a type of plastic! Yuck! Stop chewing gum or find a natural alternative instead.
Say no to coat hangers
When shopping for clothes, tell the assistant you don’t want the clothes hangers. That way they’ll keep them for reuse instead of you throwing them into your landfill bin when you return home.
Hopefully by making a few conscious decisions and swaps you’ll be able to reduce plastic waste at home.
Take a moment to check out this infographic by Kennedy Wild Bird Food which outlines the problem of plastic pollution and shocking statistics:
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