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Make 1Change in 1Minute to reduce single-use plastics

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Ad for The Midcounties Co-operative 1Change campaign – all words and opinions are my own.

Our planet is literally suffocating from the amount of single-use plastic we are using and discarding on a daily basis.  It is killing animals, polluting our oceans and even poisoning us.

Now we are aware of the destruction and damage this product has upon planet Earth, it’s more important than ever for us to curb our plastic-loving habits.  It’s time to replace single-use plastic with something more sustainable to protect our health and future.

I recently undertook a challenge with The Midcounties Co-operative to see if I could reduce my plastic use in 60 seconds.  The campaign is about making 1Change in 1Minute.

Reducing single-use plastic and helping our planet doesn’t need to be overwhelming or take time to implement.  We can make better choices in a minute or less every single day.

Earlier this year I took part in another of its challenges where I shared how much single-use plastic we used in a week.  Saving up our family household’s single-use plastic for one whole week was a real eye-opener to how much we really used. 

We had already been cutting down on plastic and making more sustainable choices in our home, but that challenge spurred us on to reduce our plastic consumption even more as a family.

Now I’m back to tell you that reducing plastic each day is achievable in as little as 60 seconds by making more conscious and eco-friendly choices.

It’s also an amazing way to start saving money around the home as many of the plastics we use and throwaway are easily replaced by re-usable alternatives that will save us cash in the long run.

Read on to see how you can make 1Change in 1Minute and reduce your consumption of single-use plastic.

How I reduced our single-use plastic in less than 60 seconds a day

Whilst changing everything you use in your home from plastic to a better alternative might take a while as you use up what you have and research new products to buy, there are some smaller and cheaper changes you can start making right away.

Sometimes they are not very obvious and we don’t even realise the plastic waste we are creating.

Whilst we had already made significant changes in our household to reduce waste, there was one item that I had a habit of using regularly and it hadn’t even occurred to me that it was plastic.

Of course, I do know it is plastic, but it had just slipped my mind that this product was contributing to the plastic pollution problem.  It had also sort of slipped my mind that it was plastic as it’s not an obvious plastic bottle or punnet.

It’s something I regularly use and you might too…

The household item I am talking about is cling film.

As much as we had reduced the amount of plastic bottles in our home from toiletries, for example, and had also started using reusable water bottles and coffee cups, amongst many other changes, I had totally not realised I was still contributing to plastic pollution by wrapping our packed lunches in cling film.

As soon as I became aware I had to stop this single-use plastic habit.  Swapping cling film for something non-plastic is the 1Change in 1Minute that I have undertaken and we are now proudly a cling film free house!

What can I use instead of single-use cling film?

Instead of wrapping lunch box food in cling film, which couldn’t even be recycled so had to go to landfill, I have instead been using reusable Tupperware boxes when possible or wrapping food in paper food bags which are compostable after use or using foil which can be recycled after use.

There are even wax wraps available nowadays that can wrap food, be washed after and used time and time again. Some of these items cost more than a pack of cling film upfront, but aren’t single use so you get much more for your money.

These are much better options than using plastic cling film that is thrown in the bin every day after it is used! 

Now we use items that can be reused daily for years, composted or recycled.

Making use of reusable bags and pots also reduces the cost on using a throwaway plastic every day.  It’s much more cost-effective and better for the planet.  It’s a win-win situation for us and the environment.

More ways to make 1Change in 1Minute to reduce single-use plastic

Stopping the use of cling film at home is a quick and easy change to make to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use at home.  It takes no time at all to use something else in its place once you purchase the recyclable, compostable or reusable options that are available.

There are also lots of other ways you can help to reduce single-use plastic and help prevent plastic pollution in 60 seconds. 

Below are some more ideas of how to make 1Change in 1Minute:

  • Pick up plastic litter.  Whether you’re on the school run, walking in your neighbourhood or outside your place of work.  If you see a plastic bottle or other plastic item discarded, then take less than 1Minute to pick it up and put it in the next recycling bin you see.
  • Recycle all your plastic.  Sometimes there isn’t a recycling bin for plastic when you’re out and about.  Instead of throwing it in the nearest landfill bin, pop it in your bag and take it home with you so it can be recycled.
  • Fill a water bottle and take it with you everywhere.  Stop the need for buying bottles of water from shops on-the-go and instead always fill a reusable bottle of water at home before heading out.  Take it in your bag so you always have a bottle of water to hand.  This will save money on buying bottled water too.  Filter or distil tap water at home if you don’t want to drink plain tap water.
  • Pack a hot drink flask.  It takes two seconds to pop an empty hot drinks flask into your bag so you don’t need to get a throwaway cup when you buy coffee or other hot drinks on-the-go.  Even better, save money by taking a minute to make your own hot drink at home for your flask.

If you want to find out even more ways to reduce plastic at home then check out my blog post 15 ways to reduce plastic consumption and open your eyes to the dirty secret of where plastic recycling really ends up.  It’s not enough to simply keep buying and recycling single-use plastic.  We need to stop its existence completely to help save the planet.

Food manufacturers need to take responsibility for single-use plastic packaging

Of course we as consumers can start to make changes and reduce the amount of single-use plastic we buy, but it’s quite impossible to totally cut it out.  It’s everywhere.  It’s crazy that it’s almost the end of 2019 and food manufacturers are still allowed to use non-recyclable packaging to wrap their products.

It’s madness.

There are other options available nowadays such as plastic-like material made from plants and compostable packaging.

Many smaller independent companies are trying their best to wrap their food products more ethically and sustainably, but these sorts of items come at a high price to the consumer and many people can’t afford to shop these brands.  This makes many consumers almost forced to have to buy the products with excessive single-use packaging as it’s what they can afford.

Many multi-buys, such as baked beans, are wrapped in plastic packaging and more cost-effective when larger quantities are purchased.  Again, making people have to buy those wrapped in the plastic to get more for their money and be able to afford to feed their families.

It’s not right.

Large food companies should be forced to change their ways and adopt compostable plant based packaging by law or 100% recyclable packaging at the very least.  They should lead by example and if they can’t do that then packaging laws need to be enforced.

The Midcounties Co-operative is working to reduce single-use plastics

Thankfully many companies are beginning to take steps to change their single-use plastic habits with an aim to eliminate many in-store items by 2020.  The Midcounties Co-operative has set the following objectives to reduce single-use plastics:

•             Reduce the overall waste that it produces through its operations by 20% by 2022, whilst maintaining a 99% recycling rate

•             Eliminate all single use cups from in store coffee areas directly operated, providing a re-usable cup option by 2020 

•             Eliminate single-use plastic straws, and cutlery from its Food Stores by 2020  

•             Replace single use plastic bags with compostable bags    

•             Enable customers to bring their own containers for products from its meat and delicatessen counters in all premium supermarkets with this facility by 2020 

•             Replace all single-use plastic produce bags with a more environmentally-friendly alternative  across premium supermarkets by 2020 

It’s great to see that companies are taking action and implementing solutions to combat the problem of single-use plastic.

Take part in the 1Change in 1Minute campaign

Time is not a barrier when it comes to reducing single-use plastic, so get creative and join in with the 1Change in 1Minute campaign.  Think outside the box or research my plastic articles to find a way you can start reducing plastic pollution today too!

Visit the campaign page here to pledge what you can do to make 1Change in 1Minute!  Click here:

Spread the good word and share how you’ve made 1Change in 1Minute by using the hashtags #60secondstosavetheworld and #1Changein1Minute on social media.

You too can make a difference in as little as 60 seconds a day!