Helping You Reduce Your Plastic & Consumables Waste
Since BBCs Blue Planet 2 highlighted the devastation that our plastic pollution can have, many people are asking what they can do to reduce their plastic waste. Plastic has become an integrated part of our lives, so much so that most are unaware of how much we use and what we can do to reduce our plastic waste.
Virtually all of the plastic that has ever been made still exists today as it stays in the environment for up to 1,000 years, and we produce around 335 million tonnes of plastic each year - that is roughly the same weight as all of humanity combined! Our reliance on plastic is devastating to the environment with 13 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean each year meaning that there will be more plastic than fish by 2050! A massive 50% of the plastic we use is single use so making simple changes could drastically reduce the amount of plastic pollution we produce.
Here are some tips and recommendations to help you decrease the size of your plastic footprint:
To get you going, a great place to start is to measure the amount of waste you produce. Why not use our free Plastic Calculator to see how you score. This can help you to identify key sources of plastic waste and get you thinking about areas of plastic use that you may not have considered:
Next you can move on to the four R's of plastic reduction:
This is the easiest way to reduce your plastic waste and the area that has received the most media attention. Simply turn down single use plastics when offered, such as:
- Straws - 8.5 million straws are used and thrown out each year in the UK. Reduce your plastic footprint by turning them down when offered or asking for a reusable or biodegradable alternative
- Plastic bags - in the UK we still use over 2 billion single use plastic bags a year. Simply use a bag for life, keeping spares in convenient places so you don't forget, or take larger bags with you so you can save those pennies and refuse the plastic bags.
- Coffee cups - using your own reusable coffee cup can help you reduce the 7 million coffee cups of waste that is produced each day in the UK.
- Plastic cups - wasteful and less pleasant than the reusable alternatives, invest in a reusable water bottle or a work mug instead.
- Single use cutlery and stirrers - like straws, plastic cutlery and stirrers are used and thrown away after one use. Turn them down in favour for reusable or more environmentally friendly alternatives.
After first refusing single use plastics, the next step is to think about the plastics you use everyday and the ways in which to reduce the amount you use. Here are some tips:
Biodegradable Cotton Buds - Plastic cotton buds are one of the top ten forms of beach litter and pollute the ocean as they are commonly incorrectly flushed down the toilet. Biodegradable alternatives help you further reduce your plastic waste and to protect marine wildlife.
There are many innovative ways in which you can reuse any plastics you simply can't avoid. We have put together some highlights below:
- Save old toothbrushes and use to scrub and wash your bathroom
- Empty toothpaste tubes can be re-purposed as a frosting tube for icing cakes, by cutting off the end
- Use empty plastic milk cartoons and margarine containers as storage around the house, plant pots/ saucers, bird feeders or even a watering can!
- Choose more durable goods over disposable ones, such as razors
- Reuse the plastic bag packaging you get from bread or fruit and vegetables as sandwich bags or to hold your food waste
Recycling should be part of our everyday lives. Most of us have household recycling collections provided by local councils, or make recycling part of our weekly shop at the local supermarket recycling points. Here are a few handy tips to think about when recycling:
Work out your plastic footprint using our Plastic Calculator
Also, check out our Weekly Tips to see how you can reduce your wider environmental footprint. Each week we provide 2 easy suggestions on how you to reduce your carbon and environmental impact to help you gently transition to a more sustainable lifestyle.
For More Information:
There are many great websites and articles on plastics and recycling, see below for some of our favourites: