As we all know, plastics have been around for a very long time and they have many benefits such as being low cost, durable and water resistant. However, we are now seeing the negative effects of plastics on the planet. Plastics are around us and we use them in everyday life, sometimes without thinking about the impact that they have on the planet.
We all have a responsibility to look after our planet, not just for us but for our children and future generations. In our oceans, sea birds and turtles mistake plastics for food, which is devastating sea life. Of the 260 million tonnes of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent actually ends up in the ocean, and this is figure is rising year by year.
One million plastic bottles are bought worldwide every minute (20,000 per second). We need to try to do all that we can, like recycling wherever possible and reducing the number of plastic bottles we buy from day to day. There are a few tips that we can use to help us reduce the number of plastics which we are using on a daily basis.
1. Carry a reusable bottle
In the UK we use over 35 million plastic bottles every day! Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money too!
2. Say no to plastic straws
Plastic straws are bad news for our oceans. Next time you order a drink, think about whether you need a straw – and if you don’t, just say no! You can also ask your local pub to stop adding straws to drinks as standard and offer paper straws to those who want one.
3. Take a reusable coffee cup to work
2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK – and less than 1 in 400 are recycled. Carry a reusable cup with you – some cafes even offer a small discount if you use your own cup (and if they don’t ask them why not!)
4. Avoid excessive food packaging
Whether it’s making different choices in the supermarket or choosing a different place to shop, we can all try and cut down the plastic we buy. And as an added bonus, loose fruit and veg are often cheaper than pre-packaged alternatives!
5. Use refill stations for detergents
There are some products where it’s difficult to avoid a plastic container (for example washing up liquid or laundry liquid) – the good news is that there are an increasing amount of places where you can refill your old bottles.
6. Say no to disposable cutlery
We’ve all been there – caught out in a cafe or at a train station when we’ve bought a salad or a yogurt but the only cutlery on offer is plastic! Whilst it’s hard to plan for every opportunity, consider carrying a spoon or fork in your bag or keeping cutlery in your desk at work.
7. Carry a shopping bag
Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, there’s been a massive 85% drop in their use. Many of us are used to carrying an extra bag with us – if you still find it hard to remember, try a foldaway one that you can carry in your normal day bag.
Making just a few small changes can have a big impact on the amount of plastic we use on a day-to-day basis.