Plastic was first used in 1907 and was a mix of phenol and formaldehyde. Then a boom in plastic production in the 1960s brought it to the forefront and since then consumers have used millions of tonnes of the stuff. Only 44% of the plastic used in the UK is recycled and this falls short of the 50% target set to be reached by 2020.
Whilst many people are beginning to realise the problem and risks plastics pose to the planet, many seem unsure how to go about reducing their use of these plastics.
Here are my short and simple tips that you can start using right away to reduce your single use plastic consumption.
#1 Stop packing your fruit and veg in plastic bags.
I hate those flimsy little plastic bags that supermarkets provide for your fresh produce. There really is absolutely no need for them when there are so many great alternatives. I like to use paper bags for mushrooms and tomatoes but for larger produce such as potatoes I just pop them straight into my basket/trolley and then once I have paid they go into my reusable shopping bag. Remember the fruit and veg you buy, you normally wash it at home before eating and it has its own skin to protect in.
#2 Take your own bottle with you wherever you go.
If you have a water bottle hanging around at home from that time you decided to join the gym and then didn’t, then you have everything you need to help reduce plastic. A staggering 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every MINUTE! That is a lot of plastic that will end up in local landfills and in the ocean. The other plus to using a reusable water bottle is the amount of money you will save. Bottles of water or other drinks can be extremely expensive but you can fill yours for free at most water fountains or at the office. It may even encourage you to drink more water!
#3 Use a container at the fresh fish and meat counter.
As a vegan, this is not something that I have done but I know people who have taken their own containers to the meat counter and asked for the meat to be placed in the container instead of a plastic bag. Morrison’s are currently encouraging their customers to bring their own containers in an effort to cut plastic waste. There are even zero waste shopes beginning to pop up in cities. Checkout this website to see if there is a zero waste shop near you!
#4 Say no to plastic!
Ask for a paper straw or just ask for no straw with your drink. Better still why not invest in some stainless steel straws and carry one or two with you. You can politely decline the plastic bags that are offered at the checkout for your fruit, veg or meat products. If you order a takeaway ask for the little plastic “table” that normally comes with your pizza to be left out of the box.
#5 Try resuable cutlery
Bamboo knives and forks are very in at the moment. As mentioned above stainless steel straws and food containers are easy to chuck in your bag and carry with you wherever you go. Why not also try crockery made from sustainable sources such as these coconut bowls. You could even try making your own coconut bowls with these handy diy instructions.