Simple Things you can do to Reduce your Plastic Pollution Footprint
The World’s plastic pollution problem has become a source for global concern over the past few years. Of the 6 billions tonnes of plastic that has been produced since the 1950s, only around 9% is recycled. This means there is a phenomenal amount of plastic and waste in general that escapes our waste management systems and ends up polluting our planet. Every year approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans and result in harming wildlife and wild animals. It is imperative that we all do our bit to tackle this and reduce plastic waste.
This guide will aim to help you reduce your plastic waste and stop using single-use plastic in as many situations as possible. There are some very simple things that you can do and changes you can make in your life that will make a difference.
Use your own non-plastic carrier bags
Whilst the 5p plastic bag charge has made a big difference in the amount of carrier bags people use, plastic bags remain a big contributor to the world’s plastic pollution problem.
There is a range of alternatives to single-use plastic bags available made from fabrics such as canvas and natural fibres, so you can avoid plastic altogether. They generally aren’t too expensive either so if you are a regular shopper it shouldn’t be too long until your bag has paid itself off.
Get a Reusable Water Bottle
With a million plastic bottles bought around the world every minute, getting yourself a reusable water bottle is a great way to help prevent one of the biggest contributors towards the world’s plastic problem.
The Water-to-Go bottle is a fantastic replacement for single-use plastic water bottles. In addition to the reusable element of the bottle, it’s replaceable filter cartridge is able to filter out well over 99.9% of microbiological contaminants from any fresh water source. This means no matter the situation you’re in you shouldn’t ever need to revert to single-use plastic water bottles.
Just 75cl Water-to-Go filter will replace 400 single-use plastic water bottles. If we all adotped this principle and changed our mindset on plastic, just think of the difference we could make.
Opt for a reusable coffee cup
Similarly to water bottles, using plastic coffee cups for just one tea or coffee is another very wasteful practice, with 7 million disposable plastic coffee cups used every day in the UK.
A number of the big coffee companies such as Starbucks and Costa have started reusable cup initiatives such as money off your coffee if you bring in a reusable cup as well as starting to make their own reusable cups.
There are plenty of options for reusable coffee cups with many at a very reasonable price. So if you take advantage of the extra money off your coffee with the reusable cup you’ll be able to pay it off in no time.
Avoid plastic cutlery and plastic straws
Plastic Cutlery is something that has become common in many takeaway shops and is just another form of unnecessary single-use plastic. A fairly new concept of portable, reusable cutlery is something that can help in preventing the need for single-use plastic knives and forks.
These generally come as a cutlery set of knife, fork and spoon with a case so that they are easy to carry around. Non-plastic straws are also widely available in a similar fashion to the cutlery sets. You can get these in a range of materials including wood, plastic and metal, although these will need cleaning fairly regularly.
Carry your own food and containers
Carrying your own food rather than buying, for example, a sandwich from a shop can help you reduce the amount of plastic packaging you are buying and inevitably your plastic waste.
By packing your own food in reusable containers you won’t need to buy food packaged in plastic, and your reusable containers will mean you won’t need to throw anything away either.
Plastic-free chewing gum
The majority of chewing gums are made up of a synthetic rubber which in essence is a plastic. In fact, 85% of people in the UK don’t know that these chewing gums contain plastic. So when used and thrown away most chewing gums are pretty much a single-use plastic.
So avoiding chewing gum altogether is one way to avoid this form of plastic waste. However, there are a few new companies that have been popping up making natural, biodegradable chewing gums. Iceland has now become the first UK supermarket to stock this form of chewing gum from a brand called ‘Simply Gum’.
Buy in bulk
Unfortunately, in today’s world, there may be times where avoiding single-use plastic is unavoidable. Despite this, there are still ways to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that you buy. One concern is when you buy products, such as clothes online or certain foods, they will always come in plastic packaging. A way to reduce the amount of plastic packaging you’re buying and inevitably throwing away is to buy in bulk.
Often when you buy in bulk you will be able to buy products that come in less plastic packaging than they would have if they were to be bought individually. In the case of online clothing, a lot of retailers will put more than one item of clothing in the same plastic packaging, meaning buying lots of pieces of clothing in one order will reduce the amount of plastic packaging they will send out and in turn the amount of plastic waste you are throwing away.
Keep watching for new anti-plastic initiatives
As people and companies become more aware of the world’s plastic waste problem, companies are starting to take action with new plastic-free products, such as the ones we’ve already discussed in this blog. So make sure you’re keeping an eye out for new ways to reduce your plastic footprint.
You can also get involved with non-profit organisations and initiatives which are helping to combat the plastic pollution problem. Incredible Oceans is a fantastic example of a not-for-profit organisation that are helping protect our oceans from plastic pollution. They run education programmes, events and festivals using charismatic marine creatures to tell critical ocean stories in engaging and entertaining ways.
These changes may seem small but if we all change our mindset around plastic, we can all make a huge difference and preserve the future of our planet. Join us on the Water-to-Go journey and together we will change the world, one bottle at a time.