A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has shown that the amount of plastic thrown away by Britons is set to rise by a fifth by 2030 unless we all pledge to curb our plastic waste.
We are all polluting our planet and suffocating our oceans, and this, in turn, is having a catastrophic effect on wildlife. According to the WWF, this year alone the UK will throw away 10.8 million wet wipes, 16.5 billion pieces of plastic cutlery and 4.1 billion single-use drinks cups and lids. What’s more, the UK is set to throw away over a million tonnes of plastic by 2030, that’s the equivalent of 87,000 more double-decker buses worth of plastic waste every year.
Living without plastic is practically impossible as it’s so prolific in our lives. However, you don’t need to replace all plastic immediately – it’s simply not realistic. However, we can make changes in our lives to work towards using as little plastic as possible.
Here are some tips:
Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping.
Visit your local market for fruit and veg, your butcher or fishmonger for meat and fish and a bakery for your bread and cakes. If you do continue to buy from a supermarket, take your own reusable bags to put loose fruit and veg into. In addition, when buying deli meats and cheeses, take your own container.
Buy non-perishable goods in bulk – for example, if you need washing powder, you’ll not only save money but the amount of packaging will be reduced when buying a larger ‘family’ size.
Use bar soap instead of liquid, and there are now some new solid shampoo bars coming onto the market.
Buy milk in glass bottles that can be recycled – you can usually do this through an independent local dairy or local shop. Even better, they will deliver!
Buy beer and spirits in glass bottles.
Buy wine in glass bottles with natural corks.
Use reusable containers and utensils when taking food to work and avoid using cling film or aluminum foil to wrap sandwiches.
Start using a reusable cup for your hot drinks when you’re out and about.
Take a reusable drinks bottle made from stainless steel or glass, rather than buying bottled water.
Cut out frozen meals, as these come in plastic containers as well as cardboard packaging.
Find out if food boxes that come with much less packaging and loose vegetables and ingredients are something you would benefit from – look at companies such as Gousto, Mindful Chef or Hello Fresh!
Don’t use disposable plastic straws, look for reusable alternatives.
Compost your food waste, eliminating the need for bin bags. There are several ways to do this, for example, the Bokashi Bin. This means that once you recycle your plastic, tins, glass and paper products there will be very little left for landfill.
Instead of buying detergent, when you run out consider homemade alternatives. For example, a water and vinegar solution is great for glass, stainless steel, tiles, and granite for a streak-free clean and clove oil removes mold.
When replacing your mops, dustpan and brush and cleaning utensils look for wood and metal alternatives.
Replace plastic ice trays with stainless steel.
Buy glass containers for food.
Look for natural fibre clothes and shoes, such as cotton and bamboo.
Buy bamboo, wool or wool mix carpets and rugs or look for carpet made from recycled material. Choose real wood or bamboo flooring rather than vinyl or laminate if possible.
Instead of disposable nappies, look at reusable alternatives and instead of wet wipes use water and a cloth or cotton wool whilst at home.
Use a razor with removable blades.
Put a ‘No Junk Mail’ notice on your door.
Switch to paperless billing.
Remember, there’s no need to go out and throw away all your plastic! This will end up as landfill and harm the environment. The key is to not purchase any new plastic products, and find replacements as suggested in these tips and over time you’ll find that you are using less plastic than ever before.
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