This week is National Marine Week, organised by The Wildlife Trust, a celebration of all things marine. This article is one of a series of articles looking at marine issues this week (links to other articles below). Plastic in our oceans is a massive issue so we’re taking a look at how you can reduce your use of plastic.
(This article originally appeared on the Meic website on 17/7/20)
Even when plastic is recyclable or compostable it still leaves a huge carbon footprint in its production and it’s recycling – all this for a product you use once. If you want to become more environmentally conscious then we have 6 ways to reduce your use of single use plastic:
Plastic Straws suck!
Do you really NEED that straw to drink your drink? While some people may have genuine reasons for needing to use a straw, most of us do not. Just think how much use that straw gets before it’s chucked away. Is it worth it? Pick up that glass and sip instead of suck, and if you really have to use a straw why not take your own metal or wood one?
Take a reusable bottle or cup
Some coffee shops offer money off if you use your own cup so you save money as well as save the planet – win-win. You can get some really snazzy designs, and can pick them up quite cheaply in the bargain homeware shops.
Carry reusable shopping bags
Another win-win situation where you can avoid the carrier bag charge by bringing your own. Don’t use “oh I forgot to bring one” as an excuse, always carry light foldable ones in your bag or pocket then you’ll never be caught without one. Some shops may provide paper ones, but have you ever been caught in a rain shower with a bag full of stuff in a paper bag? I have – it wasn’t pretty!
Buy fruit and veg loose
It can be cheaper to buy your fruit and veg loose rather than packaged. Supermarkets may offer brown paper bags, you can take your own containers or bags to carry them, or just take them to the till loose.
Refill or buy in bulk
Take containers to zero waste shops to fill with cleaning products and toiletries. Not only are you reducing your use of plastic, if you get nice containers they can look much prettier in your home too. If you don’t have a zero waste shop near you, or you find that you can’t afford to do it like this, then try to buy in bulk instead. While it isn’t ideal, buying in bulk uses less plastic than several small bottles. It’s also usually cheaper to buy products in bulk.
Covid-19 pollution issues
There have been huge issues with discarded masks, gloves and wipes found in the streets, rivers and seas during the Covid-19 pandemic. How can you avoid this? You don’t really need gloves unless you work in health or care services. Using gloves doesn’t stop you touching other surfaces, your face etc. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is the best thing to do. Buy a reusable mask that can be washed (unless you work in health), in the long run it will be cheaper than using disposable ones. You can get some great designs and you’ll be able to match it to your personality and style. The advice is to get a triple layered mask.
Do you accept the challenge of reducing your use of single use plastic? Go for it!