We’ve all heard about the huge environmental problems caused by single-use plastics. In fact, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year, killing and harming marine life. Governments and corporations around the world have a responsibility to take action on a wider scale, but what can we do to cut down our own personal plastic footprints? Here are some easy ways to reduce plastic use in your every day life.
10 easy ways to reduce plastic use in day-to-day life
1. Carry a reusable bottle
Did you know that in the UK we use over 35 million plastic bottles each day. They often get thrown in the bin and end up on a landfill site or littered – it’s no wonder they are one of the most frequently found items on beach cleans around the world. Choosing to carry a reusable water bottle instead is a great way to cut your plastic use, and save money too! There’s even an app that tells you where you can refill your bottle for free!
2. Say no to plastic straws
Everyone knows that plastic straws are a death sentence for the wildlife in our oceans. Next time you order a drink and consider asking for a straw, think about whether you actually need one. If a waiter brings you a straw, it’s easy to say “no, thank you”, as plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose.
If you want to start a movement in your local area, why don’t you ask your local pub, bar or restaurant to stop adding straws to drinks as standard and offer paper straws to those who want one. Alternatively, if you cannot live without straws, opt for a reusable metal option that you can wash after each use.
3. Buy a reusable coffee cup
A staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK, which equates to 7 million a day! What’s more, less than 1 in 400 are recycled, resulting in a substantial amount sitting in landfill for around 50 years. To halt this unnecessary plastic usage, it’s a good idea to always carry a reusable cup with you at all times. To encourage customers to bring their own cups, many cafes offer a small discount if you use your own cup!
4. Avoid excessive food packaging
Whether it’s making different choices in the supermarket or choosing a different place to shop, this is just one of the ways we can reduce plastic in our everyday lives – this may include plastic containers, wrapping and cling film, too. It always seems like the “better option” to buy packaged items, but did you know that loose fruit and vegetables are often considerably cheaper than pre-packaged alternatives?
Making these small, simple eco-conscious decisions whilst shopping can make a big difference to your plastic footprint and can help to reduce plastic pollution.
5. Use refill stations
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
In some instances where it is difficult to avoid plastic waste, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several different places in each town and city where you are able to refill your products. Not only does this cut down on plastic use, but it’s also cheaper too. If you want to find your nearest refill station, there’s an app that tells you just that!
6. Avoid disposable plastic cutlery
Even though we know that it’s hard to plan for every eventuality, you may want to consider carrying a spoon or fork (or even a spork) in your bag, or keeping cutlery in your desk at work. This simple step can prevent you having to use disposable plastic cutlery when buying food from a shop, or from a takeaway restaurant, as we only use disposable cutlery for 3 minutes, on average, before they are thrown in the bin.
7. Get your milk delivered
Milkmen doing the rounds aren’t as common as they used to be, but they have seen a surge in demand lately due to the increase in awareness of plastic waste. If you are interested in ordering from your local milkround, there are lots of places in the UK where you can get fresh milk delivered in glass bottles, which are then collected and reused. Find your nearest milkman via findmeamilkman.net.
8. Avoid glitter
Many people are unaware that litter is made from plastic of such a small size it’s lethal to our ocean, as well as having a knock-on effect on our own health too. This is because the microplastic glitter can end up in our food chain, as marine life like plankton and shellfish can ingest it.
But if you love glitter, don’t worry, there are many guilt-free, eco-friendly biodegradable glitter brands available in the UK that doesn’t pose a risk to our oceans and our health.
9. Carry a shopping bag
Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, there’s been a staggering 85% drop in their use. Many of us are used to carrying an extra bag with us, but if you still find it hard to remember, think about purchasing a foldaway one that you can carry around with you day-to-day.
10. Give up plastic gum
You may not know, but plastic is found in many different items we use everyday, such as chewing gum. Plastic is often found amongst the gum base ingredients, which can pose a danger to the environment. As the UK are the second biggest consumers of gum in the world, chewing an estimated 130 sticks per person each year, imagine how much plastic we pollute each year? According to Just One Ocean, we are responsible for 100,000 tonnes of plastic pollution every year.
As a result, be sure to shop around for alternatives to cut down on plastic waste, such as opting for a plastic-free chewing gum brand that is also 100% vegan and biodegradable.
You may also like: 10 Fun Facts About Chewing Gum
Making a few small changes to your daily life can have a huge impact on the amount of plastic we use on a day-to-day basis. What else do you do the cut your plastic waste?
Feature image credit: PippiLongstocking / Shutterstock