We all saw it on Blue Planet 2. We heard scientist’s warnings on the radio. We read the environment secretary’s realisation this was a thing in the newspaper. But still, we wonder when this all might sink in; our use of plastic is way out of hand. And while we can’t trust our leaders to do anything significant to arrest this – piss up and brewery spring to mind – and in fact, because of this; it’s up to us, the little guy, to make a big difference. ‘But it’s just a drop in the ocean’, we hear you say. Indeed, but an ocean soon to be empty of existence. So, every little helps. With that in mind and with social responsibility coursing through our veins, here are 5 IDEAL ways to reduce your everyday plastic use.
BID SAYONARA TO STRAWS
Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the U.S. Let that sink in.
The automatic addition of straws to drinks in a bar or restaurant, or a coffee (who drinks coffee through a straw?!) is a ridiculous, unnecessary cause of landfill and ocean pollutant, and one so simply remedied. Simply rejecting the straw is a start, and if done enough and with vigour, the hope is that establishments will catch on and stop this. The ball is already rolling, and the ‘refuse the straws’ movement is gathering pace. Keep it moving with just three simple words.
TAKE A RUCKSACK TO THE SHOPS
This one will help your back too. The 5p charge for plastic bags has sparked a much needed change in the national consciousness – we’ve all felt a certain guilt when requesting one – but go a step further by eliminating the use of plastic bags from your supermarket trips altogether. Simply take a heavy duty rucksack (or even a wheelie suitcase) and pack with pleasure. It’s easier to carry and better for the environment – what’s not to love?
BOYCOTT PLASTIC PACKAGING ON SANDWICHES
The sandwich is Britain’s lunchtime (and breakfast, and dinner) staple. It comes in so many forms, shapes and sizes, and as such, so does its shell. The problem is, this packaging layer is so often plastic and so often finds itself in the ocean. A simple way to get yourself heard is to boycott any product using plastic packaging and opt for something recyclable and green. Market trends of food to go packaging point to a shift towards more sustainable solutions and a current charity push is keeping the momentum going. It’s important that consumers vote with their wallets too, on this one.
ONE WATER BOTTLE, ONE PERSON
Eliminating the use of plastic bottles, full stop, is one of utmost importance. If each responsible citizen owned a reusable, refillable water bottle, and water was available ‘on tap’, as it were, then there would be no need for single use plastic bottles. If changing the habitual behaviour of the world seems too much to ask, significant tax on the offending item could earn serious money which could be invested into waste reduction. It would then be the job of the government to invest wisely – unfortunately, we’re not sure they’re to be trusted in doing this. Plastic bottle return schemes are another viable, valid option.
BUY IN BULK
Isn’t it annoying when every item in the supermarket is individually wrapped, and double wrapped, tightly in plastic? Doing your shop weekly, and in bulk, will go some way to reducing this supermarket behaviour, the same goes with home projects – buying in bulk from places like Simply Plastic can save the planet.
The hashtag #chefsagainstplastic has recently been gaining traction, with top chefs like Angela Hartnett getting behind the cause. Again, if we’re vocal about this unsustainable practice, and make our voices heard through purchasing power, then real change can happen.