We all know that we use too much plastic these days. It is literally everywhere. You can’t walk down a single supermarket aisle without spotting items wrapped in plastic. Often, these are items that don’t even need wrapping!
Sadly, plastic has become the norm. It is super cheap for manufacturers and retailers while being accepted by mass populations around the world. However, the tide is slowly starting to turn. Both consumers and producers are starting to turn their backs on plastic and in this article, we are going to help you do exactly that. Here are some great tips on how to combat plastic pollution with your everyday actions.
Why Is Plastic Pollution Bad?
We should start by addressing the issues with plastic. So, let’s start with a couple of facts. Worldwide, roughly 375 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year. That’s the equivalent mass of 3,400 Blue Whales or 10-and-a-half Empire State Buildings. When you find out how much of that ends up in a landfill or in the ocean, you’ll be shocked. Compound this with the fact most plastics take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade – even when in the ocean – and you start to see why single-use plastic is becoming such a problem for the world. Arguably, it is the most sincere risk to marine life aside from commercial fishing.
Plastic is in no way good for our planet, then, and since it’s so avoidable, why do we still use it? Well, mostly because it’s become the norm and has become incredibly cheap to make. To change the whole system takes time, money, and commitment. Let’s dive into a few simple ways you can make a little bit of difference in plastic consumption. Believe us, every little bit makes a difference.
Ditch The Straws
One of the biggest campaigns in recent times re plastic has been to try and ditch single-use plastic straws. Every Eco friendly blog campaigned hard and got the message across to the mainstream media and the general public. There is simply no need to use a plastic straw for your drink. Straws are an unnecessary luxury and in no way essential to our need for water. However, if you do enjoy drinking with a straw, there are some alternatives. Try reusable metal straws that can be carried around with you or ask the venue if they have biodegradable bamboo or paper straws.
Bring Your Own Bag
A simple tip that many of us are finally regularly adopting. Bringing our own bags to the supermarket. In 2019, despite many places now charging for plastic or removing it completely, there was still an average of 19 plastic bags used per person in the UK. That’s over a billion plastic bags! Of these, 99% end up in landfill or, again, in our waters. This is a tragedy that is easily avoided. Bringing reusable bags to the store is the simplest way to beat this issue. Get yourself a cool tote bag, string or mesh bag, or even reusable plastic bag. Anything is better than a single-use plastic bag.
Bottle It Up
Another classic product that we have all become so used to and rarely questioned until recently is the plastic drinks bottle. Plastic bottles have their benefits. They can store water or other liquids for an extremely long time. However, they are some huge drawbacks. The fact they can hold liquids this long is because they take hundreds of years to rot. This means that once again, plastic bottles are filling oceans and landfill sites.
It’s easier than ever to avoid this. Getting a reusable water bottle will cost you less than a couple of hours salary. You will notice more and more filtered water stations popping up at convenience stores, gyms, cinemas, and more. Now there is no need for plastic bottles. Water is free and clean, so why buy overpriced bottled water?
Shop Local, Shop Seasonal
Many of us don’t realise that we are buying veg that is not in season in our local area. Sometimes this food has travelled thousands of miles to reach our local store. This not only creates pollution but also creates plastic waste. Food travelling long distance has to be wrapped and protected by… you guessed it… plastic! Food shipments are often double or triple wrapped to protect the food, as well as being individually packaged.
Instead of buying food that has travelled halfway around the world before landing on your plate, shop locally. Pick up food from local farmer’s markets or health food shops where the food has travelled a few miles rather than thousands. If these markets are too expensive for you, which we know can be the case for many, you can still get package-free produce from supermarkets and convenience stores. It may not be as pristine and it may need a wash, but that’s not a bad thing!
Look For Recycle Bins
Ideally, there would be very little single-use plastics in the world. One day we may reach the point where there isn’t much of the stuff left at all. But, for now, it still exists, and we’ll still encounter it. If you do happen upon a plastic bottle, shrink wrap, or another plastic packaging, do your best to recycle it. It’s not ideal as there’s still some wastage and still some environmental impact but it’s certainly a lot better than that plastic being sat at the bottom of the ocean killing wildlife.
Spread The Word
And finally, if you start implementing all these things in your life, get out there and tell people. Let people know how easy it was to make a switch to using less plastic. Tell people how great you feel about it. Give people the facts, figures, and numbers surrounding plastic waste. It really is easy to ditch the plastic – at least to some extent.
Follow these simple rules, tips, and steps to help reduce your own – and the worlds – plastic consumption. When you start to realise just how hassle-free these changes are to make, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner. Ditch the plastic and save the planet!