With a fourfold increase in usage from 5 years ago, it is no secret that our use of plastic is becoming a global problem. With more than 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the world’s oceans each year, single use items, micro-plastics and pollution threaten the lives of marine life.
The realistic destruction that plastic is causing to the planet is all too apparent in David Attenborough’s docuseries Blue Planet II, in which mother dolphins potentially expose their new-born calves to pollutants through their contaminated milk while albatross parents are seen unknowingly feeding their chicks plastic.
Although it is arguable that much of the responsibility should lie with manufacturers as well as policymakers, there are steps that we can all take daily that can help with the reduction of plastic use.
Our top 5 easy ways to help reduce plastic are:
1. Use a reusable thermal cup
If you are like me then a nice take away coffee is always appreciated, however when you begin to add up the amount of plastic that a daily take away cup of coffee it can be quite scary. Then multiply that by millions of other consumers who are out for their caffeine fix from their local barista. The daily use of throw away plastic is phenomenal but by using a reusable cup, a good dent would be made in the plastic polluting our oceans. Some coffee shops even offer an incentive for those with a reusable cup.
2. Prefer H2O over caffeine, then consider a reusable drinks bottle
It is estimated that approximately 13 billion plastic bottles are used in the UK each year, and although many of them are recyclable many of them still end up in the landfill sites, and sadly in our oceans. With a huge range of reusable bottles available, in a range of designs and to suit all budgets, you can not only help fight against single use plastics but also save yourself some money.
3. A bag for life
Although it is sometimes difficult to remember your bag for life – especially if you only meant to pop into the shop for one thing but came out with a trolley load – the impact that reusable bags can have on our single use of plastics is huge. The plastic bag levy has already helped to reduce our use of single use bags however there is still A LOT more to be done.
4. Plastic straws are a no go
They might be slight in size, but plastic straws are another major area of problem within the single use plastics. If you like to use a straw there are alternatives to plastic available, for example why not try a bamboo, glass or even a metal straw which are reusable or a paper straw which can be discarded but will also decompose.
5. Swap the film for the foil
For food storage purposes, swapping cling film for tin foil can help reduce the amount of plastic you use of a daily basis. Most foil can be used more than once and once you are finished with it then recycle it.