In today’s world, we are often shown pretty horrendous images on the news, in documentaries and on social media. Most recently, those appalling images of creatures in the ocean being harmed by ubiquitous plastic. We are so bombarded with images and information of all kinds, that unfortunately it’s easy to become inured to it all.
As Sir David Attenborough points out ““Since its invention some 100 years ago, plastic has become an integral part of our daily lives, but every year some eight million tons of it ends up in the ocean, and there it can be lethal. Once in the ocean, plastic breaks down into tiny fragments, micro plastics. Along with all industrial chemicals which have drained into the ocean these form a potentially toxic soup. Industrial pollution and the discarding of plastic waste must be tackled for the sake of all life in the ocean. Surely we have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.”
Friends of the Earth have published some vital facts that we should be aware of:
Only 9% of all plastic waste has ever been recycled
100,000 tiny bits of plastic could end up in the ocean with each shower we take, depending on the products we use
1 million bottles are bought worldwide every minute and, on the plus side
9 billion fewer plastic bags have been used in England since the 5p charge.
OK, so here are 12 simple ways you can reduce your plastic usage:
Use a veg box scheme – fresh, seasonal, organic vegetables delivered to your door without any plastic wrapping. Alternatively opt for unwrapped produce, where possible, in your local supermarket.
Get a tea infuser – surprisingly, the majority of tea bags in the UK contain a very thin layer of polypropylene.
Buy a reusable coffee cup – despite the impression that some big coffee chains give us, very few coffee cups are recycled.
Use Amazon Prime? Opt for Frustration Free packaging which can be ordered with over 200k products. Mainly cardboard, it’s easy to recycle and costs less than standard delivery options.
Refuse to use straws – we can manage without them. Just say no when offered one in a bar or a cafe.
Cotton buds – next time you need to re-stock, buy organic cotton buds / Q tips with 100% biodegradable card sticks.
Plastic free loo paper – Who Gives A Crap is made from 100% recycled materials and plastic-free packaging. The company donates 50% of profits to help build toilets for people in need of better sanitation.
Steer clear of liquid shower gels and handwash – use longer lasting bars of natural soap
Avoid polyester – I’ve seen so many dresses and tops made of polyester recently. Unfortunately thousands of microfibres are shed every time they are washed.
Swap detergent pods – buy powdered cleaners in cardboard packaging.
Buying fresh meat and fish from your supermarket? Take your own containers instead of taking your purchases home in plastic bags.
Reduce your use of cleaning chemicals – try e-cloths or Nano towels which clean efficiently using only water.
Read more about reducing plastic in our oceans here