Plastic is a hot topic right now, with an estimated 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes entering the ocean each year from rivers. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge amalgamation of plastic debris floating in the ocean, now covers an area of 1.6 million square kilometres – or three times the size of France.
Even when plastic is disposed of responsibly by the consumer, many countries are struggling to recycle it. Much of America’s “recycled” plastic is not magically transformed into something new and useful but shipped to developing countries where it often ends up as landfill.
So, what do we do with all our waste plastic? The simple solution is to create less of it in the first place. But that’s easier said than done when practically everything you buy is either made of plastic, wrapped in it or both! But it’s a great idea to start somewhere – so we’ve got a few tips on ways to use less plastic.
Take a reusable coffee cup with you
Many cafes will happily put your coffee into your own reusable takeaway cup rather than use a disposable one with a plastic lid.
Say no to cling film
Unlike plastic wrap, aluminium foil is recyclable – if it’s clean. Or you can wrap your food in beeswax wraps, which are reusable, compostable, and look really cool!
Take your own bag
Even in places where single-use plastic bags are banned, heavier ones are often still permitted, but shops will happily put your shopping into your own cloth or jute bag.
Try loose-leaf tea
Did you know most tea bags are sealed with plastic? A good alternative is to use a tea infuser with loose leaf tea. It’s a great opportunity to try all sorts of exotic blends that don’t come in bags!
Shop in bulk bins
A lot of bulk-bin shops encourage you to use your own containers, and you might even find it saves you money because you’re only paying for the product, not the packaging.
Try bars, not bottles
Many liquid soap products like body wash and shampoo and even dish wash come in bar alternatives. Choose brands that are wrapped in waxed paper, not plastic.
These are just a few of the ways that you can start to cut down on the amount of plastic that comes into (and goes out of) your home. If you have any other tips, we’d love to hear them and how you’ve put them into action at your place!