There are so many items created from single use plastic that we use in our everyday lives. Items such as plastic shopping bags, food packaging, cleaning spray bottles and straws are only used once before being thrown away. Unfortunately, of the approximately 260 million tons of plastic which are produced every year, about 10% ends up as ocean pollution. Eventually around 70% of this plastic in the ocean sinks and causes damage to sea life and the seabed. This article will give you top tips for how to use less plastic, such as opting for reusable alternatives.
What is single use plastic?
Single use plastic, also known as disposable plastic, are products that we use once every day prior to being thrown away or recycled. Products that are made from single use plastic include plastic carrier bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, disposable cups and cutlery. Unfortunately, a lot of these products cannot be recycled and end up in landfills or as ocean pollution.
Five ways to reduce plastic use (and waste) in your home
Here is our simple guide to how to reduce plastic waste in your daily life inside and outside of your home.
- Reuse single use plastic where you can
Try cleaning out plastic containers and reusing what you can. Plastic takeaway containers can be used to store lunches or pre-prepared meals you’re popping in the freezer.
- Recycle plastic containers and bottles
Use warm water and washing up liquid to clean plastic bottles and containers as thoroughly as possible after use. Take a look at the back of the pack to understand if they can be recycled (look for the logo) and then see if your local recycling service accepts this type of material. You should have a guide for your personal recycling bins but can always ask your local recycling centre if you’re unsure.
Need a new vase? Try an upcycled water bottle. Want a creative phone or napkin holder? Cut up a used shampoo or shower gel bottle and get creative with craft paint and other decorative elements. Just remember to take care and look for detailed guidance online if it’s your first crafting project.
We are all aware of the 5p plastic bag charge; an indication that supermarkets too are playing their part in this fight against plastic. Some ways you can reduce single use plastic when shopping include:
- Bring your “bag for life” instead of buying the 5p bags.
- Buy loose fruit and vegetables.
- Invest in reusable cloth bags to carry your fruit and vegetables.
- Buy rice and pasta in bulk.
- Invest in reusable products for your home
Buy reusable items to replace things that would usually end up in your bin.
- Use reusable water bottles for packed lunches.
- Use cloth alternatives for nappies, baby wipes, breast pads, sanitary towels and more.
- Invest in a reusable coffee cup; most coffee stores are happy to fill these.
- Avoid plastic straws by carrying reusable paper ones and shopping at places that offer recyclable alternatives.
We have all seen the headlines and documentaries about how single use plastic is causing problematic ocean pollution. Now you have some key steps to take action and make the effort to reduce your personal plastic footprints and eliminate single use plastic in your own home.