Plastic is everywhere. From our morning coffee, the packaging around bananas, the tags on clothes to children’s toys. What is truly shocking, however, is that it’s estimated only 9% of all plastic ever created has been recycled.
With a tidal wave of calls to reduce plastic in the past few months, how do we do it when it’s so ubiquitous in our lives?
The EU has put forward a plan to ban plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, cotton buds and balloon sticks which are some of the everyday pieces of plastic that end up as waste. Britain too will be following suit as Michael Gove announced that the UK will adhere to the plan post-Brexit.
The EU has taken swift action. The restrictions on “single-use” plastic will be launched by May 28th. It is the hope of the European Commission that the new restrictions will ensure that 55% of all plastic is recycled by 2030.
Aside from the worries that Britain may not be as committed to a green Brexit as hoped, this legislation is a big step forward in reducing plastic waste.
However, what can you do to reduce plastic waste?
Below, I’ve pulled together a few easy tips to reduce the amount of plastic that you consume.
1. Buy fruits and vegetables that aren’t wrapped in plastic
Frequently, fruit and vegetables are packaged in cellophane and some are even given a polystyrene tray to sit in. This packaging is not necessary and you can avoid it by buying the plastic-free fruits and vegetables on offer in your local supermarket or by opting to have a veg box delivered to your door. Also, buy that ugly vegetable, that misshapen fruit. It tastes just as good as the ‘pretty’ produce. Hey, it’s got a character.
2. Bring your cup!
If you didn’t know, most coffee cups can’t be recycled because of the plastic film inside the cup. Most coffee shops will happily put your drink in your favourite reusable coffee cup. Make your morning mojo that more environmentally-friendly.
3. No straw, thank you
These pesky plastic tubes typically end up in our marine environments. That’s no good for marine life. Ask for your bartender, barista or your cocktail making friend to hold the straw. Or whip out the fancy glass or metal one that you bought to keep up your slurping habit.
4. See it? Pick it up
If you see a bit of plastic, floating in the wind, run over a pick it up and, if you can, recycle it. It’s good cardio, good karma and good for the environment.
5. Compostable bin bags
We generate a lot of food waste as well and often, this ends up in a plastic bin bag. However, you can buy compostable bin bags in any supermarket now to make sure that your food waste isn’t contributing to plastic waste.
6. Can’t avoid plastic? Recycle it!
You can’t always avoid plastic. It has many uses and it’s hugely versatile, so of course, you’ll never be totally free of it. Check before you buy a product with plastic if you can recycle it.
All of these tips are so simple. If you want to reduce your plastic waste even further and are looking for more ideas, I encourage you to look at Beth Terry’s website about living a plastic-free life.
We can all contribute to reducing plastic waste, so start now!