The harmful effects of our plastic usage have been widely reported in the media this year. Shocking images of marine life living in oceans polluted by the 8 million tonnes of plastic that end up there each year have gone viral across the internet. But what can you do to help? Read on for how, in just one day, you can make a few small changes which could really make a difference. Have you got some suggestions for us? Let us know in the comments below.
07:00AM IN THE BATHROOM
Give plastic toothbrushes the brush off!
According to statistics, the average person will use over 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime, so it’s scary to think that plastic toothbrushes never biodegrade and stay in the environment forever. Make the switch to a bamboo toothbrush, the handles biodegrade in around 6 months.
Avoid products containing microbeads
Now banned in the UK since July 2018, but check your bathroom cupboards for any products containing plastic microbeads. Millions of these little beads have been washed down our drains and pose a threat to marine life who mistake the little beads for food.
Reduce packaging waste on your healthcare products
More and more products are on the market now which avoid or reduce the use of plastic packaging. Shampoo bars instead of bottled to good old fashioned bars of soap; with a little bit of research you can find eco-friendly swaps for most of the products you use each day, or check out brands where you can return the packaging to store to be recycled.
08:30AM MORNING CAFFEINE FIX
Bring a reusable cup
Over 7 million coffee cups are thrown away each day in the UK alone! But don’t worry, you don’t have to go without your daily caffeine fix; most cafés and coffee shops will be happy to put your drink in your own cup and many will even give you a discount for doing so.
Use a milkman
Could your home or workplace join the 4% of the population who get their milk delivered by a milkman? Milk is delivered in glass bottles which are reused and recycled.
10:00AM STAYING HYDRATED
Bring a bottle!
Have a reusable refillable water bottle on you whenever you’re out and about. A single person who stops buying single use plastic water bottles can save as many as 170 bottles being produced each year. Sadly, lids from plastic bottles often end up in the stomachs of seabirds.
Bring a reusable shopping bag
Popping to the shops for supplies? Don’t forget to take a bag with you and you’ll be saving 5p as well as the environment.
Say no to disposable cutlery
Grabbing lunch on the go? Often you’ll be handed a plastic knife and fork. Say no, and keep a metal cutlery set at work.
Ditch the cling film
Go without and pack your lunch in reusable containers. If you do need an alternative to cling film, foil is a better option as it’s recyclable. There are also new products on the market, such as beeswax wraps, which are reusable and recyclable.
If gum is your go-to when you want a post-lunch freshen up, you might be surprised to learn (like we were!) that chewing gum is actually plastic. Food store, Iceland, commissioned a survey earlier this year and 85% of the 2,000 people they asked were unaware that most regular gum contains plastic. Check the ingredients and look for natural alternatives.
20:00PM AFTER WORK DRINKS
Say no to plastic straws! Many bars have made the switch to paper straws, or if you really can’t go without, then buy a reusable straw and take it with you.
Choose your wine carefully
Opt for a wine bottle with a natural cork instead of a rubber stopper or metal screw lids which apparently contain BPA (a chemical used to make plastic).