We’ve all seen the headlines about the massive health and environmental challenges caused by single-use plastics. Currently we produce almost a billion tons of it every three years and only 9 per cent of plastic is successfully re-processed with most of this surplus ending up in the oceans, causing havoc. As a nature-loving community, we want to encourage all our residents to take action and reduce plastic. Making just a few small changes can have a big impact on the amount of plastic we all use on a daily basis.
Here are our 5 top tips for our residents to help reduce our collective plastic footprint.
1. Carry a canvas bag for shopping
A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. So, why not purchase or make your own cool reusable canvas bag and be on style while eliminating this problem.
Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, there’s been a massive 85% drop in their use. Many of us are used to carrying an extra bag with us so this should be easy. If you find that you keep forgetting it, we suggest you try a foldaway one that you can carry in your normal day bag.
2. Use refill stations for detergents
Some products like washing up and laundry liquid are notoriously difficult to source in anything other than a plastic container. The good news is that there are an increasing amount of places where you can refill your old bottles. You can find out where your closes refill station is using the Zero Waste Home app.
We also suggest you experiment with plastic-free cleaning. For instance, white vinegar diluted one part with three parts warm water makes a cheap, effective natural surface cleaner and avoids the need to purchase plastic cleaning bottles.
3. Reduce plastic by getting a milkman
Yes, you heard right! You will be surprised how many milkmen (and women) are still making the early morning rounds. Instead of buying a plastic pint, there are still lots of places in the UK where you can get milk delivered in glass bottles – which are then collected and reused. You can find your nearest milkman here.
4. Carry a reusable water bottle/ coffee cup
Single-use plastic bottles are easily one of the biggest culprits of this epidemic.
Can you believe that we use on average a million plastic bottles a minute worldwide and most of the time they are not even necessary? Horrifying, right?
Wrong! Because the majority are technically ‘recyclable’, they are a great way to start making a difference straightaway. In the UK we use over 35 million plastic bottles every year! Only 1 in 400 coffee cups are recycled in the UK. So, start carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money too! There’s even an app that tells you where you can refill your bottle for free!
5. Reduce plastic by avoiding excessive food packaging
Whether it’s making different choices in the supermarket or choosing a different way to shop, we can all reduce plastic we buy by just changing our choices. For instance, buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard, which is more easily recycled than plastic. And, the best part is that you can save money by doing so, loose fruit and veg is often cheaper than pre-packaged alternatives!
As the American anthropologist Magaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. So, It’s time to take responsibility.