Plastic pollution has become one of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns. The past hundred years have seen a tremendous surge in the production and use of plastics in everyday life. Its cost-effectiveness, versatility, and strength have led to its ubiquitous adoption— we use it for pretty much everything.
Unfortunately, plastic is one of those materials the earth just can’t digest. This means tonnes upon tonnes of the plastic we use each year ends up in the ground, oceans or air.
Avoiding plastics all together can present a significant challenge, but even a few small changes can make a huge difference. Here are five ways to move towards a plastic-free life.
Say No to Plastic Water Bottles
Carry a reusable bottle instead. According to Greenpeace, we use over 35 million plastic bottles every day in the United Kingdom alone. Not only will ditching the plastic bottle for a more earth friendly alternative cut down on the amount of plastic you use, it will also save you money as well. Remember: it takes 450 years for one plastic bottle to break down in the ocean or a landfill.
Bring a Cloth Bag to the Supermarket
This is another simple swap that can make a huge impact. Even with the added fee stores now charge, we still use billions of plastic bags a year. Unfortunately, many of these bags end up in the ocean to the detriment of wildlife and the environment. Simply pop a few cloth reusable ones in your bag or car so you always have them with you when you need them. Easy as that.
Pass on Plastic Straws
Straws are generally totally unnecessary. The next time you order a drink, stop and think about whether you actually really need one. If you find the answer really is yes, opt for a paper straw (or for the straw enthusiasts among us— invest in a reusable steel straw).
Keep an Eye on Food Packaging
Where possible, purchase fruits and vegetables loose and place in a cloth bag you’ve brought from home. If your supermarket doesn’t offer this as an option, consider finding a different place to shop. Not only will you be cutting down on the amount of plastic you are consuming, you will also probably find food that isn’t prepackaged to be less expensive. Win-win.
Pack your Lunch
Packing your lunch in reusable containers has a number of benefits. You will probably save money, think more about making healthy choices and you can swap standing in line at the shop for a bit more free time on your break. In addition to all of these definite plus points, you can avoid the excessive plastic packaging that tends to be involved in take-away options.
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but hopefully by making these relatively small changes to your daily routine, you will be on your way to a plastic-free life.