Because oil derived plastics are cheap, plentiful and versatile we use them for just about everything including one use throwaway objects and packaging.
In the UK alone we generate 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, 56% of which is used packaging, three-quarters of which is from households. (waste on line).
Most plastics of course do not biodegrade so plastic trash lasts for a long time possibly for ever. We are creating huge amounts of everlasting rubbish.
Plastic cannot be composted or left to rot like organic rubbish. This means that every bit of plastic rubbish, every sweet wrapper and crisp packet, has to be collected and specially disposed of. It not and it escapes out into the environment, it is there for ever. .Even when it is collected, disposing of it is not easy. Put it in landfill and it just sits there. It can only be incinerated in special facilities.Yes plastic can be recycled but only a small percentage of plastic trash is.
All disposal methods are expensive and come with an environmental cost. None are a solution for the overconsumption of plastic or the creation of everlasting trash. Because no matter how careful, some plastic trash ends up as litter. That is litter with a lifespan or centuries. Not surprisingly plastic pollution is increasing exponentially with disastrous consequences.
Then there are the hormone disruptors leaching into plastic-wrapped food, the powerful carcinogens created during the manufacture of certain plastics and the unknown additives whose toxicity has yet to be assessed.
What with one thing and another cutting the amount of plastic you use can only be good for you and the environment. More on bad plastic here
Here are a few tips to dramatically cut your plastic footprint
Refuse and reduce – say no to
- That extra bag
- Over packaged products
- Bottled water
Replace -with sustainable alternatives
- Natural fibre sweeping brushes
- Cotton pants
- Coconut pan scrubs
Ditch disposables – get with reusables
More than 8bn single use plastic bags given away in UK supermarkets in 2013. The easiest, quickest way to cut your trash is to take your own reusable bag.
Refuse to use those nasty flimsy bags they give you for your fruit and veg? Buy or make some reusable produce bags take them shopping and buy loose food .
Take your own containers
By now you will be ready to take your own reusable containers such as tupperware or tiffin tins to the meat and fish counter. Eek! You may get a refusal but ask to see the manager and politely tell him what you are doing. You are allowed to do this.
Sometimes you need a disposable. You can get compostable plastic deli pots and packaging. They can also be used in the freezer. And yes you can compost them in your own compost bin. Find out more here
Buy unwrapped, unpacked food. You can find shop reviews here plastic free food resource
Plastic Free Milk
The average person in the UK drinks 82 litres, or around 144 pints of milk a year. (source: Dairy UK) More than 80% of liquid milk is now sold by retailers in plastic containers. That a lot of plastic bottles. So get a milkman with returnable, reusable glass bottles – stalk your neighbors looking for empties or check here to see if there’s one in your area.
Ditching Bottled Water
Britain consumes 3bn litres of bottled water per year That’s 13billion plastic bottles.Get yourself a water bottle and fill it with clean, perfectly safe, far cheaper tap water. Check out this fantastic scheme.
This one is so easy. Just say no to plastic straws and use your lips. Or think about getting reusable straws.
Did you know that paper cups are plastic lined? Take your own plastic-less cup to work or the coffee shop.
Get yourself some bicarbonate of soda and use it to clean everything from your dog to your carpet to your teeth. Just don’t use the same brush. Add lemon juice, vinegar and elbow grease.If you prefer a product, Ecover do
a wide range of liquid cleaners and you can get your bottle refilled, (use the post code locator to find your nearest refill store)
Buy Natural Products
When you scrub and clean tiny fibres break off your brush or cloth and get washed down the drain. If they are synthetic they do not biodegrade. Micro plastic pollution is a big cause for concern.Replace synthetic with natural – you can buy lovely plastic-free cotton mops, metal buckets and coconut scrubbers. Wooden brushes with coconut fibres sweep just as well as the plastic kind and you can compost them when done.
You can find the wonderful plastic free products we have sourced over the past few years right here. Organised by category
Did you know there is plastic in your tampons? Not just wrapping them but actually in them? In the UK alone, we buy more than 3 billion menstrual products every year. Thats a lot of plastic trash. You could try a Mooncup, (reusable internal protection), washable pads or Natracare cotton tampons. Read more here
Haircare, fakebake & teeth
For hair use a solid shampoo bar or even soap instead of shampoo. For conditioner use coconut oil on dry hair or a vinegar rinse for oily. Try making your own toothpowder lotions and creams – it’s really easy and they work.
And lots more tips on staying pretty plastic free can be found here….
Inform and educate
- Tell everyone what you are doing
- Check out conscious raising artists
- Go see the film Trashed
- Download educational materials for use in class rooms.
Become a scientist and discover cleaner better plastics like these
Want to reduce more of your plastic rubbish?
You can find the wonderful plastic free products we have sourced over the past few years right here. Organised