It seems over the last few months that some form of small miracle has occurred – people outside of the category labelled “environmental nerd” have started talking about plastic. And doing something about it.
However, the problem is still VERY MUCH THERE. Just last week I went to a large supermarket to stock up on a few things, including some fruit and veg. Thankfully the larger stores have now started to provide their fruit and veg loose, meaning the only packaging is larger scale crates rather than individual packs… baby steps. This means I feel slightly better about buying my groceries there if I’m doing a big shop but upon taking some loose fruit and veg to the till point I was sulkily asked by the cashier why I hadn’t “bothered to bag them”. I took great pleasure in telling her that it wasn’t that I “hadn’t bothered” but that it was because I didn’t see the need, and I didn’t want, to use the plastic. She looked at me as if I was mad. I am not.
I know that for many convenience makes it hard to reduce plastic, but if there’s just a few of us doing a few things, the reduction in use will count for something. Here’s 5 ways you can reduce your plastic consumption and it’s subsequent release into the sea!
1. The obvious – switch plastic bottles for re-usable bottles, make a point of asking cafes and restaurants to re-fill your bottle for you, note that anywhere that serves alcohol has to provide customers with free tap water.
2. Slightly trickier as people can be weird about it, but refuse plastic wherever possible – as above, take your own bags or go without when grocery shopping, say no to straws and plastic cutlery – maybe take your own, take your own coffee cup to cafes, take your own food containers for take out or doggy bags.
3. Be a recycling queen – again laziness is a big factor with recycling, but many also lack the knowledge of what can and can’t be recycled particularly with so many different types of plastic. The symbols on the packaging should help you out but brush up on typical items you use at home, make some changes if a lot turns out to be non-recyclable and make a little extra effort to check everything carefully – separating card and plastic from one item for example, irritating but important.
4. I don’t know about you, but over the last year we’ve had some pretty crazy windy weather conditions going on in London, this winter-spring period brought some miserable days with some very strong winds. This doesn’t just ruin your hair, land you in countless Marilyn moments, it also blows rubbish from over-filled bins EVERYWHERE. So, if you own a rubbish bin, pop a lid on to stop plastic, and other rubbish, escaping.
5. Not the cleanest way to reduce plastic pollution but if you can, do a little to tidy up, picking up rubbish of the pavement, road, parks and natural landscapes all stops plastic ending up in the ocean. OR, if you’re a super keen litter picker, get involved in some of the bigger organised clean-ups in your local area, or particularly those on the coast.