Conquering the Plastic Pollution Crisis; Living Plastic Free
As many now know, plastic is bad for the planet and it is very clear that we as a species need to use less of it. It is made from unsustainable materials, such as fossils fuels and minerals, and mined by fracking which is very bad for the environment. One of the biggest issues with plastic is that it does not biodegrade or break down. It may break apart, but this leaves even smaller pieces of plastic that can travel further and have a bigger impact on wildlife and our planet. Even this process can take up to 1,000 years; if they had plastic in William the Conquerors time (1051-1083), we would still be finding large bits now!
There is plastic waste all over the Earth to the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Marinas Trench, but eventually most plastic will find its way into our oceans where it causes the most damage. Scientist estimate that there is currently 150 metric tons of plastic waste in the ocean with this growing all the time. They think that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
50% of all plastic produced is single use and cannot be recycled. The effects this has on sea life is deadly, as many creatures get trapped in it or eat it. It negatively impacts up to 90% of all sea bird species, 100% of all turtle species and countless other marine life. But the impact isn’t just restricted to animals; it is estimated that Brits eat 11,000 microparticles of plastic from consuming fish every year and plastic debris clogs our drains causing flooding all over the world.
While we may not be able to turn back the clocks and clean up all the plastic we previously consumed, we can do something today to help stop it happening in our future.
How can you use less plastic?
There are 2 simple ways that we can help with the plastic crisis our planet is currently facing. Buy less plastic and recycle what we do use. Although these things are not always easy given the current way manufacturers spurt out plastic like it’s not harming the planet or killing innocent animals. You can also help by joining in on plastic clean-ups.
Here are our top 20 ways to reduce your plastic use
1. Reduce the amount you buy, especially one-time use plastics such as the films on blueberries or plastic knives and forks. Be conscious of how food is wrapped, especially ready meals or frozen goods and try to buy loose vegetables (you can wash them!) or bread wrapped in a paper bag and use canvas bags for shopping
2. Don’t use bottled water – buy a metal bottle and reuse it – and cut out fizzy drinks and other beverages that come in plastic bottles
3. Don’t buy take-outs or carry your own Tupperware for snacks – even better if you can get metal or glass ones. You could even use these in a supermarket by using a True Foods or similar
4. Use your own travel mug at coffee shops
5. Refuse straws or use paper ones
6. Get milk from the milk man as these come in glass bottles
7. Buy wine with a cork
8. Use baking soda, vinegar and water to clean with. They kill as many germs as bleach and are good for the environment. Baking soda can be used as a replacement washing up liquid
9. Buy washing powder in a cardboard box
10. Use natural cleaning cloths and scrubbers instead of plastic scrubbers and synthetic sponges. The rougher side of sponges is actually plastic
11. Use bars of soap and not liquid body wash gels
12. Buy a bamboo toothbrush and hairbrush
13. Make more food yourself with fresh ingredients
14. Take care of what you already own, repairing things when they break instead of just replacing them
15. Compost your food waste and use in your garden
16. Choose children and pet’s toys made from wood and cloth, not plastic
17. Buy things second hand or from charity shops
18. Make sure you check out the materials used on your new clothes – many have hidden plastic on them like in shoes or jackets
19. Avoid wrapping paper – use brown paper or newspapers
20. Refuse mailing lists and try to keep as much as possible online to reduce post
If you only do one thing, try to avoid the WORST plastics in your everyday life;
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – causes many environmental issues and dangers for humans
Polystyrene – styrene is toxic
Polycarbonate – can be toxic
Together we CAN make a difference.