Unscrewing the lid on plastic
Upon starting your day in the 21st century, before you have even finished your morning tea or coffee, it is likely that you’ve already used something that is contained in, or made of, plastic.
Toothpaste, shower gel, packaging from your breakfast or warm beverage… these are just a few possible plastic products you may have encountered in your daily routine so far.
Becoming aware of how much plastic we really use in our day to day life is the first step in helping to reduce it and unwraps the question: is it really necessary?
In a time of great technological advancement there are many ways that we can reduce such misuse of a man made substance that is slowly contaminating our entire planet; including its ecosystems, its natural beauty and its overall well being.
This dangerously destructive disregard was outlined perfectly by none other than the great David Attenborough in Blue Planet 2, in which he showed how overly obsessive our behaviours towards plastic really is and its devastating effects on marine wildlife.
Recycle Now's Plastic Planet campaign aims to encourage people to recycle plastic correctly by further visually depicting the impact to our natural environment - it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean!
Some of our everyday problematic plastic products may be fairly obvious such as water bottles and shopping bags, but what about those pesky plastics that are less obvious or that we may not give a second thought to? Such as:
- Plastic-covered toilet paper
- Plastic hidden in coffee cups
- Shampoo, conditioners and shower gels
- Cling film
- Plastic straws at bars, restaurants and fast food spots
- Plastic-wrapped vegetables at the grocery stores...
You may think, well I’m not obsessed with plastic. However if you take the time to consciously collect together every time you use plastic throughout your week and lay it all out, you will see that there is a problem.
A problem that may not even be worth the hassle...but by understanding the issue we can work toward a solution.
So what is being done?
There have been a range of interesting and engaging initiatives to raise awareness of the plastics problem and find solutions, including:
England introduced a 5p plastic bag charge which saw our use of them in England decline by 85% !
Artists including Ed Sheeran and Beyonce have contributed to Artists Project Earth's "Plastic Oceans Album" with donations utilised to tackle the issue of ocean plastic
Fairy launched a Fairy Oceans Plastic Bottle - made with 100% recycled plastic, including plastic recovered from the Ocean
Supermarkets are pledging to remove plastic from their stores where possible
Environmental lawyers ClientEarth are trying a #plasticfreelent
What can you do?
1. Opt for long-lasting, sustainable alternatives to single-use/unnecessary plastic where practical
Just some ideas:
- Take your reusable bag with you every time you shop!
- Choose the unpackaged fruit and vegetables
- Remember your reusable water bottle and coffee cup when you leave the house
- Say no to plastic straws when eating or drinking out
- If possible, buy food in bulk using your own containers
- Invest in a few good tupperware containers and plan ahead (no more relying on sandwiches on-the-go or ready meals)
2. Understand how to correctly recycle any plastic products that you do utilise.
An average of 16 million plastic bottles are not making their way into the recycling bin and are instead being thrown out EVERY DAY
Recycle Now have created a handy guide to help combat confusion around the topic.
Some companies worth mentioning:
Who Gives A Crap? - recycled toilet paper in cardboard boxes delivered to your door and 50% of their profits are used to build toilets in developing countries!
Chilly's bottles - on a mission to accelerate the adoption and everyday use of reusable products. Their bottles, tumblers and food pots come in a range of colours and are BPA free!