How to use Less Plastic
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 6-months, you will have noticed the increased focus on plastic recycling. Globally, governments are beginning to take notice of the longstanding and plastic problems in front of them. Media outlets have also begun emphasising the problem, take for example the BBC miniseries on the topic and special reports covering the knock-on effects of plastic waste. While government initiatives have a major role in finding a solution to the problem, it's not enough to assume it will be handled solely by those in large rooms.
The increased exposure for the plastic conundrum has benefits for the wider public in the form of education. Now, more than ever, people understand the negative results of poorly managed plastic and begin making changes to how they address this problem. At ReGen Waste we have been improving plastic management and recycling for a number of years and we want you to help. With this in mind, we have compiled 5 simple tips to help you divorce plastic waste and better manage your relationship with the material.
1) The last straw
Much has been made this year of the coffee cup levy and how reducing the number of single-use cups we use will decrease the amount of plastic waste. Straws result in an increased volume of landfill waste plus they can have devastating effects on wildlife. Straws are very often made from non-recyclable plastic and are in the top five most common items found at coastal clean-ups.
By not lifting a straw you are already taking positive action against plastic. If you are hosting or have small children at home and feel you need them, be sure to buy biodegradable straws, which are increasingly common online.
2) In the bag
A few years ago the European-wide plastic bag tax was rolled out and immediately the amount of bags used were reduced. There is no doubt that this has been a major positive and has deterred a lot of people from constantly using and binning bags, but it's time to step it up a gear. By now you should have plastic bags in your home and car but now and then get lazy and simply buy more for our mini-stockpile. Firstly, you can return these bags to major supermarkets for incentives or send some directly to recycling.
At ReGen we use sophisticated separation techniques to maximise plastic recycling, but we accept you may not have such tech in your shed. So, why not replace your bags with canvas, cotton or zip fresh bags, see some great options here.
3) Water carrier
While the water cooler in your workplace may be a cool place to hang out, it's having a negative effect on the outside environment. Disposable cups are seldom recycled with recycling rates at a mere 0.25% and over 2.5bn of the cups are used annually in the UK. With this in mind, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle/cup, the difference is incredible.
Aside from eco-benefits, you could also be improving your health as a recent survey found a staggering 89%of people in the UK do not drink enough water.
4) Go solo, don't wrap.
If you had never seen fruit and veg in nature, you would be easily convinced that it has no exterior protection. Why? Well, in supermarkets rugged fruits and veg like bananas and potatoes are wrapped, even double wrapped, in plastic film and bags. The practice has become so normal we sometimes need the lunacy of it pointed out, like in this spectacular tweet. You can drastically reduce your plastic usage and potentially your food bill by buying loose fruit and veg.
This practice can be continued at home, where you could store food in glass jars or reusable containers instead of relying on cling film.
5) Hit the bar
When you clean your home, you probably note the vast amount of plastic involved in the whole process. The various cleaning products are stored in plastic containers, what you throw out is plastic and the bags you use for rubbish are of course...plastic. Eliminate the need for multiple plastic cleaning containers by buying in bulk and keeping the small containers for spraying and convenience.
Another great tip is to opt for organic bars of soaps and shampoos as opposed buying a myriad of plastic containers. Finding organic products online is easy, plus these products can help reduce your wider carbon footprint.