We are often asked about ways of reducing plastic. So we’re delighted to welcome a guest blogger Kate, creator of the Plastic is Rubbish website, who shares why she’s passionate about plastic and some of her top tips for avoiding it. Over to you Kate…..
Because oil derived plastics are cheap, plentiful and versatile we use them for just about everything including single 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.
Most plastics 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. Every bit of plastic rubbish, every sweet wrapper and crisp packet, has to be collected and specially disposed of and that is not easy. Put it in landfill and it sits there for ever. It can only be incinerated in special facilities. Yes plastic can be recycled but only a small percentage of plastic trash is. All are expensive and come with an environmental cost.
The great thing is that step by step, it’s easy to squeeze the plastic out of your life. Here are some examples.
Carrier Bags – 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.
Take your own containers
By now you may be ready to take your own containers 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 container. 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.
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 s now sold by retailers in plastic containers. That’s a lot of plastic bottles. So get a milkman with returnable, reusable glass. 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 13 billion plastic bottles. Get yourself a water bottle and fill it with clean, perfectly safe, far cheaper tap water.
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)
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.
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.
If you’re trying to reduce plastic, visit Kate’s site at www.plasticisrubbish.com, where you’ll find more information on the above and lots more plastic free alternatives.