The use of single-plastic in packaging is now a concern for everyone and is hitting the headlines more than ever. Who can fail to be moved of photos of sea creatures entangled in plastic packaging or the images of the mountains of plastic now building up?
It isn’t just about littering but about how slowly plastic breaks down. This photo of a plastic figurine, once a toy given away in cereals, was found decades later on a beach looking exactly the same as it did when it was manufactured over 30 years old. Travelling thousands of miles across the open ocean hadn’t dented its looks either.
The banning of single-use plastics is something many companies and governments are considering. But what does this mean?
Even though we think that by recycling plastic we are ‘doing our thing’ for the planet, but continually using plastic bottles and the like one time only, we are contributing more recycling and more waste.
Not all plastic elements are recyclable. For example, the plastic tops of single-use bottles are not always recyclable as they don’t have the same value.
Coloured, thicker or stained plastic is harder to recycle and reuse. Thus it costs more and requires more effort.
The alternatives to single-use plastic
Single-use plastic has its place, for example, in syringes or other medical equipment. But when it comes to everyday living, there are alternatives.
The good news is, it takes no more than a small change in habit and you won’t know the difference;
Ditch the plastic straw…
… in favour of re-usable metal ones, or degradable paper or bamboo straws. Many of us think of straws as a frivolousthing but for people with disabilities, a straw helps them to drink safely.
Ditch the plastic drinks bottles…
… or take strides to reduce how often you buy plastic drink bottles. Washed out they can be reused several times or better still, invest in a lightweight metal drinking container or a recyclable plastic drinks bottle that can be used time and again.
Ditch throwing printer cartridges in the bin…
… and send them for recycling instead. Completely free, you just pop your spent ink cartridges in the supplied envelope (just contact an ink cartridge recycling firm) and put in the mailboxthe next time you are passing. Quick and simple and you will also get money off when you buy cartridges with the company too.
Ditch the one-use coffee cup…
… by bowling on up to your local coffee chain shop or independent café with your own travel mug or flask. Most coffee chains and cafes will happily obligebut if they don’t, citing hygiene reasons, take your custom elsewhere.
Ditch the plastic containing cosmetics…
… and look for biodegradable alternatives instead. Say no to facewash with plastic beads, choosing one with ground up apricot husk instead. Avoid cosmetic and beauty products with “polypropylene” or “polyethylene” in them.
Ditch the single-userazor…
… and opt for rechargeable shaving kits.
Ditch plastic-laden sanitary products…
… and opt for a waste-free period with reusable cups and napkins, washable at 30°.
It’s time for us all to take responsibility and do our bit for the environment. What changes will you make?