We know that the plastic pollution problem is HUGE. Estimates suggest that 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year. That is the equivalent weight of the Titanic….correction the same weight as 150 Titanics. Single-use plastics are disproportionately polluting our oceans and strangling our marine life. And while we are incredibly proud to be able to tackle ocean plastic pollution through our programmes, we need to do more. Of all the plastic produced today, over half is designed to be single-use, and less than 9% is recycled. We need to stop ocean pollution and plastic waste at the source, and that means changing our individual behaviours too. Here are our top ten tips for reducing plastic consumption, and avoiding single-use plastics in your daily life.
1. Invest in a reusable water bottle
Globally, over a million plastic bottles are sold every. single. minute. Investing in a reusable water bottle is one of the simplest ways that you can stay hydrated without contributing to one of the largest sources of single use plastic.
2. Avoid (or recycle!) plastic bottle caps.
It’s not just plastic water bottles that we should try to avoid. Most disposable drinks - even if they are not made of plastic - may contain a plastic bottle cap.
Plastic bottle caps are one of the most common plastic polluters and are particularly dangerous as they can be mistaken for food by marine life. Try to avoid disposable drinks that have plastic bottle caps, and remember to recycle the ones you do use!
3. Say no to plastic bags
Plastic bags are another particularly dangerous single-use plastic for marine life. Plastic bags look a lot like jelly-fish floating in water, and turtles (and other sea life!) will struggle to tell them apart. Instead of using a disposal plastic bag, remember to bring your own reusable tote or bag to the store. On the chance that a plastic bag is unavoidable, bring it home and use it as a bin liner to give it another life.
4. Ask for your drink “plastic-free”
Ok maybe the bartender will roll their eyes, but it’s worth it! There is nothing more annoying than forgetting to ask for your drink “plastic-free” and ending up with a plastic straw, stirrer or some other decoration in your drink. We promise, after seeing the damage straws can cause to sea animals, you won’t miss the tiny umbrella.
5. Avoid single-use plastic to-go containers
We love a world of convenience, but we certainly don’t love a world filled with plastic. Cooking or packing your lunch is a great way to avoid plastic or Styrofoam to-go containers. If you absolutely hate cooking (…then try it with wine), or look for restaurants and to-go eateries that offer plastic-free food containers.
6. Shop “Zero Waste” where you can
We know it can be challenging to find a good zero waste or bulk food store, however food markets are a great option for those looking to cut out single use plastics from their food shop. Farmers markets usually have a great selection of fresh produce, minus the plastic. Shopping locally also helps to support local farmers and limits the amount of carbon emissions from food transportation.
7. Ditch the Clingfilm
When storing food, it can be easy to reach for a disposable plastic lunch bag, or clingfilm. Instead of choosing to keep leftover food in disposable plastic containers, invest in some reusable food storage containers, or nifty beeswax wraps that can keep your food fresh without the plastic!
8. Don’t forget single-use plastics in your bathroom
We usually think about single-use plastics in terms of food and drink, but don’t forget about the plastics in your bathroom! From toothbrushes, shampoos, lotions and potions, the plastics in your bathroom can add up! Try opting for bars of soap instead of body wash, seek out plastic-free alternatives where you can, and if you’re feeling adventurous, give solid shampoo a try!
9. Quit smoking!
This is probably a good tip for anyone. But if you care about plastic pollution, then you should have even more incentive to kick the habit. Cigarette butts are one of the most common items found in beach cleans and can easily be mistaken for food by birds and sea life. Quitting smoking can help your wallet, your health, and our planet.
Did you find these helpful? If you have more great tips for cutting out plastic, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share your tips with others!