20 ways to reduce plastic consumption

Plastic pollution is a huge problem and one that’s not going to disappear overnight, even with our best efforts.  Many plastics never fully decompose and tiny particles of plastic are left both on land and in the sea.  I was shocked to recently watch the documentary A Plastic Ocean and realise the full scale of this devastating issue.  Even though the sea looked clear from the boat, a scoop of the water proved it was not.  It was full of tiny bits of plastic that will never totally degrade.  These bits of plastic are then swallowed up by fish and birds poisoning them, if not killing them.  This plastic poisoning is then passed on to the many humans who eat these fish.  Plastic waste ending up in the ocean has huge consequences for the health of the planet, animals and humans.

I get frustrated on an almost daily basis with the amount of non-recyclable packaging that exists.  It drives me crazy, especially as there are plenty of alternatives that can be recycled and even packaging that can be composted.  I’ve had products from Inspiral with compostable packaging.  Isn’t that amazing?  What baffles me is why the government aren’t enforcing this.  Why aren’t they banning non-recyclable packages and passing a law that only recyclable and compostable packages can be used.  It’s crazy that we’re in 2018 and there are still signs on the back of packets saying ‘currently not recycled’.  It’s a joke.

Plastic waste can be turned into roads (and 20 ways to reduce plastic consumption)

I hate the fact we have to throw these non-recyclable products into our waste bin for landfill.  I always feel guilty.  Instead I think all the councils should have to collect it and store it somewhere until there’s a way to reuse it.  People are constantly coming up with new ways to use plastic waste such as turning it into diesel fuel and even making roads from plastic bottles and carrier bags.

Plastic bottles and bags are being recycled into asphalt mixture to produce roads that are kinder to the environment and, manufacturers claim, longer lasting. Sky news

Isn’t that incredible?  It’s about time we made use of all our waste and reckless consumption instead of burying the problem in landfill or washing it out to sea.

Luckily everyone can begin to play a part in the reduction of plastic waste and the often needless creation of more and more plastic that rarely gets used then tossed out.  Here are 20 ways you can reduce your plastic consumption at home:

1.     Use reusable straws­­

There’s no need to buy plastic straws that only have one use.  Grab a pack of stainless steel reusable straws that last a lifetime instead.

2.     Carry a reusable water bottle

Stop buying countless bottles of water from the store and refill your own reusable one.  Choose one with a filter to purify the tap water or distil your own water at home.

3.     Buy loose produce

Veg and fruit have so much unnecessary packaging.  Shop at markets instead or choose the loose produce.  Try a pick your own centre and encourage the kids to eat healthier and have fun.

4.     Order an organic veg box

To cut down on fruit and veg packaging even more and support organic farmers, have a veg box delivered with little to no plastic packaging at all.

Plastic waste can be turned into roads (and 20 ways to reduce plastic consumption

5.     Choose glass over plastic

See if your favourite food items come in glass bottles or jars and opt for these instead.

6.     Use a jute shopper

Stop using throw away carriers and get a strong reusable jute shopper.  Many are even made from recycled materials.

7.     Carry a hot drinks flask/cup

So many coffee cups are wasted each year as they can’t be recycled due to a plastic lining.  Get your fave coffee shops to fill your own cup instead.

8.     Use paper folders

Choose paper folders for filing instead of plastic.

9.     Take your own cutlery to work

Skip picking up the plastic cutlery from the salad bar and take a set of your own cutlery to the work canteen.

10. Buy larger quantities

Choose to buy in bulk and large packs instead of several smaller packs.  This will save money in the long run and reduce waste in the kitchen.

11. Don’t chew gum

Yup, chewing gum contains PLASTIC!  Gross.  Stop chewing or search for natural alternatives.

12. Use concentrated cleaning solutions or make your own

Make your own home cleaners and reuse bottles or buy heavily concentrated solutions to mix with water.

Plastic waste can be turned into roads (and 20 ways to reduce plastic consumption))

13. Replace wipes with cloths

Stop buying cleaning wipes and use spray or water with washable cloths instead.  The plastic wipe packets are often non recyclable.

14. Make your own

Make more of your own everything.  More food for less ready meal packaging waste.  More cleaning products to reduce cleaning bottle waste.  More beauty products to reduce packaging waste.

15. Leave clothes hangers at the store

Don’t take the clothes hangers home if you’re only going to throw them straight in the bin.  Leave them at the clothes store to be reused.

16. Use a rechargeable razor

Disposable razors are only used a few times and thrown out.  Find ones with eco-friendly handles or use an electric razor.

17. Shop at markets

Shop at markets to buy beauty and food products with no packaging such as soaps and shampoo bars.

18. Make your own takeaway

Takeaways come with so much waste wrapping, boxes and plastic bits.  Reduce how many takeaways you order or make your own instead for no extra plastic waste.

19. Use a milkman

If you order normal milk then switch to milkman deliveries.  The milk comes in glass bottles and they are collected to be reused.  Try making your own oat milk if you prefer plant based milks.

20. Light with matches, not lighters

Use matches instead of lighters and throw the used ones into a log burner.  Don’t buy plastic disposable lighters.  If you need a lighter then choose a refillable one and refill it.

Plastic waste can be turned into roads (and 20 ways to reduce plastic consumption)

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