Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t be surprised to hear that the world is facing an enormous plastic pollution problem.
The cheapness, durability and practicableness of plastic has caused us to consume plastic at staggering rates. Current estimates state that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans each year. That’s everything from plastic bottles, to plastic bags, to plastic coated coffee cups, to plastic microbeads. To put it into context, that’s a truck load of rubbish every single minute.
The impact this is having on our oceans and sea creatures is devastating. Larger pieces of plastic are choking and trapping turtles and seabirds. The smaller pieces are blocking the stomachs of animals who confuse it with food, from tiny zooplankton to massive whales.
Plastic is entering every level of the marine food chain and ends up in the seafood we eat. Plastic is carcinogenic and so this is a huge health problem too.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! If we all make an effort to use less single-use plastic, we can act together to protect our precious oceans before it is too late. With this in mind, we are looking at ways we can use less plastic in our homes.
Don’t use straws at home – and if you really need to use one, use a paper straw. It is estimated that more than 500 million single-use plastic straws are used and thrown away every day in the United States alone.
A Strawless Ocean said: “Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens and mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed as garbage.” Does your drink really need a straw?
Treat yourself to a reusable water bottle and coffee cup
Using a metal water bottle is not only helping our oceans, it is better for your health as none of plastic’s nasty chemicals are mixing with your water. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, get a filter. If your weakness is fizzy drinks, you could invest in a soda stream to limit the number of plastic bottles you use.
Indeed, there is a huge range of reusable coffee cups available and many coffee shops offer a discount if you use one – win win!
Go old school – use a milkman!
If you use a lot of milk, you might consider using a milkman service like the good old days! Switch the plastic bottles to glass bottles. The Guardian reported that the glass bottles milkmen use can be washed and reused up to 25 times and although they eventually wear due to extreme heat, they are then recycled.
Keep a plastic bag handy
Save yourself 5p, and save the oceans while you’re at it. Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. If we all chip in, we can get this down!
Buy loose fruit and vegetables
Instead of buying fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic, buy lose produce and put it in a paper or material bag. If your local supermarket doesn’t have lose produce, consider switching to a greengrocers.
There are just a few small swaps but each will make a difference. If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. It just makes sense to find easy ways to use less of it.