Substituting single-use plastics
Single-use plastics are causing considerable harm to our environment and polluting oceans to crisis point.
They’ve become so embedded in everyday life many people don’t even notice they’re using them.
Here’s a few ways you can help cut single-use plastics out of your life and make some environmentally-friendly substitutions instead.
At the supermarket
There is a huge amount of single-use plastic at the supermarket and much of it is easily avoided. When the plastic bag charge was introduced, consumers quickly learned to adopt reusable bags instead by bringing their own from home.
Plastic-wrapped produce produces a huge amount of plastic waste. Choose loose vegetables where possible and avoid plastic bags. You can weigh items and leave them loose – if you need to print a label for your fruit and veg so it can be scanned, put the sticker on the back of your shopping list instead.
Think about bottles
Bottles are another extremely common source of single-use plastics that can easily be avoided. If you regularly drink carbonated water or fizzy drinks, consider products like the soda stream so you can make your own at home, saving both money and cutting down on waste.
A reusable water bottle and coffee mug are much more environmentally friendly as well. Most cafes and restaurants are happy to top up your water bottle for free.
Plastic straws end up in oceans and consumed by marine animals. You can help by opting not to use a straw, drinking straight from the cup instead.
If you do prefer to use a straw, consider investing in your own. Stainless steel drinking straws are reusable, compact and great for the environment.
And finally… recycle
It’s not always possible to avoid using plastic altogether, but you can help do your bit by making a point to recycle. Choose products with packaging that’s recyclable or biodegradable, and make a point to recycle what plastic you do use.
Worldwide only 13% of plastics make it to the recycling bin. Reuse what you can at home and make sure the rest is recycled. If you’re away from home and can’t find a recycling bin, keep it with you until you can. These small, subtle shifts in behaviour have the ability to make a huge impact.
Do you worry about single-use plastics? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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