There’s been a lot of buzz about our harmful impact on the planet. In recognition of Oceans of Plastic day we’ve got some great ideas for families to reduce their plastic waste.
How does plastic affect our oceans?
There's already 50-70 trillion pieces of plastic and micro plastics in the oceans. Researchers estimate that over 14 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year. This is mainly generated by households and commercial waste. It also comes from microplastics, coming from synthetic clothing from our washing machines. 80% of plastics in the ocean originates on the land.
Once in the ocean, plastics very slowly break down into microplastics which then enter the marine food chain and cause significant damage.
The UK produces more plastic waste per person than almost any other country. A lot of this is sent abroad, often to countries who aren't equipped to handle it.
On top of that, it's estimated that around 20% of plastic in the ocean comes from human activities at sea. A study from Greenpeace carried out in found 640k tonnes of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing equipment is left behind each year.
Although oceans cover 70% of the earth's surface, only a fraction of them are protected.
We’re here to help with these top tips to reduce plastic waste.
Start by noticing what plastic items you use and throw away. Sounds gross, but take a look at what you’re throwing away each week. It’ll probably surprise you. Are there any items you could do without, or replace with other items? Why not get rid of plastic milk containers by setting up a delivery with glass bottles from your local milk supplier (door-to-door service and great for local business too - win win ).
Keep it fresh
The tupperware revolution was a revelation for keeping food fresher for longer, but are you living in the dark ages? Instead of a plastic tub keep leftover food in a bowl with a small plate on top and pop it in the fridge. Alternatively, keep your glass bottles back to use for at home storage. If you’re out and about think about using stainless steel instead of plastic lunch boxes, even go cosmo with bento or tiffin boxes? Here are some great eco-friendly lunch boxes for kids.
So, plastic free shopping aisles’ might not be a thing yet in the UK, but why not start at the source and reduce plastic packaging even before you buy. Where you can, eliminate packaging entirely. Chose loose fruit and veg rather than the pre-portioned bags. If you bring your own reusable bags to put them in, you’ll be even more eco-friendly. The added bonus is that this can help reduce food waste too as you’re only taking as much as you need. Take your own containers to the delhi / fishmonger / butcher - you get the best items here rather than on the shelves too! Many items just can’t or don’t come packaging free. Choosing glass or paper packaging options and bigger packs can still help to reduce plastic waste. Get more plastic free supermarket shopping tips.
That’s a wrap
Is cling film your weapon of choice for packed lunches and leftovers? There are loads of different options that significantly reduce our plastic footprint. Use aluminium foil rather than cling film to keep food fresh. Foil is both reusable (yes, you can wash it up and use it again!) and recyclable. Or why not try beeswax wrap instead for wrapping up sandwiches?
Bring your own
Can't live without your daily coffee fix? Make it more environmentally friendly by carrying a reusable coffee cup or flask. Most high street coffee shops are well on board with this now. Whilst lots of places now offer more environmentally friendly straws, you can also keep a sneaky metal one in your bag for even less impact. On that point, how about some handy reusable cutlery for food on the go with an easy conscience?