We’ve all seen the upsetting images of plastic items clogging up the oceans and damaging natural wildlife. And, with plastic production expected to increase by 40% over the next decade, the consequences of this shocking prospect could be devastating. Recycling alone is not enough to solve this crisis, so, what can you do to help reduce your plastic waste? Often, it’s more about the little things you can adopt in order to make small changes. After all, a lot of people doing something little is better than a few doing a lot.
To have your say in the way brands market and package their products, you can take part in market research. Your opinions are highly valued and you will get paid for your time. For those wishing to take part from the comfort of their own home, there’s even the option to share your opinions and make extra money online, too. In the meantime, check out these five simple ways to reduce your plastic waste…
1. Take reusable shopping bags to the supermarket
Remember when plastic shopping bags were free? Not that long ago, we wouldn’t think twice about packing our weekly shop away in single-use plastic bags. But, since the plastic bag charge came into place in England in 2015, there has been a huge 85% drop in their use. They now cost 5p-10p each – hardly breaking the bank – yet this initiative has been really effective.
Many of us now use our own reusable shopping bags on our trips to the supermarket. But let’s go one step further. With so many products inside the store, such as loose fruit, still requiring you to use plastic produce bags, why not invest in some reusable storage bags, too? This way, you’ll save even more on plastic.
2. Use refill stations
With eight million tonnes of plastic dumped in our oceans every year, the rate of our plastic waste is growing at an alarming rate. To help make one small change, why not try refilling your hand soap, laundry liquid, or washing-up liquid at your local Ecover refill station, rather than throwing away old bottles? Ecover produce 100% recyclable bottles that you can refill more than 50 times at these local stations.
Available at most UK supermarkets, Ecover bottles package washing-up liquid, laundry liquid, household cleaning products, and hand soap. They are the first major brand to implement a nationwide scheme like this, but with more and more refill shops popping up nationwide, it’s only a matter of time before other brands get on board and start offering the same service!
3. Save money by using your own coffee cup
Takeaway coffee is so convenient when you’re on the go. However, we’re throwing away 2.5 billion coffee cups here in the UK, let alone the rest of the world. That’s 5,000 every minute. What are we doing?! Let’s make one small change by simply taking a reusable coffee cup with us wherever we go.
You can even get collapsible ones that don’t take up room in your bag! Many coffee chains, such as Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Pret A Manger even give you a discount if you bring your own cup, so you can save those extra pennies, too. Boston Tea Party has gone one step further and completely banned single-use cups – now that’s progression.
4. Stay clear of plastic straws and toothbrushes
With an estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws thrown away each year in the UK, it’s clear we still have a long way to go. Plastic straws are not recyclable and don’t decompose, and they also lead to long-term pollution of our land and oceans, clogging up waterways and harming wildlife.
UK consumers are the second biggest users per person of single-use straws compared with other European countries. But, with companies such as Final Straw selling reusable, collapsible straws that you can take with you anywhere you go, there are now more sustainable alternatives. There are also other reusable straws on the market, so you don’t have to buy single-use plastic ones ever again! Just making this one small change can lead to such positive results.
But that’s not all. We use 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes every year, most ending up in our oceans and polluting the natural ecosystem. Fish and sealife don’t need to keep their teeth clean! Plastic in our oceans has huge consequences, not to mention the disruption to marine life. As an alternative, Humble Brush have manufactured toothbrushes that are made out of bamboo. Working with dentists, these brushes are not only good for your dental hygiene, but they also decompose in just 6 months in a household compost bin. They also make eco-friendly cotton buds and toothpaste, too, if you want to go the extra mile!
5. Get your milk delivered
Another way you could reduce your plastic consumption is by getting your milk delivered in glass bottles from your local milkman. Okay, it might be a little more expensive than just popping to the shops to grab a bottle, but it’s worth considering, especially if you’d save on petrol. Plus, you’d be supporting your local milk farm.
Between 1975 and 2015, the amount of milk sold in glass bottles shrank by a huge 90%. Switching to plastic meant that we now use about 13 billion plastic bottles a year, including milk and other drinks and toiletries. That’s 200 bottles per person in the country, every year. So even if we just switch our milk bottles, and nothing else, we’ll have a great positive impact on the environment. You can find your nearest milkman here – let’s bring back the good old milk round.
Let’s spark change
David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 was the most-watched TV programme in 2017, highlighting the effect our plastic waste is having on marine life. It sparked a change in people’s way of thinking, making many of us think twice about our plastic consumption. We still have a long way to go, but just by implementing these small changes into your day-to-day life, you can do your bit for the world. We just need to get the ball rolling! The government’s Resources and Waste Strategy is definitely a step in the right direction, but we all need to work together now to help the future.
So, now that you know how to reduce plastic waste, what are you going to do to minimise your impact on the environment?
At Angelfish Opinions, you can voice your thoughts and opinions to well-known brands by taking part in market research. You can have a direct impact on the way a product is packaged, launched, priced or marketed. Plus, you can make extra money online if you’d like to work it around your personal life. Want to get involved? Sign up to our panel today to start getting invitations to relevant studies.