Today is international plastic bag free day which will see hundreds of people around the world and on social media take action to spread the word on the environmental impact of single-use plastics. I don’t think there are many of us who would disagree we all need to do something to reduce our impact on the environment but with so much information out there, becoming zero waste can feel overwhelming. So we at CPL have put together a simple checklist to help you take steps in your everyday routine to help us all towards steps in becoming plastic free and reducing the amount of plastic waste and promote more sustainable solutions.
Plastic is certainly not fantastic and here are 5 simple steps that will get you started in the right direction:
1. Bring your own shopping bag
Make it an intentional habit not just on international plastic bag free day but every day to bring your own reusable bag with you when you go shopping. Did you know: On average a single-use plastic bag is used for only 25 minutes, it takes between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate, a whopping one million plastic bags are used around the world every minute and 80% of marine litter is plastic. So every time you’re shopping you could be doing your bit to make it plastic bag free world.
2. The coffee cup that keeps on giving
Carry a reusable coffee cup or flask in your bag. Around 2.5bn coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK alone – that’s 7 million a day! Less than 1% of these can be recycled so that takeaway cup that you hand in your hand for 5minutes will spend up to 50yrs in a landfill! Most establishments also offer a discount for reusable cups now too!
3. BYO – of the H2O variety!
Plastic is not only bad for the environment but it’s bad for your body as well. The World Health Organisation did a review into plastic water bottles and found that some of the world’s most popular water brands contained tiny pieces of plastic. Source: Guardian. So save money, protect your health and the environment at the same time and fill up at home with a reusable water bottle.
4. Ditch the cling film
Cling film is not only THE most irritating thing to unwrap when you can’t find the end on a roll and to make it worse it also cannot be recycled however it’s cousin tinfoil often can so ditch the clingfilm and use tinfoil instead and make sure it goes in the recycling bin afterwards. Another great alternative is the new beeswax wraps which can be found from most major stockists and are 100% natural and environmentally friendly. Simply warm them in your hands, mould them over your bowl or around your food to help keep your food fresh.
5. Straws really do suck
We’ve probably all seen the depressing video of the turtle having a straw removed from it’s nose. It is thought that Britain uses around 8.5billion straws a year and America uses over 500 million a day.
According to StrawlessOcean.org around 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs and if the plastic is ingested, marine life has just a 50% chance of survival. Many businesses are either phasing out straws altogether or switching to more environmentally friendly ones so if you’re out in your favourite restaurant and get offered a plastic straw with your drink just decline and now that you’re doing your bit to make a difference to reducing the 8 million metric tons of plastic that are projected to end up in our oceans and in 2025.
6. Go old-school in the bathroom
Reduce waste in the bathroom by swapping your usual liquid shower gels and hand wash for a good old fashioned bar of soap. There are plenty to choose from nowadays so just be sure to choose one that has minimal packaging (avoiding plastic). Choose a natural soap, avoiding chemical ingredients. Avoid soaps made with palm oil to limit the environmental land impact and buy from local farmers’ markets or independent shops where possible to reduce transportation carbon footprint.