Although it has always been there and scientists knew how it was affecting our planet, plastic pollution has only been brought into the limelight recently as people have begun to understand the serious and detrimental effects it has on the planet and its resources. In recent years more than not, the fight against plastic has been the topic of conversation and it is an inevitable future that can’t be ignored and working to reduce plastic waste at home is a good place to start.
Some people don’t believe or know enough about plastic pollution to make a change in their lives. Here are a few shocking statistics that show just how damaging it can be:
- 300 million tons of plastic is produced each year and half of that is only used once
- Plastic takes 500 to 1,000 years to degrade, which means that every piece ever produced is likely to still exist
- There is plastic pollution on every beach in the world
- Approximately 8 million pieces of plastic finds its way into our oceans everyday
- 100,000 marine animals and turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed each year by marine plastic pollution
- Worldwide, shoppers use around 500 billion single-use plastic bags annually. This means that every minute a million bags are used or 150 bags are used per person a year
- 40% of plastic produced is used for packaging
Those are just a few of the endless distressing effects plastic pollution has on our planet. Here are a range of ways you can actively reduce the amount of plastic waste in your home.
1. Stop Using Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are made of recyclable materials, however, they are hard to recycle as they are often too lightweight to be sorted and so they end up in landfills.
Firstly, think do you really need to use a straw? If yes, purchase a reusable stainless steel straw or a glass straw. It is common now for restaurants and bars to use paper straws instead of plastic ones, follow their example to reduce plastic waste at home.
2. Take Your Own Bags Shopping
It is clear that a very big cause of plastic pollution is the single-use shopping bags that are continuously used every day only once. There are no excuses, forgetful or not, take your own reusable bag with you to pack your shopping. If you find that you forget to bring your own bag, keep a selection in your car or in your handbag to make sure you always have one to hand. Some stores have completely stopped selling plastic bags which makes sure that you bring your own.
3. Shop Locally
Not only does shopping at your local market or store help the economy, it is also beneficial to the environment. This is because being in close proximity to the customer, it is less likely that they will drive to the store, reducing carbon pollution. More importantly in this case, local markets and stores tend to use less plastic packaging on their goods and also you can often bring your own container for loose fruit, vegetables, nuts and even cereals.
4. Purchase a Reusable Bottle or Mug
The most common cause of plastic waste are copious amounts of plastic bottles that are used once or twice and then thrown away. We buy 1 million plastic bottles per minute globally and it is estimated that in 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.
You can take a reusable bottle into a Starbucks or Costa, pretty much anywhere selling drinks and they will fill it up for you. Reusable bottles are a very inexpensive way of dramatically reducing your plastic waste.
5. Invest in a Water Filter
If you find that you prefer bottled water vs tap water and you are purchasing endless bottled water for your household, it is definitely worth investing in a water filter system.
The aim of a water filter is to remove unwanted chemicals, chlorine and pesticides which in return improve the taste and smell of tap water. It is also important to reduce the hardness of your water by removing magnesium and calcium that is picked up during the journey from groundwater to your home. Hard water can have negative effects to your home such as limescale build up and also effects on the condition of your hair and skin. To find out if you’re living in a hard water area, use our water hardness calculator and to reduce the hardness of your water, invest in a water softener.
Not only does a water filter system or jug prevent harmful chemicals from entering your body, improve the taste of water and help reduce plastic waste, it is also economically friendly as it saves you money that would’ve been spent on bottled water.
If you are a lover of sparkling water, there are filtered solutions such as Soda Stream that provide great tasting fizzy water too.
6. Fresh Juice!
Instead of buying cartoned or bottled juices, make your own fresh juice at home. It usually tastes better, doesn’t have any artificial flavourings or added sugar and you know the exact ingredients. Purchasing a blender or juice maker can help reduce the amount of plastic used when buying juices and can also have health benefits leaving you feeling refreshed in the morning.
7. Up-cycle Furniture
If you’ve never heard of up-cycling, it involves D-I-Y and creativity where you convert items you already own and rarely use into new useful furniture or storage with a different purpose.
For example, plastic bottles or milk containers can be cut out and up-cycled to create containers for herbs or storage for a range of items such as stationery and accessories. This reduces the amount of plastic waste and creates a reusable purpose in your household.
8. Replaceable Razors
A less common way of reducing plastic waste is to purchase razors for shaving that have replaceable razors so that you don’t have to throw them out after a few uses. There are companies that sell these specific razors and they can dramatically help the fight against plastic.
9. Milk Delivery!
Go back in time and consider getting your milk delivered to your doorstep. Not only does this provide you with fresh milk on a weekly basis without having to go to the store, it is also a great way of reducing the plastic waste created by milk cartons. They use glass bottles and pick them up, clean them and do the process again. As well as reducing the amount of plastic in your home it could also help with the local job economy.
10. Avoid the Frozen Aisle
Most of the frozen food in supermarkets and stores heavily rely on plastic packaging to ensure it is secure in the extreme cold temperatures of freezers. Although frozen foods can prove helpful in prolonging the shelf life of food, the packaging surrounding it is a key player of plastic waste.
Ultimately, these are very simple and easy ways you can reduce plastic in your home and although they may cost a bit more than your plastic water bottles or razors, they will be cost efficient over time. Grab your glass straws, reusable bottles and replaceable razors and join us in the fight against plastic!