Reducing your plastic
Tips to reduce the use and disposal of plastic.
Plastic is everywhere!
In the UK we recycle less than two thirds of plastic bottles and less than a third of our plastic tubs, pots and trays. All the district councils in Worcestershire collect plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays for recycling, but there is still a lot of plastic that ends up in the bin.
Some of our plastic ends up polluting our environment. Even though our residents in Worcestershire do their bit to recycle plastic, there is still more than can be done. Most plastic waste in the UK doesn't end up in the oceans, but is sent to landfill or burned in Energy from Waste facilities. People are worried about its impact on nature and they have every right to be; 79% of the plastic waste ever created is still in our environment, leaving a legacy of plastic waste on our planet that will take years to put right.
Plastic has become part of our everyday life, from bottles and bags to plastic trays and pots – our lives are full of it. We now use about 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years ago. Plastic is a very useful material and one which we will never be able to live without, but we use a lot of it; by reducing and recycling plastics, we can reduce our need to produce more plastic.
Plastic waste reduction tips
Here are some tips:
- Bring your own shopping bag – leave cloth bags in the boot of your car and have a fold up one in your handbag or rucksack so it's always handy on the go.
- Carry a reusable water bottle – you're entitled to request free tap water as a customer to any licensed premises or look at the Refill Campaign for friendly places to refill your bottle. If you're a business in Worcestershire with accessible tap water, why not get signed up and get promoting.
- Bring your own cup – ask coffee chains to fill your cup direct and you may receive a small discount.
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers – cuts down on reliance on cling film and aluminium foil (which cannot be recycled in your green bin).
- Say no to disposable straws – take a reusable straw with you or say no to unnecessary straws in drinks!
- Slow down and dine in – save money and waste by cooking from fresh at home instead of having a takeaway. It cuts down the amount of plastic packaging you have to dispose of afterwards. For recipes using up those bits of food left lingering in the fridge that you don't know what to do with go to Love Food Hate Waste
- Skip the plastic produce bags – don't put your fruit and veg in the plastic bags at the supermarket. Put loose in your trolley and they can be weighed and priced at the till. Or use paper bags if they are available – often they are by the mushrooms.
- Store leftovers in glass jars – reuse your sauce and condiment jars for storing leftover food. Alternatively use the plastic containers that some takeaways come in.
- Choose natural fibres – look at buying organic cotton, hemp or bamboo clothing if possible. Polyester, lycra and nylon are all plastic fabrics and cause microfibre pollution. Sustainable clothing choices can be more expensive, but last longer and the "per wash" cost works out cheaper.
- Swap wet wipes for flannel and water – swap your make-up wipes and baby wipes for a flannel and any cleaning wipes for rags (made from old t-shirts) or old towels.
- Milk deliveries – replace your plastic milk bottles with the traditional glass bottle from your milkman – they are refilled again and again and again...
- Go for washable cloth nappies rather than disposables - if you have a baby you could save up to £500 by changing to reusable nappies.
Take our #plasticpledge
Surprise (and shock) yourself how much plastic you use every week!
Following on from the success of our #plasticreductionworldcup that we held in conjunction with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we are asking residents to take the #plasticpledge. There are no prizes, just the satisfaction that you have reduced the amount of plastic you use and potentially saved yourself money!
To work out how much waste you create, simply store up all your plastic items that you use in fortnight. Once you have done this look at alternatives to the plastics you use.
- Which items are single-use that you can find an alternative to? Can you find fruit and veg which don't come in plastic packaging? Can you sign up for a milk delivery instead of buying milk in plastic bottles? Can you buy a metal straw for drinks or refuse one completely?
- Which items in your rubbish resulted from a lack of preparation? For example, disposable coffee cups, drinks bottles or ready meals. How can you make sure you are prepared in the future?
- Could you avoid buying packaged meal or cheese by buying from a butcher or deli counter? Take waxed paper, foil or a plastic container and ask for your food to be placed in that instead. Morrison's are one of the first supermarkets to let you take your own tubs for fresh meat and fish. Also by buying from the deli/meat/fish counters you only buy what you need – reducing food waste as well!
- Could you reduce your need to buy ready meals? Cooking from scratch saves money and food waste. Visit Love Food Hate Waste for ideas and recipes using food that would normally be thrown away as well as understanding better storage and what the varies dates on food mean.
Use the downloadable audit form to help you keep a track of the amount of plastic you are using and then set yourself an achievable goal for reducing the amount of plastic you use – a month is a reasonable amount of time.
Let us know how you got on by contacting Let's Waste Less and we may feature you in future communications materials about reducing waste.
We only get one life, so we should focus on making the most of it, and finding ways to make a positive impact on our world. Be innovative, be creative, and embrace your life with less plastic!