The top ways to reduce plastic usage
Plastic pollution impacts every corner of planet Earth making plastic consumption a global issue. Although plastic pollution is a global issue it is us as individuals that can make a difference. Small changes in your daily habits can have a global impact on reducing plastic pollution as one small change from 7 billion people makes a big difference. Currently plastic is polluting 73% of beaches which includes plastic bags, bottles, and food wrappers to name a few. Plastic bags and plastic bottles are a key problem as there are a million plastic bottles bought every minute which is set to rise by 20% in 2021 and on average only 7% are recycled. In total there are an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags used worldwide annually. Plastic pollution not only impacts the planets wildlife and ecosystems but has a direct impact on us. On average we consume 70,000 microplastics annually which is a result of our food sources being contaminated with our plastic waste. As individuals we need to make a move to reduce plastic usage and this only requires small changes.
Plastic pollution on beaches
Ways to reduce plastic usage
There are so many alternatives to plastic bags now that using a single-use plastic is inexcusable. Most supermarkets now offer a bag for life which is a durable bag often made using PET, this is a step in the right direction, but it does still contain plastic so is not the most environmentally friendly option. However, bags for life will reduce plastic use as you will no longer use single-use carrier bags so are a viable option to reduce your daily plastic usage. An alternative to a bag for life if single use alternatives are preferred. If you are wanting to reduce plastic usage completely through an alternative then there are Juco bags, made from Jute and Cotton, which are long-lasting and environmentally friendly. If you want to go even further to a zero-waste option then there are 100% biodegradable shopping bags made using plant-based PLA and PBAT. Withing 12 weeks of being exposed to nature these will decompose. These seem like a great idea but studies are showing some issues and dispute the biodegradable claims. Until there is undisputable proof that these biodegradable bags decompose we would suggest using Cotton bags to reduce plastic use.
Plastic Bottles are one of the worst polluters due to the sheer quantity that we use. In the UK alone, on average we use 7.7 billion plastic water bottles with the average person using 150 plastic water bottles every year. This is an area where you as a consumer can take action and can reduce plastic usage through simply swapping to a reusable water bottle and refilling with tap water. Reusing a water bottle will help to reduce the plastic water bottles finding there way into our oceans as many are not recycled.
When you think of plastic pollutions and steps to reduce plastic usage, cling film is not something people think about. It is hard to believe but in the UK alone over 1.2billion metres of cling film is sold and due to the nature of how clingfilm is made it is hard to recycle. Due to the manufacturing process of clingfilm where tiny plastic pellets are melted and mixed with other substances this produces tiny pellets of plastic which find there way into the ocean. This is a major concern as due to the size of plastic, these pellets find themselves into the food chain. There are other options but many of these simply degrade to a point and still release small plastic particles into the ocean. The best alternative is a biodegradable option which is entirely plastic free and made using natural beeswax.
Teabags are a relatively unknown polluter; most tea bags have a thin layer of polypropylene plastic and this plastic, even though it is a thin layer will become tiny pieces of plastic in the soil. Not only do these microplastics pollute the environment but they are released into the hot water; without knowing it you are consuming 11.6bn microplastics and 3.1bn nano plastic particles per cup of tea.
Plastic pollution from a teabag
A great alternative to help reduce plastic use is through swapping from teabags to loose-leaf tea. Through using loose-leaf tea with an infuser, you will not only be reducing plastic use but also preventing microplastics and nanoplastics from entering your body. We all know that loose-leaf tea tastes better than tea bags so why continue putting contaminants into your body, ditch the tea bag and reduce plastic use.
There is a common misconception that paper straws are a better alternative to plastic straws. Even though using paper straws reduces plastic usage the effects upon the environment through pollution are worse. Paper straws are more energy intensive to produce when compared to plastic straws; in fact, they require 4 times the amount of energy. The other issue is that even though they claim to be recyclable many recycling plants reject paper straws due to not accepting food contaminated products. So when it comes to a sustainable alternative wheat straws are 100% biodegradable and simply use a farming by-product. These also unlike paper straws do not go soggy as wheat is a non-porous material. Try these straws and use discount code STW10 for 10% of your orders!