Be plastic-waste-free when you’re out and about
If all the plastic made in the last two decades was collected up and rolled out, there would be more than enough to encase the whole planet in a layer of cling film – and it’s all still present in our environment.
Currently the world’s manufacturers produce over a billion tonnes of new plastic every three years, a terrifying amount, yet is the tide beginning to turn? As more of us have started to reduce our personal plastic footprints, the positive effect of consumer pressure is snowballing:
>> The introduction to England of 5p carrier bag charges saw their use drop by a whopping 85% in under 12 months
>> Towns across the UK are pledging to go plastic-free
>> Zero-waste shops are springing up across the country
>> Single-use plastic straws, cutlery, cotton buds and stirrers are to be banned across the EU from 2021
>> Even Glasto got in on the act this year, when single-use plastic drinks bottles and non-compostable plates and cutlery were no longer available across the festival site.
Awesome, huh? But breaking humanity’s reliance on plastic – the easy, cheap option – is akin to turning around a giant tanker. We’ve (finally!) put the engines in reverse, however it’s going to take a long time for momentum to slow and shift back in the other direction.
Breaking our reliance on plastic is akin to turning around a giant tanker
Can you help by reducing your plastic footprint this summer? Here are our top five ways to go plastic-free when you’re out and about…
1. Carry a refillable water bottle
Beat dehydration without racking up the expense and waste of single-use plastic bottles. Tooled up with your refillable bottle you can drink for free from the tap, London’s new water fountains or businesses showing the Refill logo. No logo? Waiting for a lull in custom and asking nicely for a refill tends to work too!
2. Eat in, don’t take out
Proper cutlery, a ceramic plate, a glass made of glass! Rather than grabbing a soggy film-wrapped sandwich, plastic-encased salad, tray of anaemic-looking sushi or some other processed shenanigans, choose a café or eatery with reusable tableware and treat yourself to a freshly prepared lunch without plastic waste.
3. Use a plastic-free sunblock
If, like us, you were completely unaware that there were alternatives to the standard plastic-packaged sunscreens out there, prepare to be enlightened! The basic recipe for SPF30 mineral sunblock is zinc oxide and some kind of oil-based carrier. There’s really no need for all the other chemical ingredients found in mainstream sun lotions. We can buy the ingredients and DIY our own reef-safe sunblock; or, if life’s too short, buy plastic-free ready-mades from the likes of Shade (from £3.75) and the Czech company Amazinc (from £10.50, various UK stockists).
4. Bring along a reusable bag
Whether a fabric tote, rucksack, a clever space-saving fold-up shopping bag or even a clean old plastic carrier balled up in a pocket; remember to take a reusable bag this summer and avoid having to buy new plastic bags when you shop.
5. Take along a cup for your iced coffee
Take two refillable containers when you head out? Why, yes we do! A reusable bottle for water and an insulated cup for our summer obsession: iced coffee!
Add packing refillable drinks containers to your 'leaving the house' routine