How To Cut Back Your Plastic Use
Last month, the Government launched its plan for reducing plastic pollution, including banning certain single-use plastics by 2021.
But things are already bad enough that we shouldn’t wait for Government bans to kick in before we act. Each of us, on average, consumes 100 kilograms of plastic per year. Less than 10% is recycled, and globally, 10–20 million tons each year ends up in the ocean instead.
So what can we do? There’s the obvious things, like using fewer plastic bottles, ditching plastic straws and using reusable bags for your groceries. But there’s plenty of other easy hacks too. Here’s just five.
Reduce your lunchtime plastic forkprint
Eating take-out ‘al desko’ is an Aladdin’s cave of unnecessary plastic. Plastic containers and wrapping, plastic ketchup sachets, plastic cutlery… we could go on. Why not pack a lunch instead? Bring cutlery from home, use reusable containers and avoid plastic sandwich bags and you’ll be amazed how much plastic (and money) you save.
Free your Tea
Did you know that most teabags are fastened with plastic? It’s a small amount, clearly, but multiply it across a whole country and it adds up. And its consumers calling this out that makes “Big Tea” take notice. Take the UK, where public pressure convinced the country’s biggest brand to eliminate plastic from the 10 billion teabags they make each year.
Gum and dumber
As well as ruining sidewalks across the world, it turns out that gum is adding to our plastic pollution problem too, as most brands contain polyvinyl acetate (look for “gum base” in the ingredients list). So avoid these, and opt for natural brands that make do without.
Paper Cups: Plastics in Disguise
When is a paper cup not a paper cup? When it’s actually coated in, or has a core of, plastic, as is the case with almost all the 250 (invariably single-use) coffee cups the average Canadian uses each year.
Clean out the plastic
The national ban on microbeads has done a lot to cut some of the plastic from your daily hygiene routine. But there’s more that can be done. Cotton buds, toothbrushes, liquid soap – all have readily-available versions or alternatives (bar soap being the most obvious) that use less or no plastic.
Just as clean, but much more green.
Less plastic, more fantastic.