9 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

January 8th, 2018

We are incredibly lucky to live and work here in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, and we take so much pleasure from the wild and beautiful landscapes that surround us. From the sweeping coastlines, beautiful beaches, dramatic peaks and mighty mountains – Snowdonia is nothing if not stunning. And we passionately believe that this landscape should be preserved and protected for many more future generations.

One of the very easy ways we can all help our natural environment is to reduce our plastic waste. There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about the world’s use of plastics – especially those that are deemed “single use” plastics. These are plastics that are designed to be disposable – for example plastic bags, straws, plastic bottles, disposable cutlery and plastic packaging. The world produces a whopping 300 million tonnes of plastic every year, and half of it is single use plastic. The problem with single use plastics is that although many of them are recyclable, the vast majority aren’t recycled. They end up in landfill sites, or even worse, as litter on the streets and in the oceans. Plastic will not biodegrade but it will break down into tiny particles after many years. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply.

Image from freeimages.com

Eliminating plastic is a huge challenge, but with a little forward thinking it is very easy to make small changes to your daily living that will help reduce the amount of single use plastics you use on a daily basis. If everyone made the same small changes, the effect would be far reaching and greatly positive.

Here are our very easy 9 ways to reduce plastic waste:

  • Carry a reusable drinks bottle with you for water and soft drinks. There’s even an app (available from www.refill.org.uk) that tells you where you can refill your water bottle for free.
  • Refuse plastic straws – do you really need that plastic straw? Straws are a huge source of plastic waste, that are mostly unnecessary. You could also ask your local cafe/pub/shop to switch to paper straws that are biodegradable and recyclable.
  • Take a coffee cup – if you’re a coffee addict then why not take a reusable coffee cup with you for your daily fix? Many cafes offer a discount if you bring your own cup with you. Less than one in 400 disposable coffee cups are recycled in the UK….
  • Food Packaging – a lot of our fresh food, fruit and veg is packaged in unnecessary plastic. To reduce waste, try changing to loose fruit and veg (and use paper bags if you do need a bag).
  • Refuse Disposable Cutlery – As with straws, much disposable cutlery is completely unnecessary. Consider keeping a fork/spoon in your bag, car or at work so that you always have one to hand next time you buy a take-away salad or soup.
  • Carry a shopping bag – since the 5p plastic bag levy was introduced across the UK, plastic bag use has fallen dramatically – by 85%! To avoid the charge, and help reduce waste, carry a small bag with you; you can even get foldaway ones to keep in your handbag or car.
  • Avoid Microbeads – plastic microbeads are in many beauty products such as face wash, scrubs and toothpaste. However these tiny plastic particles eventually end up in our oceans. The UK government will ban them later this year but until then keep checking the labels and avoid anything containing polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and nylon.
  • Milk Deliveries – If there is an old fashioned milkman near to you then why not consider using them for your milk needs? There are still some who deliver milk in bottles, which are then collected and reused – the ultimate in recycling! Find your nearest here
  • 2 Minute Beach Clean – and finally, not so much about reducing waste, but clearing waste – every time you go for a walk to the coast try picking up 10 pieces of litter? A huge amount of our plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans and seas, and then gets washed up on the beach. If everyone who visited the beach took part in a 2 minute beach clean and removed 10 pieces of plastic litter, the beaches would be a nicer and safer place for us all. Find out more at beachclean.net

Image by freeimages.com (Sepas Mohammadpour)