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4 min read

Plastic is everywhere and it is destroying our environment. It is so bad that it is estimated that by2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.

Slowly, people are waking up to the damage that plastic is causing. Supermarkets are being urged to haveplastic free aisles,plastic bag usage is plummeting and France has even banned all plastic cups, cutlery, and plates.

But what can you do to reduce your plastic consumption?

Read on to find out and to watch a free movie.

Take a look around you and count how many plastic things you can see. Depending on where you’re reading this you can probably see plastic pens, sellotape dispensers, and CD cases. Or perhaps, plastic food wrappers, plastic scouring pads, cake boxes, the list is seemingly endless. So, with that much plastic in our lives cutting back can seem like an enormous effort. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some actions that you can take right now to reduce your plastic use:

    1. Make your bag reusable!

      Simple really, take a reusable bag with you each time you go shopping and not only will you save 5p (if you’re in the UK) each time, you will also reduce your plastic consumption with ease. Did you know that a single plastic bag takes 1,000 years to degrade and in theUK alone we use 500 million bags a year (that’s even after the charge was introduced).

    2. Use alternatives to plastic containers

      Most people probably have Tupperware or an equivalent somewhere. These plastic containers not only damage the planet in their production and disposal,they could also damage your health! Use food-grade stainless steel alternatives instead. These will not only last longer but are far easier to recycle (not that you will ever need to).


            Bonus tip
      Don’t just use these containers to store food! Take them to the shops as well. If you have an independent shop nearby, ask them to put the produce you buy in these containers - supermarkets might not be able to do so.

    3. Bottled water - don’t even think about it.

      Bottled water, not only one of the biggest consumer cons of all time but also one of the most polluting.Only one in every five plastic bottles is recycled and it takes aPET bottle 700 years to decompose! As if that wasn’t enough, it takes1.5 million barrels of oil to produce enough plastic bottles to meet current demand in the United States alone - that’s enough toprovide the US with power for 100,000 years!

      There are some fantastic reusable water bottles being produced out there. You can even pick them up from most outdoor shops. After that, it is just a case of remembering to take it with you when you go out - but that will become easier after a few times.

    4. Ditch the disposable

      Disposable razors - in the US alone2 billion are thrown out each year. They’re hard to recycle and the plastic handles mean that part of them will be around for many hundreds of years.

         The alternatives
      There are alternatives, however. Unless you’re prepared to go old school with a straight razor, and the thought of shaving anywhere delicate with one of those makes us squirm, then your best option is a traditional safety razor. Traditional safety razors have handles made of a variety of materials other than plastic and will last you a lifetime. The only waste they produce is the razor blade itself which can be recycled.

         Recycling the blades safely
      To recycle these safely, store them in a ‘blade bank’, a sealable container made of steel or tin then when you are ready to recycle them put the whole thing in the recycling container. This will help ensure that the workers don’t get injured by the blades. If you’re looking for a safety razor there are excellent places to start, including Boots, theEnglish Shaving Company orThe Traditional Shaving Company, to name but a few. The Independent has even done a list of theeight best safety razors.  

    5. Take a DIY approach 

      You could end up spending time, a lot of time, looking for like-for-like replacement goods that are plastic free. However, many goods are impossible to obtain without their plastic covering. The only way to overcome this is to rethink things. Ask yourself if you really want it, if you do, ask what could take its place? Look at creating alternatives to what you would normally purchase; there are some great tips on making your own toothpaste and the like over on friend of Elephant Box -Zero Waste Wanderess!  

Your film.

Now’s the time to break out your homemade chips, stick them in your Elephant Box and enjoy The Plastic Tide.

This film was produced bySky Ocean Rescue and looks at the effect of the eight million tonnes of plastic that are washed out to sea each year.



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