10 Pieces Of Plastic You Don't Need In Your Life
The Problem Of Plastic Waste
Plastic waste has been getting a lot of media attention recently which is great, but a lot of the damage has already been done. We are all guilty of contributing to plastic waste, however it is never to late to try and make some changes to our lifestyle in order to reduce the waste we all put out into the environment. Here are some easy tips we can all manage in our home and daily lives. Most plastics do not biodegrade, but are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. Wildlife are affected by becoming caught in plastic, ingest it or are poisoned by it. There are many chemicals in plastics that are extremely toxic to the body and research has been shown that they affect many bodily functions including the endocrine system (hormones), fertility, cell reproduction (cancer) and auto-immune diseases.
10 Changes You Can Make Right Now
- Plastic Bags - Regulations are a lot stricter these days regarding plastic bags (depending where you live) but they are still overused. I carry my own water-proof reusable bag and a canvas tote in my bag most days even when not going specifically shopping, you never know when you might need one. Keep them in a handy place at home for when doing bigger food shops, you might need a few! Also keep some in your car (or bike) and don't forget to wipe or wash them every now and again.
- Disposable cutlery - The best option is to carry your own, either separate utensils or buy a spork. I remember getting these when buying kiwis in the supermarket as a child, a knife end to cut it open and a spoon end to eat it with. Keep it in a little material pouch in your handbag. Also, I tell take away staff I do not need cutlery putting in the bag as sometimes you don't realise until you have left the store that they snuck it in there.
- Plastic Water Bottles - It's really quite simple...CARRY YOUR OWN REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE! I have both a stainless steel and glass bottle depending on what I'm using it for (the stainless steel is lighter for traveling). Keep one in your car and fill up in cafes or bathrooms with a drinking fountain. Fill it up before you leave the house and stop buying plastic! Buy a water filter for at home if you are not sure of the quality of your tap water, or you can even get your tap water tested!
- Disposable Plastic Toothbrushes - Just have a think about how many toothbrushes we get through in a lifetime, they don't biodegrade and are difficult to recycle due to the bristles and the metal holding them on. Try a bamboo one instead, they are becoming a lot more widely available.
- Plastic Toothpicks - They are not great for your teeth or the environment. Stick to using flat wooden dental sticks (not wooden cocktail sticks), safer for your gums and the animals.
- Straws - Stop using plastic straws! Buy some nice metal or glass ones for home or try to use only paper ones when out. Again, you can carry your own with your spork in your bag. Plastic straws do not break down easily and are one of the most common plastics to find washed up on the beach. Very harmful to marine wildlife.
- Take Away Coffee Cups - Most coffee cups, even though they look like they may be biodegradable are lined with plastic which makes them not. Take your own to work or ask your local coffee shop if its ok for you to bring your own cup instead. If they say no, find a new coffee shop!
- Plastic Take Away Containers - These often contain the harmful types of plastics and should not be re-used for storing or re-heating food. The best way to avoid is to not order take out, or only order from stores that have biodegradable containers. Do your research!
- Coffee Capsules - A more recent addition to the waste pollution problem. These single serving coffee pods are normally made from plastic or aluminium and are difficult to recycle, so often end up on land-fill sites. It's a trend that is very harmful to the environment. Avoid these as much as possible and either grind your own coffee or buy filter coffee for at work or home. However, there are some brands that are making 100% recyclable capsules, so if it's a must then buy these only.
- Hotel Travel Size Shampoo /Shower Gel Bottles - Just take your own re-usable bottles with you on holiday. There is so much waste from hotels and these little bottles most of which are not recycled and they also waste a lot of the shampoo, shower gel etc. Buy you own travel size glass containers and fill with your favourite products. The ones in the hotel should be a last resort.
I hope this list gives you some ideas to make your home a bit more eco-friendly and plastic free. It's a start to becoming a #zerowaste home. More articles to come on how to have a greener home.