7 Ways You Can Ditch Plastic Today… And The Worrying Reason You Need To

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After recent news, it’s clearer than ever we need to ditch plastic ASAP.

 

The worrying reason UK readers need to ditch plastic right now

 

A few weeks ago, I felt so proud as I read this article from the Guardian reporting that Wales is the second best household waste recycler in the world, second only to Germany, who we were on track to overtake within the next year or two.

 

I mean, hell YES. I don’t need convincing that us Welsh ones are amazing, but this is icing on the cake for me. At least, it was: until I read this article from the Telegraph reporting that the UK is no longer able to take care of the massive amounts of plastic it needs to recycle. China has implemented in import ban on plastics for recycling, meaning that unless the UK Government can find somewhere else to export our recycling or find a way to do it here, all the plastics we “recycle” will either be burned (releasing toxic fumes into the air) or sent to landfill anyway.

 

The frustrating thing is, the UK Government has known this was to become an issue since last summer. What have they done about it? You guessed it – nothing! In an ideal world, we would be able to trust our Government to react to anticipated problems accordingly. Since that hasn’t happened, it’s up to us. Again. Great.

 

rubbish, plastics
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

 

7 ways to ditch plastic you can start this week

 

Thirsty while shopping? Swap plastic bottles for cans.

 

Even for those of us that have smoothie cups, a KeepCup or a water bottle, there will always be a time that you have forgotten it. At this point, you might well grab a bottle of water or (if you’re like me) sugar-free cola. STOP. This will go to landfill or be burned either way, remember? Grab a can instead.

 

drinks can on the beach
Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

 

Put spare carrier bags everywhere.

 

I really do mean EVERYWHERE. Put a small bag in the pocket of every coat. Put a few more in your regular handbag. Put some in your car. Put some in your partner’s coat, the children’s bags, literally everywhere you might actually need a bag. When your bags wear through, don’t buy more plastic ones: either buy bags made from cotton, jute or other fabrics or make your own out of your old clothes.

 

reusable bag
Photo by Katy Belcher on Unsplash

 

Stop ordering takeaways.

 

I love Kung Po Tofu. It’s probably one of my favourite treat meals, something I reward myself with after an extra-productive week, or an extra-stressful week. It’s hot, sweet and has cashews and chilli flakes scattered through it. The fried tofu drinks up the flavoursome sauce, releasing bursts of kung po flavour with every bite… and it also happens to be delivered in a plastic dish. As does the rice. And the noodles. And pretty much everything else I order from the Chinese at the same time. That was fun while it lasted – time to get experimenting in the kitchen! Pretty much any flavour you can get from a Chinese takeaway, you can get from a glass jar in Sainsbury’s. Just saying.

 

tofu
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

 

Refuse straws – even if they’re already handed to you.

 

Short of walking around with a big badge saying “Keep Your F***ing Straws”, it’s inevitable you will be given a straw at some point. Perhaps you forgot to say when ordering, or perhaps they didn’t hear you. If you’re given a straw and you take it away anyway, your server will think nothing of it. If you give it straight back and make it clear you don’t want it, maybe they’ll think about it more next time. Even if that straw has already landed in your drink, give it back!

 

straws
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

 

Refuse food packaging.

 

If you can buy food without the packaging, then do it – carrots and broccoli are fine naked in the trolley as you wash them before you cook them anyway. If you have to buy food with packaging, opt for cardboard, paper, glass or metal where you can. Where you can’t, leave it at the point of sale. This is their unnecessary packaging, and it should be theirs to deal with.

 

plastic packaging, bread, crow
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

 

Switch to paper stems.

 

Did you know plastic stemmed cotton buds are the sixth most common type of marine litter found on UK beaches? Some supermarkets and high street brands have made the switch to rolled paper, which will disintegrate – make sure you’re using them!

 

 

Take a plastic waste audit.

 

As sexy as this doesn’t sound, the action couldn’t be much simpler. Simply chart all of the plastic you use in a week and make a commitment to eliminate the plastics showing up most often. Whether you’ve just read this post or have spent the last hour reading posts from all over the web, chances are we won’t have an answer for everything. That’s because, like everything else, household waste is subjective, changing with the habits of the user. Tape a piece of paper to the recycling box and get the whole family to participate.

 

So there you have it – this won’t solve everything, but this is a great place for us to start without having to rely on the powers that be to get the job done. Of course, there is more you can do: write to your local councillor to find out what your local authority plans to do with their plastic waste. Ask your MP to hold the Government to account and put pressure on them to act.

 

Act now – what is the first thing you will do to ditch plastics today?

 

If you've been thinking of going #plasticfree in the UK, there's never a better time. Here are some easy, simple tips for ditching plastic that you can do today!

Rhyming with WineMummies Waiting

Take action. Reduce plastic waste now.
Get a free plastic audit printable and more exclusive content when you join the Inspire Create Educate community.
You'll get a weekly email from Lauren and access to the vault. You can unsubscribe at any time.

18 thoughts on “7 Ways You Can Ditch Plastic Today… And The Worrying Reason You Need To

  1. I watched Blue Planet when it was aired several weeks ago, and am ashamed to say I’d never really thought about where all the plastic “goes” when we’ve done with it.
    Really brought home how just because we can’t see it anymore,doesn’t mean its disappeared altogether.It’s not a case of out of sight, out of mind.It affects all of us.
    Since then,I’ve been trying to use plastic as little as I can. It’s second nature to take a bag to the shops with me now, and you have a good point about straws. Will start to refuse them when out and about too and just have the drink without them,it won’t be a hardship!

    1. I still haven’t watched Blue Planet as I don’t watch much TV (is that weird?) but I’ve seen bits about it on social media and it’s had an amazing effect on people. I really hope people take what they’ve seen and put it into action!

  2. I’m listening to the news this morning and you need to be advising the government! I take a water bottle everywhere but I never thought about the times I run out and buy a bottle on the run. Can suggestions has made me think. Very topical and important issue. #DreamTeam

    1. I love it! If I thought for a second they would listen, I would march down there and give them a piece of my mind. (Well, take the train, but you know what I mean).

      Have been tempted to save all my plastic waste for a week and snail mail it to Michael Gove, who is responsible for this mess. I still haven’t chickened out!

  3. Love this. We all need to do better with this. I’ve taken to taking a bamboo coffee cup with me now so don’t have to use the plastic lined disposal types. I hope the government sorts out a ban on mixed packaging soon . I hate the mixed cardboard and plastic cartons some things come in. Spend ages on a Sunday night ripping things apart for the recycling boxes. #thelistlinky

    1. It’s not just mixed packaging, but any plastic packaging which bothers me now tbh. Why can’t I put my fresh veggies in a paper bag?

  4. It’s my new year’s resolution to use less plastic. Takeaway coffee is my vice, so making sure I have my reusable at all times is my new thing. This is a great list, and yes NO TO STRAWS!!!

    one thing I am struggling with is teabags which apparently have plastic in them! #thelistlinky

    1. I’m not sure if all do, but the best way around tea bags would be to buy loose leaf tea. I had a gorgeous glass tea pot with a strainer from my mum last year. I mostly use it for herbal tea, but you’ve reminded me to pick up some loose leaf breakfast!

  5. Great tips. The straw one is easy enough to implement and I am guilty of it – no more for 2018! Like another person who has posted on here I watched Blue Planet and was ashamed of man-kind. Every school – primary and secondary – should show it so that the youth of today are aware of their impact on the planet. Thanks for the advice. #TheList

  6. Some really great ideas here. With regards to the takeaway boxes, I like the ones which are like reusable tupperware, as I do then put them through the dishwasher and reuse as tupperware for leftovers etc. I’m a member of the WI, and one of our resolutions this year is to tackle plastic waste, so these are great! Thank you for linking this to #DreamTeam!

    1. We probably have been guilty of a few too many Chinese meals over the past year or so… we have a whole stack of the takeaway boxes and it’s gotten to the point where any more boxes will have to go into the recycling.

    1. That’s the best place to start! It’s so easy to just pick up a bag in store without thinking. I think the plastic bag charge did wonders here in Wales.

  7. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – thanks for the tips. I definitely need to stash bags in more places, and stop underestimating how much I’m going to buy!!!
    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the #BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂

  8. You are preaching to the choir here, and I love the message and share it so our choir gets bigger! This seems so easy and simple to me, and you, yet… Keep it up! #ditchtheplastic #blogcrush xoxo

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