Could you go a whole day without using single-use plastics? Sounds easy, right? WAKEcup recently launched the 1 day no single-use plastic challenge in aid of the Marine Conservation Society. The aim is to go a whole day without using any single-use plastics, then donate the price of your usual takeaway cuppa to the Marine Conservation Society
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Why are single-use plastics bad?
Single use plastics are made to be used once and thrown away. Although some plastics are recyclable, most aren’t. Even plastics we put in the recycling bin are often down-graded rather than recycled owing to “taint”. China (and several other countries) have banned or reduced the imports of plastic for recycling, so moving away from single-use plastics altogether is the only way forward.
11 single-use plastics to avoid while on your challenge
Coffee at home – The first step of any day that goes right is a nice, strong cuppa. Choose a decent filter coffee that doesn’t come from a plastic bag, like the Percol coffees I reviewed a while back.
Tea bags – Did you know tea bags contain plastic? PG Tips does a loose leaf tea that doesn’t have plastic packaging hidden on the inside. If you don’t have a teapot or ball, then use a cafetiere.
Food packaging – Make food from scratch as much as you can. Choose foods that come in a box or a tin instead of a plastic bag.
Takeaway cuppas – bring a reusable mug with you or sit in. Many coffee shops give a small discount for bringing your own mug, so you could well make your money back. I have a KeepCup – you can find my review here.
Lunch packaging – Bring your own lunch! Pack some sandwiches or take some soup in a Thermos.
Bottles – Bring a reusable bottle of water with you, and if you can find somewhere willing to let you fill up your bottles with pop, then use them!
Straws – if you need to use one, use a reusable one. I have steel straws (like these ones) that almost I never use. The kids love them though!
Fruit and veg bags – Fresh fruit and veg packaging is easily avoided with careful shopping. If like me you don’t have time for that, then getting a fruit or veg box from Riverford is a near perfect way to eliminate plastics (there is the odd bag of leafy greens, but there’s pretty on it). Here’s the one I get!
Carrier bags – put a bag for life in every bag and coat you own. You can get the official challenge tote here – £2 will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society from every bag.
Wet wipes – Use a damp cloth instead, with a bit of bar soap if you need to.
Cotton buds – Switch to bamboo or paper cotton buds. Paper ones can be found in most supermarkets, you just need to check the packaging.
After the challenge – making single-use plastics a thing of the past
This challenge might be fun, but change doesn’t happen overnight. To keep the momentum going, you might want to start keeping a record of what plastics you use and how often.
Once you’ve been doing that for a week or two, you’ll get a clear picture of how much you use. From those lists, you’ll be able to decide what to tackle next. Change one thing at a time, choosing items to swap that are easy to find a fix for, but also have a high impact on your plastic waste usage.
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