Last July we re­ported on the alarm­ing im­pact throw­away plas­tics are hav­ing on our ecosys­tem. As the is­sue con­tin­ues to be as news­wor­thy as ever, here are some sug­ges­tions on how you can make a dif­fer­ence

Country Living (UK) - - Contents -

Sug­ges­tions on how to make a dif­fer­ence ev­ery day

Have your milk de­liv­ered

At Coun­try Liv­ing we’re all for em­brac­ing a bit of nos­tal­gia (who doesn’t have fond mem­o­ries of a time when two bot­tles of ‘sil­ver top’ would ar­rive on the doorstep each morn­ing?). As well as in­vok­ing times past, the milk­man’s tra­di­tional glass bot­tles are re­turned, washed and reused, thus avoid­ing the need for plastic. As a re­sult, milk-de­liv­ery ser­vices across the UK are re­port­ing an in­crease in sub­scribers. Find one near you at find­meamilk­man.net.

Sup­port the in­de­pen­dents

If you needed an­other rea­son to fre­quent the butcher, baker, green­gro­cer, fish­mon­ger or deli on your high street, re­duc­ing your plastic us­age could be it. They tend to use much less pack­ag­ing than the su­per­mar­ket, of­ten opt for pa­per rather than plastic bags and may well be more on board with you bring­ing your own con­tainer for items such as cheese. If you do need to pop into the su­per­mar­ket, choose loose fruit and veg and take small cot­ton bags to put them in, or look by the mush­rooms, where they of­ten have pa­per bags. Pick un­wrapped bread over pack­eted loaves.

Shop at farm­ers’ mar­kets

“Not only can you buy lots of loose pro­duce at farm­ers’ mar­kets and farm shops, but there’s also a more di­rect route from the grower or pro­ducer to your shop­ping bag, which means less pack­ag­ing is used to trans­port and store the pro­duce, too,” says Ju­lian Kirby, waste cam­paigner for Friends of the Earth.

Use a han­kie

An­other tra­di­tion that may well be worth re-in­tro­duc­ing. In­vest in wash­able cot­ton hand­ker­chiefs in­stead of pack­ets of plastic-wrapped tis­sues.

Say no to plastic straws

They are among the top ten items found in beach cleans, ac­cord­ing to the Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety. En­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary Michael Gove has said they are to be banned in Bri­tain next year (along with plastic stir­rers and cot­ton buds), but un­til then ask for your drink to be served with­out one. If you need to use a straw, try a re­us­able ti­ta­nium one or 100 per cent nat­u­ral pa­per ones, both of which you can find at ecos­trawz.co.uk.

Buy a Gup­pyfriend

Clothes made of syn­thetic ma­te­ri­als, such as fleece jack­ets, shed tiny plastic fi­bres into the water dur­ing wash­ing. They are too small to be fil­tered out by most sewage-treat­ment plants, so end up in wa­ter­ways and the sea. Wash fleeces in­side a Gup­pyfriend (£27.99, beach­clean.shop) – a clever mesh bag that traps the plastic mi­crofi­bres when clothes are in the wash­ing ma­chine. In fu­ture, con­sider choos­ing gar­ments made of nat­u­ral fi­bres, such as cot­ton or wool.

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