10 ways to re­duce your use of plas­tics

Countryfile Magazine - - Springwatch -

1 DITCH THE PLAS­TIC BAGS

Light­weight plas­tic car­rier bags – car­rier bags with a thick­ness be­low 50 mi­crons – be­come waste more quickly and are more prone to lit­ter­ing due to their light­ness. Lit­ter­ing of plas­tic car­rier bags re­sults in en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion and ag­gra­vates the wide­spread prob­lem of lit­ter in water bod­ies, threat­en­ing aquatic ecosys­tems world­wide.

2 NAT­U­RAL BEAUTY

Choose per­sonal care prod­ucts (such as scrubs and peels) that use sand, salt or co­conut rather than plas­tics par­ti­cles that re­lease mi­crobeads and nur­dles that ul­ti­mately make their way into the seas.

3 RE­US­ABLE COF­FEE CUP

Take your own recyclable cof­fee cup when you next or­der a brew. Speak to and write to those cof­fee chains that still use plas­tic straws, lids, cups and plas­tic cut­lery.

4 BUY LOOSE IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

When buy­ing from a su­per­mar­ket, choose op­tions that are not pack­aged in plas­tic. Avoid pro­cessed food, which of­ten comes in plas­tic pack­ag­ing. Buy fresh and raw in­gre­di­ents loose from shelves and cook your own meals. Con­sider or­der­ing veg­etable boxes from lo­cal farms and or­ganic sup­pli­ers. They de­liver fresh sea­sonal food plas­tic-free.

5 AVOID SYN­THETIC FI­BRES

Buy clothes made from nat­u­ral fi­bres. Many of our clothes are made from plas­tics such as polyester and acrylic. Syn­thetic fi­bres flake off in wash­ing ma­chines and en­ter the water course, set­tle on seabeds and en­ter the marine food chain. A sin­gle wash­ing cy­cle can re­lease 700,000 mi­cro­scopic fi­bres. A cam­paign last year by Green­peace spurred sev­eral out­door brands to prom­ise to end their use of PFCs in their cloth­ing and use new oil-based coat­ings that give just as good water-re­pel­lency.

6 WRITE TO PUR­VEY­ORS

Write to shops and com­pa­nies, such as train com­pa­nies and su­per­mar­kets that sell fruit and pas­tries – of­ten sin­gle items – wrapped in hard plas­tic. Urge them to switch to re­us­able or fully com­postable al­ter­na­tives.

7 TIDY A BEACH

Take part in a beach clean. Spend just two min­utes do­ing a lit­ter pick on the beach. Spread the word by doc­u­ment­ing your ef­forts on­line with the hash­tag #twomin­ute­beach­clean.

8 THINK DIF­FER­ENT

Look at al­ter­na­tives for other ev­ery­day items, such as tooth­brushes made from bam­boo rather than plas­tic, or or­ganic cot­ton buds with 100% biode­grade­able card sticks. You can re­fill empty laun­dry de­ter­gent bot­tles at lo­cal stores or con­sider beeswax food wraps rather than cling film made from crude oil.

9 RE­PORT NUR­DLES

Nur­dles are the pre-pro­duc­tion plas­tic pel­lets used in plas­tics man­u­fac­tur­ing, and they end up in our oceans in their mil­lions due to mis­han­dling and ac­ci­den­tal spilling in in­dus­try. Nur­dles at­tract and con­cen­trate back­ground pol­lu­tants such as DDT and PCBs to highly toxic lev­els. They are of­ten mis­taken for food by marine and bird life. They don’t biode­grade – over time they sim­ply frag­ment into smaller and smaller par­ti­cles. If you find any nur­dles, you can regis­ter them at nur­dle­hunt.org.uk

10 RE­DUCE CON­SUMP­TION

Cut down your own con­sump­tion – and not just of ob­vi­ous plas­tic. A great deal of the plas­tic is­sues around cloth­ing, for ex­am­ple, could be ad­dressed if we bought fewer new clothes in re­sponse to sea­sonal fash­ion drives, and resold or re­pur­posed the ones we have. Sev­eral cloth­ing brands such as Ra­panui Cloth­ing of­fer vouch­ers to en­cour­age cloth­ing re­turn or re­cy­cling pro­grammes.

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