The individual actions on plastic that really do add up

It’s that time of year again where lots of us re-assess things. We’re not for the whole ‘New Year/New Me’ thing. But we are for those moments where we look at our lives and think about the positive changes we’d like to make. For our health, mind, pockets and the planet.

Single Use Plastic Pollution is endemic. It’s also a massive contributor to climate crisis. And it is poisoning the land, ocean and everything that lives here. It’s also something we DO have the power to tackle. Yes we need system change and the producers need to get a conscience. But we can also refuse to buy single use plastic. Which saves us money and is also healthier too,  a few other resolution hits in there if you’re making them 🙂

You can get an individual action plan to cut single use plastic here … and coming up are our top three suggestions:

Refill

38.5 million plastic drinks bottles are bought in the UK every day. Half end up polluting the environment. The other half are recycled, using up precious energy and resources. And it costs a fortune when you add up how much is spent on all those bottles of water and fizzy drinks.

In another breath, seven million disposable coffee cups are used each day in the UK. 99% end up polluting the environment in one way or another. ‘Compostable’ ‘ bio-degradable’ cups are just as bad. Plus they perpetuate single-use, throwaway culture. What can we do?

Top Tip One: Refuse single use bottles and never pay for water again. Tap water is free and perfectly safe to drink. There are an abundance of refillable bottles available these days, with some costing  as little as £2. With a standard 500ml bottle of water costing around 50p, you’ll have paid for your reusable within just four uses.

If you’re a regular at your local cafe, then taking a reusable cup can get up to 50p off a hot drink every time. If you buy coffee five days a week, that saves £15 a month and almost £170 a year. Definitely worth the purchase. Check out our Plastic Free Champion cafe’s here

 

Loose Fruit and Veg

Starting with another scary stat. 112,000 pieces of plastic packaging leave UK supermarkets every MINUTE in the UK. The first step to reducing it is opting for loose fruit and veg, Stores are upping what’s on offer loose – but it’s still not brilliant. Solve this by starting to get fruit and veg from the local grocer or farm stall/shop instead.

‘But that’s really expensive’ we heard someone say? It actually isn’t. Supermarkets have done a BRILLIANT job of convincing us they’re easier and cheaper. Having said that, we’re also realistic. We are busy working people with families, bills and ‘real’ life stuff to deal with too. The first step is to check out local grocers and farm stalls and work out how to build a weekly visit into your routine. Then do it.

This action has a few ripple effects too. It can lower food miles, supports local businesses, we’re more likely to eat seasonally and we also get more for our money on meal prep, as it kick-starts more cooking from scratch using quality home-grown produce

Veg box schemes are fab too. This option needs a shift in how we organise food prep and budget, but it’s doable and will mean we’re eating more in line with what’s actually available locally.

Take a Packed Lunch 

Have you noticed how much cash you saved during Covid by not buying lunch on the go each day? It may save a few minutes on a morning but the (very expensive) habit of buying lunch in single use packaging everyday has a huge impact on the environment.

Take your average meal deal of £3 a day, that’s a saving of £60 a month already … and if you’re throwing weekend food on the go into the mix you can save over a thousand pound a year for the sake of grabbing a reuseable tin or box and using tupperware to pack your own. YOu could go total hipster and put it in a glass jar.

However you choose to contain your lunch, it’s a great way to avoid food waste too, by boxing up leftovers to have for lunch the next day. We obviously encourage treats days. Make sure to support our local plastic free champion cafes and outlets for the Friday splurge, or whenever you fancy a takeout, who will make sure your lunch is packed responsibly.

Just three things can save a HUGE amount of plastic, money and also positively impact our health. You can get more ideas here and if you want to look at wider, achievable eco-changes for 2023, check out this blog from Sustainable PZ.

Remember to share your own tips and journey on our social platforms so we can all find ways that work together. Just hop on to our Facebook or Insta accounts and comment.