Reducing plastic, how and why?

Plastics are made by manufacturers in many ways for many reasons, to create ‘convenience’ for products or to incorporate slogans and eye-catching colours to promote the sale of a product.

As we have seen over the last six or so years many retailers or food suppliers have reduced the use of plastic. Such as charging a consumer for the use of a plastic carrier bag, changing a plastic straw to a paper straw, or adding a big label to products to inform the buyer that the packaging is recyclable and the newer one that I have seen is a label to inform the buyer that the packaging is now lesser than it was before. How did it start?

Well, Plastic was invented in 1947, then around 1972 was when the recycling of plastics first began, if my calculations are correct there is a gap of around twenty-four years’ worth of used plastic which has just been discarded into landfill and the environment. That is twenty-four full years of plastics polluting the land, plants, water, and air without any recycling or knowledge around reusing plastic. This appears to be the foundations of the plastic pollution which we see today.

Of course, the use of plastic did not slow down at this point, fast food restaurants became more popular and more accessible, large supermarkets became more accessible, more and more products were being created and invented. Of course, with the production of plastic increasing to meet demands, an awareness was increasing but was it enough?

Are we all aware that It can take anywhere up to fifteen years to four hundred and fifty years for a single use plastic to decompose and during the decomposition, dangerous gasses and chemicals are released into the environment? Are we all aware that the UK has wasted 8960 pounds of plastic this year already, around 4,072 bags of sugar, that is roughly 11 lengths of a football pitch! Imagine how long that will take to decompose and how much harmful gasses will be released, how much will pollute the water we and the nature drink from or pollute the air we and the nature breathe. Are we aware that plastic pollution kills an estimated 100 million marine animals each year?

Some people are aware and looking for ways they can independently support the reduction of this amount or to support the organisations and small businesses which dedicate their work, to create awareness and to clear the environment to keep nature and all that lives in it safe.

How can you make a little change? Change an on-the-go-snack from a wrapped chocolate bar to a piece of fruit or a vegetable, do not buy a one-use water bottle treat yourself to a funky reusable water bottle which you can take out with you anywhere! Do not forget that bag for life! Have one with you all the time, a small hessian bag can roll up quite small and fit in any handbag or pocket! Once you have ran out, buy biodegradable personal care products like bamboo toothbrushes, hairbrushes and even razors, swap the plastic cotton buds to bamboo cotton buds, plus they look much nicer on display. When lunching at work or on days out use bees wax wrap instead of cling film to keep food fresh, its reusable, easy to clean and brightens up your packed lunch to! Donate to marine charities, support organisations which work with such charities by buying your water bottles or little treats from there as you know the money will be going towards an amazing cause.

Share the important things on social media, not that meme or silly video which all your friends and family members will forget about next week, promote them to change their ways for us to remember the world as we know it yesterday.

Written by foreverwild Ambassador, Layla Phillips