How to minimise plastic when you're away from home?
Now that the COVID restrictions have relaxed, we're likely to be away from our homes much more frequently over coming weeks. Whether you’re travelling or just running errands, you’ll likely encounter a lot of single-use plastic whilst on-the-go. This type plastic is a significant contributor to the 380 million tonnes of plastic used every year, of which around 50% is single-use!
Why we use so much plastic on the goWe often use single-use plastic on-the-go for the sake of convenience – or because we simply have no other option. However, single-use plastics have a significant negative impact on our environment and associated wildlife.
Plastic is an extremely durable material, but it's one that lingers in our environment, in some form or another, for centuries after we dispose of it. This may be partially justifiable for plastic items that reach the end of their life after we've owned and used them for years – but when it comes to single-use plastic, frequency of disposal becomes incredibly problematic. Often, an item we use for only a few seconds, minutes, or perhaps days at best, will sit around in the environment for hundreds of years, degrading over time and impacting the surrounding eco-system for generations.
Thankfully, each of us can play our part in reducing single-use plastic consumption and limiting plastic pollution.
5 ways to reduce plastic consumption when out and about
1. Pack a bamboo straw
Plastic straws are some of the easiest plastic products to avoid.
By carrying a bamboo straw with you, you’ll always have a much more sustainable – plastic-free, reusable and compostable – alternative on hand. You could also choose not to use a straw when sipping your favourite cocktail.
2. Invest in a reusable coffee cup
Did you know that single-use coffee cups are lined with a plastic layer and recycling them is very difficult?
Switch to a plastic-free reusable coffee cup – it will also likely get you a discount at the coffee shop!
3. An organic cotton tote for life
Most grocery stores have been promoting so-called bags for life – plastic bags which are meant to be reused. However, these can be very fragile and may rip after just a few uses meaning they end up in landfill pretty quickly!
Get a real bag for life – an organic cotton tote which will hold-up through hundreds of grocery trips.
4. Bring your own cutlery
If you're buying food on the go, there’s an increasing chance you’ll be able to have it in a paper container. That being said, most accompanying cutlery will still be plastic. Pack your own plastic-free set! Bamboo travel cutlery is light and practical, or you may just want to take the cutlery you use at home if you’re on a bit of a budget.
5. Pick up litter
This tip will not reduce your plastic consumption in the same way our previous suggestions will, but it’s a great way to play your part in reducing plastic pollution.
When on the go, pick up any litter you see and place in a nearby recycle bin – go beyond just reducing your own impact.