Updated: Feb 22, 2019
A few weeks ago I watched a segment on TV showing where a lot of our plastic waste is going…..into the oceans. This is having a devastating effect on marine life which end up consuming this plastic resulting in their death. Over 100 million marine animals are killed by plastic each year. It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans each year. Due to oceans’ currents this has created a plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean that nearly covers the size of Russia! And this is growing is size by 8 football fields every second!
I used to think I was doing a good deed by putting my plastic recycling into the recycle bin. I now realise how ignorant I was in thinking it actually got recycled. Sadly most of it likely ended up in our oceans.
Since watching this segment I have been trying to make a real effort to reduce my family’s plastic waste. I have made a real concerted effort to use my reuseable bags (rather than forgetting and leaving them at home), we now use reuseable food wrap, paper bags for bread rolls and I have even brought metal straws for the kids. When purchasing products I am now conscious of the environmental impact of my choices and it mystifies me how much unnecessary plastic is used.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce your plastic waste is to reduce the amount of plastic that you buy. Simple isn't it. A large percentage of plastic waste is from single use bottles. Why pay for a bottle of water when we have such fresh water from the tap. Simply refilling a drink bottle rather than buying yet another bottle of water can make a huge difference. And ditch the plastic bottles of sugary drinks. Your body will also thank you. When buying fruit and vegetables choose items that are not wrapped in plastic, they don't need it. My husband was a guilty culprit for using takeaway coffee cups. One a day (sometimes two) adds up to a lot of waste in a year yet alone a lifetime but he has since replaced these with a reuseable coffee cup.
Buying from bulk bins, using your own containers, can be a good way to reduce plastic however is not recommended for people with serious food allergies or coeliac disease due to the risk of cross contamination.
I was really amazed that the small changes our family had made created such a difference. Our weekly council rubbish bag was reduced to around 1/3 of its original size. We still have a long way to go but I am proud that we have made a start. Small changes made by each of us really can make a difference!