By 2050, if wasteful trends continue, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean. But that’s the key message. Could. Because there’s good news too. We’ve been plastic-free before. And we can be again.
Chemical recycling is taking off. Enzymes are being martialled to break down plastic compounds. And the EU is already planning to recycle 10 million tonnes of plastic waste in the next five years. Plastic-free towns are even popping up around the UK.
Things are being done and we’re moving in the right direction. With these five simple switches you can play a part too…
- Shop for an organic product
You’ve probably heard about organic ingredients, but what about organic materials? They’re made without petroleum. Lignin, for example, is an organic polymer - the byproduct of biofuels and pulp mills. This, alongside paper and natural fibres, is replacing more and more plastic items every day.
You don’t have to worry about their harmful effects once you unbox the item or send it to the recycling centre. Just beware of polypropylene exfoliators too - microplastic that can lodge itself in your body or any animal on the beach.
- Say no to plastic straws
Only recently, plenty of people never gave a thought about ordering a double vodka at a bar, with three straws for easy sips. Now though, more of us are aware of how damaging plastic straws can be - for our planet and the animals in it.
Resist them wherever you can. At a restaurant, a bar, your kid’s birthday party… Paper straws are better for the world around us. They’re not perfect, of course - they’re more energy intensive to produce. But it’s a start.
- Give up your regular gum
It might surprise you, but gum is a major sticking point for conscious consumerism. Back in 2017, Just One Ocean estimated that chewing gum was responsible for 100,000 tonnes of the world’s annual plastic waste. With the market growing at 4.5%, that’s even higher now.
Wondering why it’s so bad? It’s due to the polymers in a gum factory - the same materials found in your car tyres. But there’s an alternative. Plenty of brands are experimenting with cane juice, birch xylitol, chicle and agave syrup in their plant-based varieties.
- Make your own juice
One of the easiest ways to ditch plastic straws and single-use plastic cartons is by creating your very own juice. Not only will you reduce your plastic waste, but homemade juices are often healthier than shop-bought alternatives.
Juicers are becoming more affordable too - with entry models priced from £30. Plus, you only have to make as much as you want - saving more juice for later, when you really want it. This forces us to think about storage and consumption…
- Ditch bags for jars at the supermarket
If you want to use less plastic, regular carrier bags should definitely be avoided. Bags For Life are a great initiative but, let’s face it, they’re often just Bags For The Under-Sink Cupboard.
So instead, plan ahead and take a selection of jars for your weekly shop. It might’ve caused a stir several years ago but, the fact is, more people are turning to mason jars to house their grains, pasta and dried fruit.
Looking for more ways to reduce plastic? Browse our hefty range of sustainable beauty, lifestyle and wellbeing brands. We’re making big moves towards plastic-free packaging and production methods. And if you’ve got any plastic-free living tips, we’d love to hear them. Drop us a message via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.