Today is World Environment Day, the UN’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. This year’s theme is Beat Plastic Pollution – urging us all to consider what changes we can make in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.
Plastic is a great material. We just aren’t using it properly – we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. But we all have the power to change this – guided by the principle: if you can’t reuse it, refuse it.
To help spread the word, today we wanted to highlight five simple measures you can take to reduce single use plastic consumption:
Say no to straws
This is a really simple one. Take your drink without the straw. Single use straws are typically used for less than 12 minutes before they are discarded yet the effects on wildlife and the environment lasts for generations. If you must drink from a straw, you can get reusable metal ones which can be easily stored in your handbag.
When shopping, avoid fresh produce wrapped in plastic – choose naked produce instead. We don’t need our food gift wrapped. It will be fine sitting in your cart just as it is – you’re going to wash it when you get home anyway.
Bring your own bags
Here in Western Australia, this is becoming a non-negotiable, with a plastic bag ban coming into action this month. Bring your own bags and say no to single use plastic bags. Keep some in the car for those times you just swing past the supermarket on your way home. When shopping for items other than groceries, these xx bags are a great option – they fold up and fit easily into a handbag or backpack and can fit a lot when needed!
Take a water bottle with you
Get yourself a fabulous drink bottle and fill it up before leaving the house. Think of it as an essential, along with your phone, wallet and keys – and you’ll never need to buy a single use plastic one again! That saves the planet and your hip pocket.
Use a reusable coffee cup
If you are a fan of coffee – invest in a reusable coffee cup. Keep it in your handbag or car and bring it out whenever you need a quick cup of joe. Better still, take time to sit in at the café and take five minutes to drink your coffee.
Use refillable containers for food and drink.
This one will also save you money in the long term. Purchase bulk food – package free or with less plastic packaging per gram and then use refillable containers to carry your meals and snacks. For example, instead of a 6-pack of single use yoghurts – buy a large tub and spoon some into a smaller container to take with you, which can be washed and used again and again.
As individual consumers we wield a lot of power. When enough people start demanding change, suppliers are forced to accommodate. Your individual action can make a difference towards curtailing plastic pollution.
Find out more about World Environment Day here