Did you know that only 9% of the plastic produced to date has been recycled? And that, by 2050, if our attitude to plastic usage doesn’t change, there will be more plastic waste in the sea than fish? You’ve probably seen the videos on social media of the plastic bags and other plastic pollution plaguing our oceans. It’s just part of a wider movement to make us stop and think about how much plastic we consume in our everyday lives for the benefit of our planet, our animals and our own health. In fact, researchers are beginning to link the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), found in many plastics, to a range of health risks for humans.
Funnily enough, it’s often the plastics we get for free that most fuel our throwaway culture. Items like plastic straws, cutlery and cups that are used once and then discarded. Yet, the introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge in 2015 shows that it’s not impossible to change old habits. Back in 2014, over 7.6 billion single-use plastics were given away by England’s largest supermarkets – that’s around 140 bags per person! Since the scheme was introduced, the number of plastic bags used has reduced by around 80%, because we’ve altered our mindset and remembered to bring our own reusable bags. It’s not that tricky, is it?
So, we’ve made good progress with plastic bags, but the waste doesn’t end there. Heard of the ‘latte levy’? MPs are discussing a 25p levy on disposable coffee cups – we throw away some 2.5 billion each year due to their plastic lining. Waitrose recently announced they’re planning to say goodbye to these cups - their loyal customers will only be able to receive their free hot drink in a cup they’ve brought in themselves. It sounds like a step in the right direction, but we don’t have to wait for these kinds of changes to do our bit to put a stop to plastic pollution. There are plenty of small swaps we can all do to start thinking more sustainably about our plastic waste. We’re doing our bit by stocking some planet-friendly alternatives to throwaway plastic. Get to know some of our favourites:
As retro paper straws have become pretty trendy, there are plenty of places that are starting to ditch the plastic variety. If you’re out and about, start saying no to straws in bars and pubs which haven’t yet made the switch. If you’re hosting a party, ensure you seek out some fun paper-patterned straws and recycle them. We like ours from Sunnylife – flamingo straws are much more fun anyway!
Sustainable Travel Mugs and Water Bottles
Remember to carry your own travel mug and water bottle and you’ll actually save money. Some coffee shops offer a discount to those who bring their own mug. And, by using your water bottle, you’ll never have to pay for an overpriced bottle of water at the train station again. We like ours from Sip by S’well – their BPA-free, eco-friendly technology ensures your hot drinks stay warm for 12 hours and your cold stays chilled for 24. Plus, their designs are on-trend, fun and stylish!
Once you’ve made the switch to reusable tote bags for your grocery shopping, you’ll never go back! While many shops promote Bags for Life, these just can’t compete with sturdy canvas bags that don’t stretch or end up with holes in from your cereal box’s corners. Plus, have loads of stylish tote bags featuring glittery initials – this way, no one can steal yours!
they’ve become a new way to accessorise or promote your favourite cause. In store, we
With summer coming up, we’re starting to dream about alfresco dining and impromptu picnics. But don’t give in to plastic plates, tableware and cutlery for your outdoor feast. Instead, choose tableware made from bamboo. Orla Kiely’s gorgeous new bamboo collection is much more Instagram-ready than plastic, too!
And if you want to add a summery-twist to your work lunches, Sunnylife’s zesty yellow eco lunches boxes are ideal. They’re BPA free, made from bamboo and just as durable as the plastic versions. We think your colleagues will be oh-so envious!
These are just four of the small swaps you can make to help reduce how much plastic you consume and have a little fun while doing so! As soon as you give it some thought, you’ll notice just how much plastic waste we each generate and you’ll be itching to do something about it.