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7 Ways to Reduce Your Single Plastic Use

Posted on by Dunmow Waste

Single Use Plastic 2

Single-use plastics are only used once or a few times before they are thrown away. These plastics take hundreds of years to break down. Most of us have never even thought about how much plastic we use in our day to day lives but with the plastic crisis being a top media topic, it’s time we all realise how we are damaging the planet.

Here at Dunmow Waste Management, we have put together some simple ways on how you can do your bit and help reduce your single-use plastic footprint.

1- Ditch your single-use water bottle!

It’s estimated that in 2017, the UK used 13 billion plastic bottles. One simple way to break the plastic habit is to invest in a reusable, refillable water bottle. There is scheme running in the capital called ‘Refill London’ which is supported by the Mayor, spread across the city there are 2,500 water refill stations positioned to make it accessible for everyone, this not only saves you money but also reduces your carbon footprint!

2- Avoid excess packaging

When you are at your local food shop, try to buy your fruit, vegetables and bakery items that are plastic-free!  Most supermarkets are now supplying brown paper bags for all loose items or bring your own!

Supermarkets in Asia have taken the first steps to remove and avoid all pointless packaging and are using banana leaves as a binding alternative. This is a step in the right direction, hopefully, UK supermarkets will follow by this example.

3- Swap a disposable bag for a reusable one!

With the UK now charging 5p for single use carrier bags, it’s never been a better time than to skip the charge and carry a fold up, compact reusable tote bag. You can use these bags over and over again; they are strong enough to hold your groceries and you are not contributing to the plastic pollution in our oceans.

4- Say no to plastic straws!

We use an estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws every year in the UK with one straw taking 500 years to decompose. From April 2020 part of the 25-year government environmental plan is to ban one of the leading contributors to ocean pollution, plastic straws.

But don’t panic! This isn’t the end for the straw… there are many reusable, environmentally friendly alternatives such as; paper, wheat, stainless steel and glass. Some companies such as McDonalds, Wetherspoons and Nando’s and Starbucks have already started providing paper straws instead of plastic.

Making a small, simple change as to what material your straw is made from, can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and help save your planet.

5- Reusable Sandwich Wraps.

With the plastic bag usage already decreasing in the UK, you can also make a small change as to what you pop your packed lunch in! Let’s forget about tinfoil, clingfilm or sandwich bags for those sarnies and try and aim for a litter-less lunch!

There are many different types of reusable sandwich wraps on the market that you can buy online or there are even hundreds of online tutorials on how to make the reusable wrap yourself. Most of them use the same concept of using an organic cotton wrap coated with a layer of beeswax, which you can reuse for over a year, so simple but so effective for everyday use!

6- Find a milkman and save the planet.

One way to help stop our ‘throwaway’ single-use plastic culture is to revert to what we all did a few years ago. With the milkman making a comeback, you can still get your milk delivered to your front door. The milk comes in glass bottles which can be washed, sterilised and reused up to around 25 times. It’s such a simple concept, but one that can easily cut out the single-use plastic from your home. You can find your local milkman here.

7- Use Plastic-Free Refill Stations

Lathcoats Farm has introduced a ‘plastic free’ method of shopping to Chelmsford. They have displayed 32 large containers filled with pasta, couscous rice, yoghurt nuts and raisins, so you can ‘help yourself’ and fill your own plastic containers or jars. Visitors who choose to buy their food this way in the farm shop will also benefit from 25% off the price of the equivalent amount of food, helping the farm and their customers reduce their single-use plastic consumption.

Waitrose is also trialling a similar packaging-free refillable zone in a bid to reduce plastic and cut waste. What an effective and single-use plastic-free way to shop for your cupboard staples! Read more about it here.

Here at Dunmow Waste, all of the plastic that is brought into our Mid-Essex Recycling Centre is processed, sorted and sent out for further processing, diverting as much plastic away from landfill as possible.

T: 01245 466 646

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