The Problem with Plastic

Just before Christmas we had a bit of a crisis in the Devonald house. Due to various goings on we managed to forget to put the weekly recycling out for collection. The problem is, our plastic recycling bag is filled to bursting week in and week out. After a fortnight with no collection we ended up swimming in waste plastic. Something tells me we are not the only household with this problem as the media spotlight is currently on plastic waste. 

How to stop the plastic madness? 

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to plastic us Devonalds are a bit lazy. So, what are the easiest and cheapest ways we can all start to reduce plastic waste in our lives? Here is a quick guide to move forward after hearing the recent rallying cry ‘STOP using plastic straws!’ 

1 – Single use plastic water bottles 

Get a refillable water bottle and fill up from the tap. A lot of coffee shop chains will let you refill with tap water for free whilst you are out and about. If you are not so keen on your tap water flavour, you could invest in a copper jug or water filter system. Just boiling tap water and leaving it to cool in a large jug can also taste nicer. 

If you are more of a hot drink person, grab a refillable coffee cup. Most coffee shop chains now give a discount if you bring a travel mug. Keep your barista happy with a Keepcup, it fits under coffee machines and looks stylish.  

2 – Veggies  

Ditch the over-packaged supermarket fruit and veg. The unnecessary bananas in plastic bags and shrink-wrapped swede to name just two. Why not try fellow employee-owned Riverford Organic Food who deliver veg boxes straight to your front door? 

But if you decide to stick with the supermarket shop go with the loose fruit and veg. Head over to the mushrooms and grab the paper bags to stop it all rolling around your trolley. 

3 – Supermarket Sweep 

There are a number of things we can do to help the environment when at the supermarket. Arguably they are the biggest culprits for bringing plastic into our households. It’s only by changing our habits that they will change theirs. Buy in bulk. We all know you can save pennies this way, but it saves packaging too. Also, take a quick look around, can you spot a non-plastic wrapped alternative to what you want? Heck, encourage the new year diet and skip the individually-wrapped snacks? 

If you want to dig a little deeper you can change the supermarket you go to. Icelandare removing plastic from own-brand packaging and have pledged to become plastic-free by 2023. Checkout the new zero waste shop Preserve on Gloucester Road. Take your own containers and fill up on a growing selection of products from organic food to washing liquids. 

4 – Scrubbing Up 

Go old school cool and swap out the bottled shower gel for soap. If you want to get a real lather up like the shower gel, pop it into a little felt pocket, it helps. 

Wet wipes – ugh. These little blighters get everywhere and take eons to decompose. Just stop using them. Easier said than done I know, but you really will be helping the environment if you do. Check out Pinterest for some crafty reusable wet-wipe alternatives that you can make at home. 

5 – I second that 

Buy second hand. There are some amazing bargains to be found in charity shops, from books to clothes to DVDs and toys. You can save money and feel good. Ebay can have some hidden treasures – especially this time of year as people get rid of unwanted Christmas gifts. Antique stores have brilliant pre-loved furniture that will outlast any of the self-assembly stuff we have all fallen in love with these days. 

What about the little things? They all add up after all. To name a few – we can make a point of avoiding plastic glitter, we can purchase non-plastic tea-bags and we can check all cosmetic products for microbeads at beatthemicrobead.org and avoid the naughty ones not covered in the government ban. Last but not least, if you can’t avoid it, make sure you recycle it! 

Here in the Ovation office we are taking a good look at our impact on the environment. To start with Adrian and Chris now drive hybrid electric cars and there are no more plastic bottles in meetings – thank you to our client Robert. We will keep you up to date with our progress throughout the year. 

Let’s face it, once our eyes have been opened to the heap of plastic, we create daily, we will want to reduce it. A quick google search ‘reducing plastic’ will inspire you with more ways to remove plastic before it can even get into your house. Let us know how you get on and share some great tips with us on social media. Visit us on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

(plastic fish image – Erik Forsberg)

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