In the last 10 years, the world has produced more plastic than it did in the whole of the last century - that’s a lot of plastic! We’ve all heard of the negative impact plastic consumption is having on the environment and year after year we’re told of the ever increasing amount of plastic that’s being used in daily life, and the damage this is causing.
The amount of plastic we use around the world does harm the environment, plants, oceans and animals; that’s without mentioning the pollution and emissions that are created from creating plastic materials to begin with.
Sadly, completely avoiding using plastic in daily family life is near enough impossible and it would require a number of big changes; many of which just aren’t plausible for a busy family. However, there are a lot of different ways for a family to reduce plastic consumption day to day with ease.
Reducing Plastic Consumption In Daily Family Life
Reducing plastic consumption as a family is simple and there are a number of small lifestyle changes that make a big different. Whether you’re a beach user who has noticed the increased amount of plastic that has been washing up, are concerned about harming sea animals and marine life or you enjoy watersports at the weekend and would rather complete your activity without worrying about plastic trash, you’re sure to appreciate how necessary it is that we try to reduce the amount of plastic we use.
- Avoid using plastic straws wherever possible. Plastic straws are used once and then thrown away, especially in restaurants. Consider buying a reusable straw - stainless steel and glass options are both available - to cut down on waste.
- Instead of using different plastic bags every time you go to the grocery store or shopping mall, take a reuseable shopping bag. Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to degrade and they are rarely used more than once, simply because they break easily and are low quality. By buying a reusable bag you are immediately cutting down on the amount of plastic waste.
- Plastic bottles are used everywhere and more often than not they disposed of when finished. Instead of opting for plastic, try and find a cardboard alternative. Household cleaning products, water and laundry supplies are all available in boxes rather than bottles.
- Did you know that the average American uses 167 water bottles each year? Rather than bulk buying bottles of water, invest in a good quality reusable water bottle and refill it at home.
- Many supermarkets and groceries will reuse plastic containers for fruit and vegetables if you ask them. Rather than taking them and throwing them away, transfer your produce into a container from home and let the store reuse the plastic.
- If you’re a coffee lover who often grabs a takeaway coffee on the way to work or during the school run, take your own reusable insulated coffee mug along. Most coffee shops will put the coffee into your own thermos, rather than using one of their plastic or paper containers.
- When packing a packed lunch or picnic, do so using long-lasting reusable container. Though many are made from plastic, they last a long time and produce a lot less waste than if you were to use a ‘throw away’ plastic alternative every time.
- Though disposable diapers or nappies are convenient, they actually produce some of the most plastic waste around the world. Cloth diapers reduce waste and save money.
- A lot of frozen food is packaged using plastic and even those that appear to be in a cardboard box are likely to have a plastic coating. Cut down on the amount of plastic used by buying fresh food and freezing it, or cutting down on frozen food altogether.
- Ditch the disposable razors in favour of those with replaceable blades. Instead of throwing a plastic razor away after a few shaving sessions, you’ll be able to use a higher quality product for a longer period of time.
It is important to remember that making these small lifestyle changes doesn’t just cut down the amount of plastic consumption and waste in your home, it also has a much bigger impact. Making plastic products creates a lot of pollution and has a huge carbon footprint; both of which have a negative effect on marine life and the world around us. By buying and using less plastic, you are reducing the overall amount of plastic that needs to be produced worldwide.
Many people assume that these small changes won’t make a difference and it’s not uncommon to hear someone say something along the lines of “I’m only one person, what good can I do?” - this is the wrong attitude to have. If everyone begins to make small changes to the way they use plastic as a family, it won’t be long before the environment and oceans reap the benefits.