Plastic waste causes significant burden to landfill sites, dioxin emissions and pollution of natural habitats. Wildlife is at risk due to the excess of plastic, which they either end up ingesting or becoming trapped in. Reducing plastic in the environment is, therefore, very important.
The UK is drowning in plastic and since China banned foreign imports of rubbish for recycling, the problem is set to get worse. By 2030, environmental pressure groups have estimated a 33% increase in the amount of discarded plastic if people don’t change their habits. Finding ways to modify personal consumption and reduce the use of plastic products is vital to the future sustainability of the country and the planet.
Use Re-Usable Shopping Bags
It is thought that plastic shopping bags will take between 100-700 years to biodegrade. Using cloth bags can reduce landfill burden. Customers who shop online can also choose to order bag free or to return their shopping bags for recycling, for a reduction off their bill.
Don’t use plastic cutlery, straws, coffee cups or plastic sandwich bags. Paper sandwich bags and reusable cutlery can be used instead. Reject plastic toothbrushes. Alternatives are available made of wood, bamboo or with a removable brush so the plastic handle doesn’t have to be thrown away.
Recycle Plastic Bottles and Containers
Nearly all plastics can be recycled but the government kerbside collection may not collect all types of plastics. If an item isn’t collected by the local council, householders and businesses can hire a waste management company for their plastic waste recycling.
Use Cloth Nappies and Menstrual Products
Disposable nappies are a major environmental hazard, with more than 3 billion plastic-containing nappies thrown away every year. They don’t biodegrade, placing a significant burden on landfill sites. The same is true for disposable menstrual products. The average woman throws away 11,000 pads or tampons during her reproductive lifetime and they don’t break down. Using cloth nappies, pads or sea sponges are a much eco-friendly alternative.
Single use products and plastic are catastrophic to the planet. People can do their bit by recycling and making changes to their purchasing habits. This will reduce landfill pollution and harmful emissions, while reducing the need to manufacture new plastics.