How much is the typical UK person contributing to the national problem of plastic waste? Publicity has picked up around the UK’s widespread plastics usage since the start of 2018 when it was revealed that China would no longer accept the 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste that we, until recently, shipped over to be “disposed of” (i.e. buried in large land mines). Already, key figures in the British Recycling Association are noting the build-up of plastics in recycling yards and calling for immediate action to take place.
So what does one day of our plastic consumption look like?
I decided to take the challenge and record my plastic usage usage for one simple week-day. The results are surprising!
8:30 am: Shower time – shower gel held in a plastic container, and a new toothbrush head means small plastic packet wasted.
9 am: Porridge in a paper sachet – feeling slightly smug except for the apple that I added in which was stored in a plastic bag, whoops. And milk from a plastic carton…
11 am: Kitkat chunky bar – one plastic wrapper down.
1:30 pm: Salad in a plastic box from the shop with a plastic knife and fork included. Luckily, my drink is in a reusable water bottle brought from home.
3 pm: Yogurt and a hot chocolate. The yoghurt comes in a plastic pot, and the hot chocolate powder comes in a plastic sachet. Also, I pick up a delivery from ASOS that comes in plastic packaging (two layers).
6 pm: A pre-dinner snack of carrots and houmous. Houmous in a plastic tub and carrots kept in plastic packaging.
7:30 pm: Spaghetti bolognese – mince in a plastic tub, peppers bought separately in a plastic bag, mushrooms in a plastic box, ketchup (secret ingredient) in a plastic bottle, and spaghetti in a plastic packet. Not a very environment-friendly meal…
9 pm: Chocolate craving – (oopsies)
The majority of my plastic usage is related to food, it’s clear that some plastic use is unavoidable with supermarkets and packaging companies using vast amounts of plastic to case their products. However, there are small things that we can do each day to reduce the amount of plastic we consume:
● Carry a reusable water bottle
● Say no to plastic straws (even if it means ruining your lipstick on a night out)
● Take your own cutlery (no plastic disposables)
● Carry a plastic bag with you at all time for emergencies in case you have to do an urgent shop!
● Always read the labels and recycle when possible.
Does this surprise you? Is there anything else we could be doing to help solve this plastic problem? If you want to make a change (and want to be stylish), buy a t-shirt and get involved! Make a donation to make a difference!