The problem with plastic pollution is that the issue just seems so vast. With TV and social media showing enormous ‘islands’ of plastic building up in our oceans, and beaches being clogged with acres more of the stuff, it’s easy to feel powerless. But honestly, we can all start to make a difference, and the more of us that do (and pass the message on), the more we can start to make a change. Six months since Sir David Attenborough highlighted the sheer scale of this issue in Blue Planet II, he’s now spearheading a brand new BBC initiative called Plastics Action, releasing a short film today outlining the UK’s effort so far, and making a call to action to every one of us to become a #plasticsaction hero and take responsibility for reducing our own plastic footprint, especially where the ‘big five’ are concerned.
Become a #plasticsaction hero: the big five
1 Reusable shopping bags
I think a lot of making the change is about forming new habits. I’ve already made quite a few changes, including keeping my trusty string shopping bag in my handbag for when I’m out and about and suddenly need a bag. When I’m doing the supermarket shop, I have a ton of all sorts of bags for life and cotton bags in the car, and try to make sure that once I’ve unpacked them, I remember to put them straight back in the car so they’re ready for next time. I’ve even plucked up the courage to rush out to the car and get them when I was halfway through my shop (the lovely ladies at Tesco customer service looked after my trolley).
2 Reusable coffee cups
As I mentioned in my last post, single use paper cups aren’t currently recyclable due to their inner polyethylene lining. It honestly desn’t take long to get used to carrying around a resuable cup, especially if you’re going somewhere that you know you’re likely to pick up a takeaway coffee. I love my Ecoffee Cup – it’s made of bamboo fibre with a lid made of food grade silicone, which should last for years. It’s dishwasher friendly, BPA and phthalate free and is quite light to carry.
3 A reusable water bottle
I’ve been caught out quite a few times by this recently. I think my biggest problem was that the bottle I had was a metal one and therefore quite heavy. It put me off carrying it around, especially when I was travelling. I’ve recently switched to an Ion8 bottle, which is much lighter and leak proof as well as being BPA free and dishwasher safe too.
4 Reusable straws
I think I’m in the minority here as I don’t like straws anyway. I’d rather drink a drink properly, even on the odd occasion we get takeaway drinks like McDonald’s (well done, Maccies, by the way, for committing to changing to paper straws from September) , I’ll still take the lid and straw off and drink from the cup. They’re not something we use at home either, but if you need straws (probably more useful if you have younger children), there are loads of different options, from bamboo and paper to these awesome hand made glass ones from StrawGrace, that even come with some special cleaning brushes and a coloured tip so you can keep track of your own straw.
5 Reusable cutlery
We have a fab Chinese restaurant by us – one of the few that actually deliver in our relatively rural area, BUT they deliver all the food in plastic lidded boxes and it drives me bonkers. Not a lot you can do about that until they decide to change their packaging, but if you’re out and about and buying takeaway food, you could always pack a little set of bamboo cutlery in your bag. I love this little bamboo spork from Planet Organic (£1.99) – so easy to keep in your handbag. And if you’re out and about and really committed, you can even take your own packaging, and ask for your takeaway food to be placed in that.
I’d absolutely love it if you would join me and become a #plasticsaction hero with Sir David Attenborough. Together, we can all do our bit to save the planet. Click here to pick a #plasticsaction and make a difference: BBCPlasticsAction.