How Can WE the Consumer Help to Reduce Single-use Plastics?

After watching several TV and Youtube documentaries on marine plastic pollution and the devastating impact on marine life, I decided to seriously review our plastic usage and recycling efforts, especially single-use plastics.

One of the most alarming facts to emerge from these documentaries is that plastic breaks down into tiny pieces (microplastics) which then enters the food chain via plankton. The plankton is then eaten by fish. And we eat fish!

According to the European Commission the 10 most common plastic objects found on European beaches and seas are:

Cigarette butts,  Drink Bottles, Food Containers, Bags, Crisp Packets/Sweet Wrappers, Balloons and Balloon Sticks, Cutlery, straws and stirrers, Cups and Lids, Cotton Buds, and Sanitary Applicators

I am heartened to read that on the 27 March 2019, The European Parliament agreed on ambitious measures, proposed by the Commission, to tackle marine litter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.

Plastic ban in certain products: Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. The ban will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons which will all have to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials instead. Single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached

 

After watching these videos, every time I see over-packaged products in shops and other single-use plastic items such as bags, condiment sachets, straws and stirrers, I want to scream. I am now looking at every item of plastic packaging in our home to see what, if and how it can be reduced or at least upcycled. While recycling is an option it is not the solution… better not to buy it in the first place!

We are literally drowning in our own plastic waste. What steps have you taken to reduce your use of single-use plastics or plastics in general?

Featured image  H. Hach from Pixabay

8 thoughts on “How Can WE the Consumer Help to Reduce Single-use Plastics?

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  1. I think it’s unfortunate that plastic bags and styrofoam can’t be recycled, if my memory serves me correctly. Those two seem to be the biggest culprits, yet are the ones that can’t be recycled here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I now won’t buy products packaged in styrofoam or plastic containers. I’ve stopped using plastic veg bags and replaced by reusable material bags.If we the consumer voted with our feet then perhaps the message would get through 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Plastic stirrers make great plant labels, so I always take mine home – if I wasn’t quick enough to see the barstaff put one in my drink. Use correction fluid to write the plant name.
    The school I’m working in uses cardboard cones instead of plastic cups at the water cooler – and I have mesh bags for vegetables at the supermarket (until my own veg grow). If I do end up with plastic bags, I re-use them in the freezer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also reuse everything I can. It’s amazing how creative we can be when reusing plastic. I also use mesh bags when I buy fruit and veg … I am also trying to think of alternative options to freezer bags. Plastic boxes are fine but they take up so much room.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. it’s a shame but us as humans or many just don’t get it.. i work on a lot of major highway in the city and country i just don’t see the point of chucking your rubbish out the window as you drive along the Rd.. the amount of rubbish we see is so sickening.. it’s so easy put your rubbish on the floor of the car and put into the bin when you get home… the funny part of this it takes me 44.4 seconds to do that. So how do we put into the peoples heads take your rubbish home to put in your bins… great and so true of an article one that is a problem world wide.

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