We're all guilty of using more plastic than we need to. We grab an extra bag when we forget our own at the supermarket, throw empty milk cartons in the bin and buy products with loads of excess packaging without thinking.
The people over at Contiki want this to change, and have created a list of 10 super easy ways to reduce your plastic consumption, and in turn save the planet *and* the world's oceans. After all, a small change from everyone can make a huge difference, y'all.
*Hands in air emoji*.
If you want to help out the environment and do your bit to save the planet, you should:
1. Invest in a reusable bag
Surprisingly, if everyone did this is could have an INCREDIBLE impact. A plastic bag is used for on average just 12 minutes, and yet takes a staggering 940 years to decompose. Is it really worth it?
Make the swap: Pop your reusable bag inside your handbag, on the back seat of your car, next to your front door – anywhere to remind you not to leave it behind, and take it with you when you hit the shops.
2. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is a growing trend and for good reason – not only does it reduce the need for excess plastic packaging, it's also cheaper and helps promote a healthier life style.
Make the swap: Take along a reusable container or, even better, glass jars, to a local market or supermarket that sells in bulk and stock up, guilt-free. (And yeah, this does count for chocolate biscuits.)
3. Leave the packaging at the store
Often it's impossible to avoid excess plastic packaging completely, so in these instances use the opportunity to tell the supplier you're saying no to plastic. If you're buying large items such as a TV, computer or household electrical items, unwrap the product in store and leave the packaging there.
Not only does this mean you don't have to deal with recycling it yourself, it also sends a positive message to those higher up the plastic supply chain that excess packaging is unnecessary.
4. Say no to straws
One of the biggest culprits in both landfill and on the ocean surface is the plastic straw. This small, seemingly harmless product can actually have devastating effects for marine life who often mistake it for food. :(
Make the swap: When you're ordering drinks at the bar, just say no to those tempting little straws that are often located within easy reach, or else ask your waiter or bartender to deliver your drink straw-free.
5. Use a reusable water bottle or keep cup
We know you've probably got one lying around at home, so USE IT. In America alone, 28 billion water bottles are purchased every year, and plastic coffee lids are a common offender both on land and in the ocean. Even Starbucks are aware, and will offer you your drink at a reduced price if you use a reusable cup. Win/win.
Make the swap: Buy yourself a super cute reusable water bottle and keep cup and help to keep the planet water bottle- and plastic lid-free, whilst saving money at the same time.
6. Choose glass over plastic
Glass can be re-used time and time again, while plastic never can. A huge number of food products can be bought in jars, so whenever the option is there, take it. You can wash out and re-use your jars as many times as you like, and for more purposes than you might think – from storing foods to displaying flowers…or even starting a travel fund or rainy day money pot.
Make the swap: Check out this article for ideas on how to reuse your glass jars (spoiler – it's not just for food).
7. Avoid using hotel or travel size wash products
Single serving toiletries offered up in hotels use up a lot of packaging. Avoiding using them is a great way to influence the cycle of supply and demand – if you don't demand them, hotels won't have to supply them.
Make the swap: Travel size products are convenient, but instead of buying yet more plastic, why not invest in reusable travel size containers? Decant your favourite products before you go on your travels, then wash them out when you get back so they're clean and ready for the next time.
8. Wise up to your cutlery choices
Wave goodbye to disposable knives, forks, spoons and chopsticks, and instead be prepared by popping metal cutlery alternatives in your bag. Super simple and instantly effective.
9.Swap your takeaway lunch for a healthier 'made at home' option
It may take a little bit of preparation work, but bringing your own lunch to work/uni/school with you will make the planet a happier place. Not only are you avoiding plastic packaging around your shop bought sandwich or salad, you're also doing your body AND your bank balance a favour too.
Make the swap: Invest in some long lasting Tupperware or, even better, go totally plastic free by preparing your lunch in a mason jar or stainless steel. Yup, any excuse to buy a cute new lunchbox is a goodun in our books.
10. Watch out for BPA
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a compound added to plastics to help them harden, and is commonly found in everyday plastic items like water bottles, plastic containers and plastic linings on packaged foods. Scarier still, BPA exposure has been linked to health effects including obesity, hormone imbalance, reproduction issues and even various cancers.
Make the swap: Look out for a 3, 7 or PC sign on plastic – these are the most toxic types of plastic so avoid them where you can. Also avoid heating up food in plastic containers, and where there's an option to go plastic free make sure you take it. YAAAAS.
So, is that enough to make you go plastic free? If it wasn't, you might wanna check out this documentary and then tell us what you think:
Interesting stuff, eh? Chat with us about it @Sugarscape and tell us how you're going to reduce your plastic use.