Plastic – can you use less in your life?


We’ve been doing lots of thinking about single-use plastic lately. It’s always been a big part of the litter problem – in fact, the UK’s most littered item – cigarette butts – contain thousands of little particles of plastic.


There are more worrying facts out there, many of which you might have read. Here’s a few of the most attention-grabbing:


  1. Plastic has only been around for 60-70 years. Science Magazine estimates that 8.3bn tonnes of plastic has been produced in that time.
  2. Of this, 6.3bn tonnes of plastic is now waste – a majority of which (some 79 per cent) is in landfill or our natural environment.
  3. It’s estimate that plastic will outweigh fish in the sea by 2050.
  4. Drinks bottles are a big part of the problem – 480 bn plastic bottles were sold globally in 2016. It’s estimated that us Brits get through 150 on average each every year.
  5. In a marine environment, plastic bottles slowly break down into smaller and smaller pieces (called micro plastics). Ultimately, these microscopic pieces never disappear.


So the team at Clean Up Britain have been looking at simple ways we can all get started on reducing single-use plastic in our day-to-day lives. Here are the things we’re doing so far:


  • Always carrying reusable bags for our shopping
  • Taking reusable cups for our take-out hot drinks. We love KeepCups which are stylish, ultimately recyclable and don’t leak on the commute! We’re also finding lots of coffee shops give discounts when we use them, win-win.
  • Always asking for drinks without plastic straws (we think our G & T tastes better that way too…)
  • Carrying refillable water bottles and drinking good old tap water – read about the Refill scheme here which is making it easier to fill up your bottle when out and about.
  • Shunning pump-bottle soap for bars of the stuff – there are some gorgeous smelling ones out there, really quite satisfying to use.
  • Shifting over to bamboo toothbrushes which are ultimately biodegradable.
  • Using Beeswax Wraps instead of cling film in the kitchen – so clever – naturally anti-bacterial, completely natural and reusable, again and again.
  • Choosing glass packaging for beauty and bath products where possible – it’s getting easier to make non-plastic choices which are fabulous to use as well as kind to the environment.


In some cases we’ve found we’re saving money in the longer term (discounts on coffees, not buying bottles water, not paying for plastic bags at the supermarket) and it’s much easier than we’d thought to make positive and satisfying changes. Why not give some of the ideas above a go yourself?


Stats sources – The Telegraph, Surfers Against Sewage