Plastic is a problem. It doesn’t just disappear; it hangs around in the environment for hundreds of years. Of course, plastic packed food products and single use packaging can be convenient, however they lead to a throw away culture which with time, becomes problematic in many ways.
Many plastic products e.g. snack wrappers and bottled water have a very short life span; the contents being consumed and then the wrapper thrown away in minutes – end of.
However this plastic packaging has a lasting impact on the environment, polluting the earth and sea and causing harm to many living things.
Unfortunately, plastic consumption is on the rise. According to ‘Friends of the Earth’, half of the plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years, and production is expected to double (!) by 2050. :(
The more plastic produced, the more overwhelming and difficult it is to tackle. Plastics often contain additives which make them fit their initial purpose; however these additives can extend the life of the products, at times taking hundreds of years to breakdown.
As well as polluting the land, every year approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans, travelling through the water from land to land. Plastic in our oceans can cause major harm to sea creatures, including consumption, entanglement and often causing death.
When plastic is consumed by fish or sea life, it of course can end up finding itself on our plate and eventually, in our stomach!
With plastic lurking in everything from packaging to clothing, it is worth considering becoming more of a conscious consumer and thinking about the decisions and investments we make and the impact these things have on the environment. Often, with a bit of research, finding more sustainable options is achievable.
According to the National Geographic Society, considering ways in which we can make a change, in terms of improved waste management and recycling alongside the reduction of single use plastics will be beneficial, however this cannot be done alone.
Making the change
Working to become more mindful of plastic usage can help you to feel like you’re doing your bit to support the environment and work toward preventing the plastic problem on our planet. See below 6 simple ways to help you get started.
Before you head out for the day, be mindful of what you might need.
If you know you’ll be heading to the shops, carrying a re-usable tote bag with you is a great way to prevent the reach for a plastic bag when picking up your goodies.
Bringing along a re-usable water bottle will save money, reduce single use plastic and keep you hydrated, and a keep cup is a great way to get your morning coffee fix without worrying about the impact it may have on the environment.
When possible, opting for non packaged fruits and vegetables is a great way to reduce single use plastic and often means you only buy what you need, minimising the potential for food waste. Grabbing the loose fruit and veg or choosing jars/ cardboard boxes over plastic punnets is a step in the right direction. Fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses, whole grains and eggs are often the easiest plastic free swaps.
Rather than grabbing a supermarket salad from a plastic box – bring your own. This can often be more nutritious, more affordable and more enjoyable.
When opting for delivery services and take outs – be mindful of the packaging they use. If the food comes in a plastic box – don’t be disheartened, just wash it out and use it again, rather than getting rid.
There are so many places which encourage refilling or reusing plastic bottles rather than buying new - especially with things like soap and cleaning products etc. Do your research. If there is a place local to you offering a refill / reuse service, why not make yourself a regular! It can often be easier on the purse strings too!
Make conscious decisions
All of this may sound good, but of course it’s not always realistic or affordable.
It’s all about meeting yourself where you are and doing what you can. Even things like turning down an un-necessary plastic straw, or when choosing a new toothbrush, opting for the wooden rather than the plastic if it’s in budget. If we all try to get involved with these small sustainable swaps, whether it’s just one change or trying a couple, we will be doing our bit to try and make a difference.
Do your research!
There are so many ways in which we can work to prevent single use plastic here in the UK. We are more likely to feel accountable or actually make a change if we understand why it is so important. Do your research. Be open to learn new things. Make a change.
Here at The Garden, all of our take away packaging is biodegradable. We encourage keep cups, offer re-usable straws and have a policy which encourages customers to bring back their glass bottles after use so that they can be used again. We are always on a mission to learn new ways to minimise waste and help reduce the impact of single use plastics on the environment. Check out our ‘Love Your Mother’ sustainability campaign, designed to keep us accountable for sustainable business practices.
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
'The 'Wellness with Anna' philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health, providing clients with the tools they need to make sustainable changes and the motivation to start their new health journey.
We discuss how you can eat real, nourishing food, exercise mindfully and prioritise time to relax. What I provide isn't a diet; it's a holistic approach to a healthier life.'