If you are on social media then no doubt you have seen videos for reusable straws, animal welfare videos from turtles or whales being damaged by plastic bags, or updates from restaurant chains talking about their plastic usage and how they will cut it down and stop using straws or disposable coffee cups. The thing is, these things are only used for a couple of minutes, but they can take years and years to disappear. In fact, a lot of single use plastic doesn’t disappear, filling up landfill and the ocean.
So what can we do about it? Here are just a few small ways that you as a family can reduce how much waste you have, particular plastic waste. It is great to get kids on board with it too, so empowering them to make changes can be a really great thing to do.
Stop the Straws
Straws are things that kids love and are likely to be given them anytime that you eat out. But if you are offered plastic ones, say no. You could look for some paper straws to use, or even get your own washable and reusable straws that you can take with you. With fun prints and designs, there will be some that your children love.
Back in the day all that there was for babies was cloth nappies. Then disposables were created and so many people made the switch. But with more and more of us being more environmentally conscious, the rise in people using reusable nappies is growing and growing. It can mean some forward planning and some trial and error to get the hang of it, but it can mean that you are reducing what you send to landfill.
Toothbrushes are pretty small. But if you are using around two toothbrushes a year, for each family member, the plastic that can’t be reused or recycled is just being sent to landfill. Add that up over a lifetime and that is a whole lot of plastic toothbrushes just sat there. Bamboo are a more environmentally friendly option, as they are a completely natural product, making them biodegradable and recyclable. So why not look for those next time you need to replace toothbrushes?
Naturally, one of the things that you are likely to be doing is to recycle. But you need to check with your local council what they do actually recycle. If you put a type of plastic in the recycle bin that they don’t actually recycle, then it will contaminate that load of it and none of it will get recycled. So take time to sort the waste you throw out, and make sure that you are putting it in the correct recycling bin.
At supermarkets and green grocers, there are usually options to buy a bag of carrots in plastic, or to get some loose carrots. Go for the latter, and take your own paper bags or multi-use shopping bags, to carry them in. Small things like this will reduce the number of plastic wraps and packaging that is in your home.