Climate change, melting ice caps, endangered species. It’s not hard to see that our world is suffering at the moment and in part, this is due to the type of lifestyles we lead; using large amounts of resources including materials, water, food, and non-sustainable fuels. While this hot topic is being talked about a lot, especially with the amount of media attention being given to Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist, there are still more households can be doing to reduce their carbon footprint and use fewer resources in their daily life.
Plastic is one of the most harmful materials on our planet, for a long-time, materials that were made of plastic couldn’t be recycled and wouldn’t break down naturally over time like other natural materials like wood and bamboo. The worst affected are our oceans which have become full of plastic and microplastics that make their way into the ecosystem and even onto our plates through seafood cuisine. Living a plastic-free life is challenging but not impossible and there are plenty of companies and corporations also in support of reducing the number of plastics they use.
For instance, once a year, Islamic charities gather donations for the festival of Qurbani and distribute these donations in the form of meat for those less fortunate. Rather than wrap these food donations in unrecyclable plastic, they have been making moves to use more environmentally friendly materials including tins and paper. For more information on Qurbani and how it helps those in need, read Qurbani FAQs here.
If you have been wondering how to reduce the amount of plastic in your household, consider these tips to help you;
Replace Your Plastic Toothbrush with Bamboo
Toiletries are some of the worst offenders, plastic toothbrush handles and bristles, plastic containers for consumables (shampoo, body gel, shower lotion), and the plastic wrapping that accompanies loo roll. Luckily there are plenty of ways you can reduce plastic use in your bathroom, the best method is to throw away your plastic toothbrush and invest in a quality bamboo one instead. Usually, these are made with natural fibers or biodegradable bristles and most environmentally friendly bamboo toothbrushes can be chucked on the compost heap once replaced.
Choose Loose Fruit and Veg
The kitchen isn’t the worst offender, but supermarkets certainly don’t make it easy to reduce your plastic use by sealing individual fruits in plastic wrapped packaging. Invest in some paper bags that you can use to store loose fruit and veg and if you go to a local butcher, ask them to wrap your purchases in grease-proof paper, rather than a harmful plastic bag. If you live near a supermarket that is a known offender for wrapping unnecessary objects in plastic, write a letter to management and ask them to work with environmentally conscious groups to reduce their plastic need and do more to contribute to a healthy world.
Ditch the Plastic Party Gear
When organising a party, it’s easy to pick up plastic plates and cutlery that can be thrown away at the end of the evening. Unfortunately, this creates waste and considering the number of parties and special occasions that occur across the world every day, this is a huge amount of plastic waste being generated. Invest in quality bamboo or reusable plates and cutlery that can be cleaned and stored for the next event. While it requires a bit more effort, it will cost the party organizers much more, in the long run, to continuously buy plastic, so consider the planet and your pocket and buy sustainable.
Down with Plastic Bags
In the UK, plastic bag use has been drastically reduced as shops and vendors can no longer offer a free plastic bag with purchases. Consumers can still purchase a bag, which is meant to offset the cost of harm plastic bags do to the environment, however, the best method is to cut out flimsy plastic bags entirely and switch to longer-lasting fabric or bags-for-life, which are made using sustainable materials to be less harmful on the planet. Before your next shopping trip, invest in some foldable, pocket-friendly shopping bags that you can chuck in the boot of your car or in your handbag or backpack for easy access whenever you need and prevent the need for plastic bags.
We are getting there and together we can be the difference the world needs to be healthy and green again.