How can we reduce our plastic use?

International Plastic Bag Free Day aims to reduce our impact on the planet

Did you know that a regular plastic bag, which you may have many of at home, never truly decomposes in the earth?

It’s truly remarkable, and quite frightening, how much plastic we throw away, despite the fact that it is often single-use and non-recyclable. Greentumble estimates one trillion plastic bags – all made from petroleum – are produced every single year.

Today is International Plastic Bag Free Day, with the intention of spreading the message that a world without harmful plastic bags and more recyclable alternatives is possible in the near future.

What can I do to help? 

In October 2015 the UK government introduced a levy on all plastic bags purchased in the majority of stores all throughout the country. The 5p charge per bag made a massive change to people’s habits – the biggest supermarkets said 86% less bags were used in 2018!

This was definitely a positive change, but there is still work to be done.

The 5p bag charge was introduced to encourage shoppers to invest in more durable and reusable bags. These may be more expensive, but in the long run the impact on the environment is reduced, as well as helping you to save money. 

However, other single-use plastics are gradually being phased out as our attitude towards the environment changes. For example, plenty of restaurants and bars have stopped handing out plastic drinking straws. This encourages you to ask yourself: do I really need one?

Another handy tip is to familiarise yourself with the symbols on plastic bottles which tell how they should be recycled. Unfortunately not everything can be thrown in the green bins at home, so ensure you’re clued up by doing your research.