We are living in a critical moment in the climate and nature crises. More people want to play their part than ever before. Most households around Britain recycle much of their household waste items, and eco-friendly and conscious alternatives and shopping options from handbags made from designer plastic, to pens made from plastic water bottles are all the rage. Yet how environmentally friendly are these items?
Plastic can only be recycled a few times if at all, only by adding more raw material, and its quality degrades massively each time it is recycled. So effectively, single-use plastics are downcycled - recycled into a product with less value. It is eventually thrown away, where it will end up in landfill, will be burned and release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, or will end up in the seas and oceans where it will damage the marine environment.
Since the 1950’s, less than 10% of the 9.9 billion tons of plastic generated in the world has been recycled.
The #WeChooseReuse campaign aims to reverse this trend and asks us to: reduce the amount of single use plastic and packaging in our daily lives, and send the message that reuse and refill are the way forward.
You can also sign the #WeChooseReuse commitment and send the message to decision-makers that there is demand for reuse.
The Three R’s – Reduce, Refill, Reuse
The next time you go to recycle your plastic bottle, stop and think instead. How could I reuse this item? How could I give it a new lease of life? Or, could I stop plastic at the source, and use metal or glass water containers instead?
Reducing plastic usage is as easy as ABC – or RRR. Reduce. Reuse. Refill.
You can reduce your plastic usage in many ways. From buying loose fruits and vegetables to using soap and shampoo bars and toothpaste tabs, buying second hand clothes or toys and remembering to carry a bag for shopping, there are many options to bypass single-use plastic and reduce your use of it. Each time you reduce the amount of plastic you use, that is less plastic that will end up polluting the environment.
The concept of reuse relies on businesses to set up a system in which the product or packaging is designed to be used for the same purpose multiple times within their lifespan, rather than being thrown away, such as single use packaging. When you leave your empty milk bottles by the front door for the milkman to take away and use again, that is reuse. Some shops now offer deposit return schemes, where you regain your small deposit when you return the product or packaging that you bought your item into a collection point.
For more information on the concept of reuse, check out this short educational brochure
Rather than using single-use plastic items such as coffee cups, carrier bags, or food packaging, why not try to use cups for life, or glass jars to buy non-perishable food items? More and more shops are offering refill stations where you can use your own containers to fill up on grocery items from pasta, to body lotions and cleaning products.
To find the places where you can refill, download the free Refill app.
The three R’s are simple and easy steps you can take to live with less plastic, and help us all live in a healthier world and create a healthier future for all.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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