It’s no news that we live in a consumer society. However, with consumerism and capitalism comes a whole lot of waste. We produce way too many disposable products, as items designed for one-time use favour manufacturers and businesses, as people will come back to purchase the same thing time and time again. Plastic bags are a prime example of this. We are encouraged to see these carriers as dispensable - something that we can throw in the bin once we get our purchases home. But this has result in hundreds of thousands of plastic bags being placed in landfill and creating an eyesore for our environment. The worst part? They’re not going to be going anywhere soon, as many types of plastic are not biodegradable - these bags will be loitering around on the planet long after we’re gone. Recent discoveries of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have made us reflect on where our disposed items really end up. Half of the time, they end up in areas where they pose a significant danger to wildlife. This can be shown in the increasing numbers of whales washing up on shores with stomachs full of plastic bags and bottles. So, it’s not all too surprising that the government have stepped in and started enforcing change. Let’s take a moment to look at the success of their latest move - enforcing charges on plastic bag usage - and some other ways we can progress in our project to reduce human damage to the planet.
Plastic Bag Charges
You may have noticed that when you enter supermarkets, you will now have to pay a charge for plastic bags that used to be free. Sure, this may be inconvenient for you as a shopper, but this is the point. The extra charge encourages you to take your own eco-friendly bags along in order to save money, but at the same time you will be saving the planet too! This step has proven extremely effective, with the number of plastic carrier bags being used reducing by an astounding 83%.
Further Reducing Plastic Usage
While the success of enforced plastic bag charges is something to be celebrated, it shouldn’t represent the end of our individual ventures to reduce plastic consumption in our lives. There are a whole host of other ways that you can help the planet. We should all be embracing zero waste living. Here’s how to go about it.
Boycott Plastic Wrapped Fruit and Veg
Fruit and vegetables come with their own natural protective packaging - their skins. So don’t purchase fruit and veg that is wrapped in extra plastic. This is so needless and such a waste!
Use Bamboo Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes are disposable items. We tend to trade our used one in for a new one around once a month. However, the majority on the market are made from plastic. A huge amount of non-biodegradable waste is being produced from the simple process of us brushing our teeth. So, in the future, purchase toothbrushes made from sustainable materials like bamboo.
These are just a couple of tricks to get you started on the right foot, but try to implement them into your lifestyle as soon as possible!