Eco-Friendly Gifts Blog: 9 Tips On How To Reduce Plastic Waste In 2020
The media is constantly reminding us of how plastic pollution is becoming public enemy number one. And for once - rightly so!
Plastic pollution is causing huge damage to wildlife and the natural environment, and it's getting worse. With everything in daily life seeming so intrinsically linked to plastic use, how can you move away from the stuff?
Have a read of our top tips to reduce plastic waste from your life. Remember: Lots of small changes can have a massive outcome.
We're also going to give a case study on one of our Eco-Friendly Gifts, our Pampering Gift Set For Her, to show specifically how we are reducing our plastic waste in 2020.
What Is Plastic?
Before we start with our tips on how to reduce plastic waste, we first need to understand what it is.
When we refer to plastic, we are talking about conventional plastic. This means polymers such as PET that are produced from non renewable resources such as petroleum.
The other key characteristic of conventional plastics is that they don't biodegrade, meaning they can stay present in the natural environment for hundreds of years.
Because of its inability to biodegrade, it is causing serious damage to marine wildlife in particular. This build up of plastic in the natural environment is known as plastic pollution.
With an estimated 300 million tonnes of plastic being produced each year, the plastic problem isn't going away anytime soon.
Reducing and reusing items in our lives on a daily basis, as opposed to reverting to single use plastic items produced by fossil fuels, will decrease the amount of plastic being produced by plastic manufacturers.
Now we know what plastic waste is and why it's important to reduce it, let's go onto our nine tips for how to reduce plastic waste in 2020.
1) Choose Second Hand Clothes
Roughly 60% of all clothing worldwide is made from plastic, and these plastics when washed, contribute to microplastic pollution. Many items of clothing are produced using polyester, which is a plastic polymer.
Microplastics have now been found at the depths of our oceans, in our drinking water, and on top of mountains. Making up a significant percentage of marine plastic, research is being carried out into the potential health defects resulting from microplastic ingestion.
When microplastics enter freshwater environments, they can accumulate in mass at each trophic stage of the marine food chain.
This process is called 'the trophic transfer of microplastics', and is responsible for many large marine animals being found with microplastics in their tissue.
So instead of buying new clothes, which increases the demand for more items of clothing to be produced, why not buy second hand? This action in itself will still result in shedding microplastics when you wash clothes, but it is the next step up from buying new clothing.
As well as decreasing the demand for more clothing to be made, it is another wallet saver. We recommend going to a charity shop, so that your money spent contributes to a good cause as well.
2) Sign A Petition
This one is definitely one of the easiest, if not the cheapest to do.
Many activist organizations have petitions to help the cause in the fight against plastic pollution. They take barely any time to sign up at all, and don't cost you a thing.
Petitions that have over 10,000 signatures legally have to get a response from the government. After 100,000, the subject of the petition legally has to be debated in the house of commons.
It is a great way to get a message across, and maybe one of the best ways to enable systematic change to take place. If you're feeling up for it, why not start a petition yourself?
You could literally change the world from your laptop.
3) Use Plastic Free Cosmetics
Most big branded cosmetic supplies like shampoo, body wash or conditioner come in plastic bottles.
They are often not recyclable, and that's not including the fact that it is unlikely for your plastic to actually be recycled.
A huge estimate of 142 billion cosmetic packaging units were produced last year alone. With most of these not being recyclable, they will end up in landfill or polluting the natural environment. (Kind of the same thing.)
What is the solution?
Bars! Bars for shampoo, bars for soap, bars bars bars.
Case Study: Pampering Gift Set For Her
As we just mentioned, bars are a great way forward to reducing single use plastic packaging, such as shampoo bottles. Our Pampering Gift Set For Her is a great example to show how we are reducing plastic waste in our Gifts.
Bar often don't come wrapped in any plastic at all, and are usually much kinder to your skin because of what they contain. Our Shampoo Bars are wrapped in tissue paper, which is a beautiful, minimalist alternative to single use plastic packaging.
Check out our Pampering Gift Set For Her if you want to give the gift of plastic free cosmetics, as well as luxury relaxation.
4) Choose Take Outs That Don't Come In Plastic Containers
If you are going to choose a takeout (we totally sympathise) for whatever reason, we recommend choosing an order that contains the minimum amount of plastic.
For when the hangover has kicked in, a movie night is on the cards, or just general laziness, take outs are needed from time to time.
We understand that they are not the best option for the environment, but this blog is about doing one step better.
But by 2020, an estimated 900 billion items of packaged food will be consumed annually by Europeans, so this is an important tip.
We won't say the restaurants that have the most plastic as that would be unfair, and we don't want to call anyone out if it harms their livelihoods. Food like pizza is one of the best examples of a low packaging takeaway. Usually, there is just the cardboard box that the pizza is in. Bish bash bosh.
5) Use Biodegradable Glitter
Glitter contains the previously mentioned microplastics, which enter the marine environment one way or another, makes its way up the food chain and all the way back to us. T
here have been studies that have found trace amounts of plastic in human stools - we are literally eating the plastic that is being thrown away.
It's all good complaining, but what is the solution to plastic filled glitter?
Biodegradable glitter! Our Biodegradable Glitter contains no plastic at all, biodegrades in the marine environment, and contains no aluminium as well.
6) Plastic Free Plasters
Did you know that plasters contain plastic? They are usually wrapped in plastic, come in plastic containers, as well as containing common irritants that can make your skin flare up.
All this plastic is completely unnecessary, and adds no real benefit to the effects of the plaster you put on.
This is why we love Patch - they are completely plastic free, and come in 100% plastic free cardboard tubes.
Coming in four different types (bamboo, activated charcoal, aloe vera and coconut oil), you can be sure that Patch has a plaster for you. And if that doesn't make you think about cutting away from plastic plasters, they won the best new eco living product in 2019.
7) Spend Five Minutes Cleaning Litter
We felt we had to put this one in, but it's far from the most glamorous of ways to reduce your plastic footprint.
In fact, we're not even sure if it counts towards your plastic footprint because you're not technically using any plastic.
But cleaning the pavement / field / roadside near where you reside could make the place you're living a much nicer, cleaner place. Check out Keep Britain Tidy, a great organization run by volunteers who want to see the UK a cleaner place.
Imagine if you pick up litter for five minutes, and you tell five people. Then they tell five people, and then everyone of those people tells five people. You can see where we're going with this - and it's true!
Big changes happen from individuals taking positive action
What is a refill station? Well, when a member signs up, they volunteer to allow people in the local area to use their house / bed and breakfast / hostel to refill their bottle with water.
What a great idea!
This systematically reduces the need to keep on buying bottles from the fear of running out of water when you're out and about.
Clearly this won't work if you're in the middle of nowhere, but for most places it is fantastic! (So long as you know, we are not affiliated with these guys, but love what they are doing so we had to give them a mention.)
9) Use Biodegradable Wipes
Onto our last top tip. We don't stock these, as we have a policy of no single use plastic in any of our packaging or products.
But biodegradable wipes are a great alternative to traditional wipes containing plastic. Wipes are used many times a day by millions of people around the world. Check out our blog that shows the damage that throwing your wipes down the toilet is doing to the marine environment.
They aren't perfect, but they are the next best thing to plastic containing wipes. Here is a story we found that first hand shows what happens to flushed wipes.
We hope you've found something useful in our tips for reducing plastic waste. New and exciting things are happening in the world of sustainability are happening all the time.
We base our gifts around the premise of sending minimal waste to landfill, as is specifically shown by our Pampering Gift Set For Her.
Our collection of eco-friendly gifts are different in a unique and positive way. No single use plastic is used in the gifts, or their packaging.
With a diverse range of eco-friendly gifts, we want to make a positive difference in the gift giving world.
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