Denmark based freelance writer, blogger, and YouTuber, Melanie Haynes (@dejligedays) has parterned with Bags of Ethics to celebrate Earth Day 2021. She is bringing you her best tips on reducing our single-use plastic.
We generate around 5 million tonnes of plastic each year in the UK and 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans annually, this is one bin lorry every minute!
This is a vast amount of plastic, but there are many ways we can make a difference. There are just a few simple swaps we can do this Earth Day (and beyond) to positively impact the environment.
At the supermarket
I have been using reusable shopping bags for years, even before the charge for plastic bags was introduced in 2015. A bag like the (S)Hero bag, which folds into a convenient smaller pouch, means you can always have one with you. In 2020 average person in England bought four bags a year from the leading supermarket retailers, which continues to fall.
Looking for a package-free grocer is also a way to reduce your use of plastic, and if you are not fortunate enough to have one near you, you can easily buy reusable produce bags for your loose fruit and veg at the supermarket.
At the coffee shop
In the UK, we use 2.5 billion coffee cups a year, and unlike plastic bag usage, this is on the rise. A takeaway coffee will yield at least two pieces of plastic — the cup and the lid. Even coffee cups that appear to be made from paper have a plastic layer. A straightforward and affordable swap is to buy a reusable keep cup. You are spoilt for choice with these, with many coffee chains selling their own branded ones and, in some cases, offering a discount if you bring your own cup. You can also buy silicone lids to keep in your bag if you forget your keep cup so you can at least halve your single-use plastic use.
In the bathroom
1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used in England every year. This is an unbelievable amount, but paper stemmed cotton buds are easy and affordable replacements, or you could consider a reusable silicon one such as LastSwab. Swapping to solid shampoos can also mean that you are using less single-use plastic in your bathroom.
All these swaps for single-use plastics are an affordable investment in both the environment and your pocket. This Earth Day, why not make these changes and reduce the amount of single plastic you use?