Written by Melissa Watt |
As students in Falmouth, we are lucky enough to have the beach at our doorstep. The future of Cornwall’s sea life, however, is at risk. We have become all too aware of the devastating impact of plastic pollution on the oceans. Though a small part of a much wider environmental crisis, we can all make small and worthwhile lifestyle changes. Here are some easy, inexpensive ways to reduce your plastic waste.
Carry reusable shopping bags
Since 2015, the government has introduced a 5p charge on single-use plastic bags in a bid to decrease landfill waste. This ‘plastic tax’ has been a worthwhile cause, simultaneously raising money for charity and significantly reducing single-use plastic bag consumption. It has also encouraged the widespread adoption of bags for life, sustainable alternatives which are both inexpensive and durable. Foldable shopping bags are another great option for carrying discreetly in your bag.
Opt for reusable utensils
Most plastic cutlery and utensils now have non-plastic alternatives. The paper straw initiative has been implemented in many restaurants and cafes across the country. Wetherspoons famously banned plastic straws in all of its chains at the end of last year. If you’re not a fan of paper straws, a steel straw is an industrial substitute. Equally, you can purchase reusable cutlery sets to carry in your bag.
Besides disposable cutlery, drink packaging is often plastic-based. Reusable water bottles are accessible alternatives to store-bought bottles. Many are also BPA-free, limiting the risk of cancer. Similarly, travel flasks are a savvy way to save money. Costa is just one of many coffee chains who offer money off drink purchases when you bring in a reusable coffee cup. This incentive is a smart way to cut back on your plastic waste.
It is now possible to bulk buy whole-foods by weight, purchasing them in bring-your-own containers (which can be reused from food packaging). Plastic-free shop Un_rap recently opened in Falmouth. Here you can buy pasta, rice, cereals and laundry products. Everything is reasonably priced and is an easy way to limit the purchase of unnecessary plastic packaging. Supermarkets now have the option to buy loose veg, too.
Switch to bamboo
Disposable razors and toothbrushes are damaging for the environment, taking years to properly break down in landfills. Most plastic toiletries can instead be made of bamboo. Most bamboo is biodegradable, sustainably grown and antimicrobial. It is also a relatively renewable source and versatile way to save the planet.
Wilko recently launched an eco-friendly cleaning range made from recyclable plastic. The products are all affordable and effective, promoting the use of recyclable packaging. Admittedly not all plastics are recyclable, but it is now easier to opt for recyclable alternatives. The campus shop, for example, sells canned water, perhaps the most widely recycled material. Many products are also available in cardboard or glass packaging.