Lots of the plastic in our oceans is from single use packaging and products. Why do companies use excessive amounts of plastic in disposable packaging and products? Well, plastic packaging is cheap and robust and using it allows companies to keep items on shelves longer saving them money, as plastic keeps things fresh and doesn’t degrade easily itself (its companies and consumers wanting non-degrading products that led to the ‘ever-lasting’ plastics in our seas). It is only cheap because they don’t have to pay the cost of clearing it up, we do. If we stop buying over-packaged and singe use products companies will stop selling them.
Although we cant stop using plastic all together – and hear at Behaviour Change Cornwall we wouldn’t want you to – we can all do really simple things to reduce the amount we each use and the amount entering our planet’s oceans.
Replace: don’t use one-use plastics, “they are used for seconds but last an eternity”.
Recycle: if its recycled it doesn’t end up in the sea and we use less oil, win/win.
Don’t litter: when you cant replace or recycle, don’t use or dispose of properly.
Try out our 10 Easy Ways to put this into practice:
1. CARRY A REUSABLE BOTTLE – STOP BUYING WATER
I know we have all heard this one before but it is something that is truly so easy to cut out! Billions of plastic bottles wash up on our shore every year – each one poses a lasting threat to wildlife. (On top each bottle you buy is costing you 1000 times what it costs to drink tap water – what a con). On top – buy a pretty reusable bottle and you won’t want to leave it at home.
Don’t like the taste of tap water? Try adding a slice of lemon or lime – or by a filter jug.
2. DITCH COTTON BUDS
No one is in love with cotton buds – they are ear-infection-causing throwaway clutter. Most consider them a necessity for hygiene and make-up application without an alternative. Well actually there is a fantastic alternative in the LastSwab* – reusable, hardy and cheaper overtime. Beautifully and sustainably made they will save you buying and wasting thousands of cotton buds.
3. REUSABLE COTTON PADS
Whilst we’re in the bathroom – why not try out some reusable cotton pads. Good for the pocket and for the environment.
4. BUY USED STUFF
New used to be the default choice but, many these days have realised they can save money, save the planet and find cooler stuff secondhand. Using old items stops them becoming waste and stops the production of new ones, plus used items are often packaging free.
5. BUY IN BULK
Tiny crisp-packets, individually wrapped sweets and tiny pots of yoghurt are some of the most common finds in the sea. Buying bigger so much unnecessary packaging and money. Plus it is far more rewarding when you do dig into your favourite foods.
6. AVOID MICROBEADS
So much make-up and beauty products from body-wash to facial scrubs have tiny microbeads of plastic in them. Whilst many brands are removing them. You’ll often find them in the weirdest of products, most worrying of all in toothpaste! Eww.
7. EAT WITH YOUR HANDS – OR CARRY A SPORK
Carrying a spork is a cool way to save the planet. Plastic Cutlery is used on average for 2 minutes and them becomes another piece of waste. The “biodegradable” pieces of cutlery still last 10 years before disappearing! So please say no. Instead bring your own.
8. BUY A BAG – OR BETTER YET DON’T USE ONE
Plastic bags are marine nightmares! Hanging in the currents of the ocean for years until unfortunate seabirds, fish and turtles mistake them for prey. Plastic bags are totally unnecessary and with a penchant for breaking and becoming useless after one use. Plastic bags never should have existed.
Help end their existence by buying a reusable carrier or just not using a bag at all. In Lidl you can use old boxes for carriers (credit to Lidl they’ve been doing it for years).
9. DON’T BUY GLITTER
Ever found glitter on yourself at the most random time? Yeah that stuff gets everywhere, including the ocean. This pre-made throwaway micro-plastic is immediately eaten up buy small fish and plankton, which is eaten by bigger fish and eventually us. Don’t contribute to this super shiny sparkly extinction-event.
10. BE A SOPHISTICATED DRINKER
Whats better that popping a cork on some bubbly or a fine wine? Not much and especially not a plastic screw top. Bottle lids are one of the most common beach finds and one of the most lethal long-lasting choking threats for wildlife and our beloved pet dogs. Buying drinks with traditional cork stoppers is a great alternative, so feel good when you hear that pop.
This behaviour change project was only made possible by generous donation of time and skills from Melissa Carne Graphic Design – check her out if you ever need help with a campaign or branding.