Fantastic unplastic

Avoid excessive packaging

Plastic is everywhere. From the wristband placed around your wrist at birth to the mouse your hand is resting on right now, you can't get away from it. It's fantastic stuff... when used well.

We've developed a bit of an addiction lately though, using it like it's going out of fashion in the most ludicrous way. From plastic-wrapped oranges to glue sticks encased in unbreakable plastic packaging, our use of plastic has gone wild.

And, as Blue Planet II showed so clearly, it's not without it’s consequences.

Why

Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Litter and our oceans

We've all seen plastic bags stuck in tree tops and empty bottles lying among the autumn leaves, but not many of us have seen The Great Pacific Garbage Patch for ourselves. In 2017, a team of researchers found another giant mass of plastic soup in the South Pacific, the size of Kazakstan.

As Blue Planet II so powerfully showed, this is killing animals from pilot whale calves to albatrosses and dolphins. And perhaps most scarily of all, plastic deposits are building up in our food chain, eventually making their way into our own stomachs. That's not going to help anyone's health.

Our waste manages to find its way into every corner of our world, but unlike most other waste, plastic does not biodegrade.

Every piece of plastic ever made is still on the planet somewhere.

4

giant floating patches of plastic waste have been found in our oceans since 1970, up to 1 million square miles in size.

Climate change

Plastic is made from oil, and making it uses a fair whack of energy: for every kilo of plastic six kilos of carbon dioxide are released.2

By avoiding buying excessively packaged goods you can save 250 kgCO2 a year – the same as 40 cups of tea a day all year.3

By just taking your own cotton bags to the supermarket you can save 23 kgCO2 a year.3

Landfill and recycling

Thankfully not all plastic waste ends up in our trees and seas, but landfills aren't great either. Every year 800,000 tonnes of plastic bags are used in the EU, and only 6% is recycled1 - down cycled, we should say. Plastic recycling is nowhere near as efficient as glass or aluminium can recycling; it dramatically reduces the quality of the plastic and uses lots of energy (although not as much as making new plastic from scratch).

It’s far better just to use less in the first place.

450

years is how long it takes for a plastic bottle to decompose4

Convenience

Spend less time cutting through layers of plastic and emptying your overflowing bins, and more time living.

Global Goals

In September 2017, a historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Fantastic un-plastic' pledge, you are contributing to the following SDG targets:

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution

How

How

This one can be taken to varying extremes - our advice would always be to start small, gradually working your way down the list:

THE EASY THINGS:

  • Use a reusable shopping bag
  • Use tap water instead of buying bottled
  • Say no to unnecessarily packaged goods - like the infamous plastic wrapped orange, pre-chopped onions, or cauliflower steak.

STEPPING IT UP:

  • Get yourself a set of reusable produce bags for buying your fruit and veg, instead of those pesky plastic bags. Then head to your local greengrocer or farmers market where you’re more likely to find loose fruit and veg.
  • Buy your cleaning products in bulk. Ecover and Method sell a range of products in bulk so that you can endlessly refill your handy small bottles, using about 84% less plastic.
  • Say no to straws and disposable cutlery. Simples.

GOING FOR GOLD:

  • Avoid synthetic clothes - they shed plastic mirofibres into the water, which ends up in our oceans (to help reduce this when you do have to wash synthetic clothes, get yourself a GUPPYFRIEND Washing Bag).
  • Invest in plastic free bathroom goods - from metal razors to mooncups; bamboo toothbrushes to natural crystal deodorants.
  • Shop in unpackaged or bulk-buy supermarkets. You can find a handy map here.
  • Get your milk delivered by a local milkman.

Check out Lexy's blog for even more creative ideas, and Kate Arnell’s great EcoBoost YouTube channel.

Success Stories

2,312

Pledges
in total

36,931kg

CO2
pledged

Putting a folded cloth bag in my purse and in my car helped me remember!

I made sure that I buy my ration in bulk to minimize the plastic usage. Further I reused those bags as dustbin liners. I stitched my husband's old t-shirt into a bag and used it to buy the weekly vegetables! I upcycled the PET bottles to make craft. I'll make sure to continue my efforts.

On the few occasions when I accepted a plastic bag I felt uncomfortable. I feel as if I have made a behaviour change which will last.

bought a gorgeous basket and use that now :)

Really easy once got into the habit of bringing the shopping bag with me on supermarket trips and less effort with getting rid of recycling

I use fabric shopping bags so saving on supermarked carrier bags. I was intrigued whilst on holiday in France to find how much was sold loose or with paper rather than plastic bags - come on Britain - we're lagging behind here!

This was a good motivation. Thank you!

I tend to choose my own fruit and veg from the supermarket and direclty place them in my baske/trolley. I don't use any plastic bags. I bring my own re-usable bags when I go shopping.

Absolutely loved doing this!!! It really made me think about the amount of plastic we as a society use, I have changed what I buy because of this and rather than going for the quick and easy option I have gone for the one with the less plastic!!!

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