Plastic, plastic everywhere!

Today is the first day of our week of attempting to live without plastic. Well, not completely without any plastic at all (sadly that would be impossible) but without “single-use plastic”. This covers things like plastic bags, drinks bottles, milk bottles, yoghurt pots, cling film and so on. Basically anything which is only designed to be used once before being discarded.

According to the British Plastics Federation, the UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year. Currently, only a quarter of that is being recovered or recycled. That’s a lot of plastic being thrown away in landfill.

Plastic in landfill

Here are some more plastic facts we found:

  • On average, a plastic bag is used for just 12 minutes before it is discarded.
  • It takes an estimated 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down in landfill.
  • Almost every piece of plastic ever made still exists.

That last one blew our minds. Plastic is a relatively modern invention, but still, that is a lot of stuff.

So given the amount of plastic we are faced with in our day-to-day lives, this will be a pretty big challenge. What do we think will be hardest about it? Well, we all have different ideas.

Martina reckons she’s pretty good at avoiding the obvious culprits like plastic carrier bags and disposable cups but gets lazy when it comes to buying loose fruit, not using cling film on her sandwich or baking rather than buying. She thinks the hardest thing about the challenge will be to motivate herself to try to make these small changes. David drinks a lot of milk and bottled water and reckons that finding suitable alternatives, especially to the milk, will be tricky. Elaine thinks the hardest thing will be trying to find things in the supermarket without plastic packaging.

Shopping Basket

Look at that! It’s last week’s shop which Elaine snapped for the purposes of comparison. Bread, cheese, chocolate and kiwi fruit all wrapped in plastic. And a cheese twist from the bakery in a plastic bag. Elaine may go hungry this week…

We’ll post an update soon and let you know how we’re getting on.

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