You only have to read the newspaper each day, or even your Facebook feed, to see that we humans have truly messed up this beautiful planet that we call home. Our oceans are full of plastic waste, our everyday actions are causing global warming, and many of our animal and plant species are at risk of becoming extinct, and while it can be easy to look the other way and pretend that these things are beyond our control, the truth is, we are all responsible for what is happening to the planet, and if we don’t make a difference now, the outlook for future generations is bleak.
Today, 22nd April 2018 is Earth Day, and if you would like to stand up and make a difference, today is the day to do it. Something as simple as making a pledge to reduce the amount of plastic you use each day will have a huge impact on our oceans, our rural landscapes, and indeed, our wellbeing, and if we all choose to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle all plastics, we can put an end to plastic pollution before it is too late.
The Earth Day 2018 Campaign is to End Plastic Pollution and make a difference before 22nd April 2020, when Earth Day will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Over on the earthday.org website, both businesses and individuals can sign the ‘End Plastic Pollution Petition’ and make a pledge to ‘Reduce Your Use of Plastic’ and there are lots of helpful tips to help you achieve your goal.
Unfortunately, as individuals, we collect plastics that we do not need or want on a daily basis. Almost everything we buy in supermarkets today is wrapped in some form of plastic wrapping, and so it is not down to just us. Food and beverage suppliers worldwide must be forced to make a difference, but that really is out of our hands…
However, there are many things we can do, and here are the Top Tips to Reduce Plastic Use by Greenpeace:
- Use a reusable water/drinks bottle, rather than buying a new bottle each day.
- Say no to plastic straws – period.
- Invest in a reusable coffee cup. 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year – and less than one in every 400 is recycled. You can still indulge in your favourite Starbucks or Costa blend – just leave the cups behind.
- Avoid excessive food packaging. This is a tricky one, as many things are pre-packaged before we get hold of them, but you can make a difference with fruit and vegetables. Purchase only those sold loose, and take your own reusable eco-friendly bags to carry them in.
- Refill bottles and containers. There are many supermarkets and stores that allow you to refill detergent bottles and dry food containers, rather than purchasing new ones. They are not available nationwide yet, but they are growing in popularity.
- Do not use plastic cutlery. Much like plastic straws, disposable cutlery is used once and then heads straight for the landfill (or ocean). Keep a set in your handbag or backpack to use at lunchtimes and you’ll be making a huge difference.
- Have your milk delivered. If only we could go back to the days when the milkman delivered each morning! Sadly, this is not available everywhere, but if it is available in your area, pay a little extra to have your milk delivered in reusable glass bottles. It’s fresher, it tastes so much better, and you’ll be supporting local businesses.
- Avoid microbeads. Added to a variety of lotions and potions to leave us with glowing skin and pearly white teeth, microbeads were once considered a beauty care essential, but they apparently look like food to fish and birds and have now made their way into the food chain. Thankfully, the UK government has issued a ban on microbeads in 2018, but items containing them are still available on supermarket shelves – so always read the label.
- Last but by no means least, carry a reusable shopping bag. Since the plastic bag charged was introduced in the UK, we use 85% less than we did before, but we haven’t cut them out altogether. Get into the habit of taking a reusable bag with you wherever you go – it’s the first step in stopping plastic pollution!
The world is such as beautiful place, so let’s try and keep it that way by making Earth Day 2018 count!