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Shows such as Blue Planet II have made it clear that our oceans are full of plastic, and it's time to do something about it. It's not until you think about plastic that you realise that almost everything you buy has some form of plastic on it that you're going to throw away. Your food has copious amounts of plastic surrounding it, your clothes have plastic tags, and that pair of scissors you bought is surrounded by tough plastic that actually requires another pair of scissors to open. This plastic often finds its way into the ocean and is damaging the delicate sea creatures, and it's damaging us. Even plastic you send for recycling isn't always reused as recycling is a hard service to offer consistently. Here are five simple ways that you can cut down your plastic usage.
1. Buy a proper water bottle.
There's always that one fussy person who insists they need to drink bottled water only, but do you actually? Apparently millions of bottles are bought every day. Think of how much plastic would be saved if you went on Amazon and bought a reusable metal water bottle. Not only are they great for the environment, but you can put them in the fridge and they will keep cooler longer than in a plastic bottle. Nice water bottles cost around £20, and you'll be saving money on buying plastic ones.
2. Stop using straws.
As a lipstick user, I understand that, to women, giving up straws means that you'll be ruining your lips. However, millions of straws wash up on our shores every year. It sounds weird, but I've bought reusable, hard plastic straws that can be put in the dishwasher and like the weirdo I am, I take them out with me and bring them home afterwards. It may look weird now, but more and more places are removing straws from their bars, and I bet this will be normal in five years time.
3. Stop buying microbead products.
In the UK, the production of microbeads has now been banned, with a ban on selling these products starting in July. How about you get a head start? The beads are so small that they can't be filtered out and they end up in the ocean where fish eat them. If you eat fish, you are then also eating the microbeads. Yummy. Your face will be fine without them, and you won’t die of blackhead overload. I’d rather have a few blackheads than a belly full of tiny plastic beads, anyway.
4. Now that plastic bags cost 5p, there has been a significant decline in the amount used in the UK.
However, a lot of people will still somehow dig deep into their pockets and buy an unnecessary carrier bag. Think to yourself: Could I carry this? It's not unusual to be seen walking out of a shop with your arms full nowadays—embrace it.
5. Buy unpackaged fruits and vegetables.
You can do this with other foods too, but it's just easier with fruit and veg because it keeps better than other foods when not in packages. The packaging on fruit and vegetables just kind of keeps it all together and it isn't really necessary for keeping the food fresh. Consider buying from somewhere where you can get your favourites without them being surrounded by layers of plastic. It tastes the same, I promise.
I hope I've been able to convince you that it really isn't that difficult to cut down your plastic use, and as long as everyone makes an effort, we can save our oceans, our planet, and ourselves.