There’s no doubt about, despite its benefits, plastic is an enemy and we as a collective body of human beings use far too much of it. If reducing plastic use was a resolution for you in 2019, you’re not alone – a record number of people have resolved to use less plastic this year than they did last year and some brave souls are even embarking on a trash-free lifestyle. Whether you’re hoping to become more conscious of your daily use of plastic or hoping to actually reduce your consumption, we’ve pulled together several helpful tips that will help to reduce your carbon footprint and aid in the health of our planet.
1. Ditch the Plastic Bottles
It’s easy to purchase a Swell bottle (sold at Atelerie in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours) but it’s more difficult to cease purchasing water or soft drinks in plastic bottles forever. To make it easier, fill your swell bottle with water each day before you leave the house and make the resolution to only purchase drinks sold in cans or bottles, which can be recycled.
2. Say No to Plastic Straws
While straws are helpful for children, the elderly and the disabled, straws don’t have to be plastic. Metal straws can be purchased for a very reasonable price and all you have to do is remember to bring your straw along with you.
3. Carry a Reusable Coffee Cup
Much like the reasons we carry Swell bottles for water, carrying your own reusable coffee cup can have a massive impact, especially considering the fact that it takes 100 years for a plastic coffee cup and lid to decompose. If all of Bermuda purchases one cup of coffee every day and we all suddenly chose to carry our own cups instead of using the disposable cups typically provided to us by coffee shops, the waste reduction would be incredible after just one day!
4. Consider the Packaging
When given the choice, always choose less packaging. A prime example of this would be to choose loose fruit and vegetables rather than produce in plastic bags. Further, skip the plastic bags the supermarket provides for produce when you can. Seriously, many vegetables and fruits have skin or can be peeled, there’s no reason that you have to put them into bags at the grocery store.
5. Use Refill Stations for Detergent
While we don’t yet have a bulk shopping store in Bermuda where you can fill up on things like rice and oats and seeds using your own mason jars and bags, there is a detergent refill station at Miles Market and while perhaps pricer than your average detergent, it is a good option for reducing waste consumption.
6. Cut Out Disposable Cutlery
Much like the reasons why we should cut out plastic straws, plastic cutlery can easily be avoided. Bringing your own fork, knife and spoon along with you in anticipation of digging into a take-out meal is not difficult and an impactful way to reduce the use of plastic in Bermuda if we all resolve to do it.
7. Avoid Microbeads
There has been a huge crackdown on microbeads in recent years. In the US, the Microbead-Free Waters Act 2015 phased out microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics in July 2017 (thanks, Obama!) and several other countries have also banned microbeads from rinse-off cosmetics, including Canada, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Some brands and manufacturers in other parts of the world are still using the micro plastics so it’s a good idea to avoid all toothpastes, face washes and other products that boast microbeads in their makeup.
No, this acronym doesn’t mean bring your own beverage, it stands for Bring Your Own Bag, as in reusable shopping bag. In 2019 this is an obvious one and while most people do shop using their own bags, it’s worth mentioning that many places in the world have banned plastic bags altogether, including Karnataka, India, Kenya, Chile, United Kingdom, Australia and China.
9. Bake Your Own Bread
Not only is homemade bread more delicious but it doesn’t come wrapped in plastic.
10. Start Composting
Reduce your waste in general by starting a compost heap in your backyard. Food scraps can be added every day and the byproduct is rich, healthy soil you can use to benefit your plants and shrubs.