Will McCallum is Head of Oceans at Greenpeace and therefore knows better than anyone how immense the current plastic problem is. In his book How to give up plastic, he writes about the extent of the problem, and addresses how, together, we can ensure that things change.
Below are his five tips for getting rid of plastic:
- Go on a plastic-free shopping spree
Who would have thought in a book about reducing the amount of waste we produce, the top advice for getting rid of plastic was to go and buy a few things? Essential items for a plastic-free life include: a nice water bottle, a reusable coffee cup, a tote bag (or even just a backpack) for your shopping, a lunch box and some kitchen storage containers.
- Go on a plastic-free purge
Start in your bathroom, work your way to the bedroom and then into the kitchen. Have a look at ingredients lists on the back of your cosmetic products to check there aren’t any microbeads; and empty your cupboards of single-use plastic straws and cutlery.
- Do some plastic-free preaching
All of us are way more likely to take advice if it comes from our friends and family, rather than just reading about it in a book or watching it on the television. Pass on handy tips to your friends and neighbors. Spread the good news that a plastic-free life is easier than they think, and every little bit helps.
- Make some plastic-free plans
It’s true that getting rid of plastic takes a bit of planning. Use a rainy day to sit down and work out which shops near you already use less plastic. Do you have a local grocery that lets you pack your fruit and vegetables however you want? If there are only fast-food outlets near your place of work, spend some time making food for a week of packed lunches.
- Start your own plastic-free campaign
Go out in your neighborhood and see what businesses are using too much plastic, and which ones are the local champions. Talk to business owners about what they could be doing to use less plastic. Why do they only use plastic cutlery and single-use coffee cups? Have they ever thought about using cardboard trays instead of Styrofoam? Ask your friends to join you in asking these businesses to change their ways – after all, the customer is always right!
* These tips are from the book How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time, by Will McCallum.
Photography Hamza Javaid/Unsplash.com