Plastic straws are 1 of the top 10 items found at beach cleanups. Not only do they look unsightly, but they can also harm seabirds and marine creatures. If you need a straw, switch to paper or metal ones instead. Many companies have already made the move away from plastic straws but pressure from you, the consumer, and the government can speed up the change.
Don’t let convenience override sustainability – single-use PET plastic bottles can take over 400 years to decompose. And just in case you were tempted to think that reusing that plastic bottle you bought from the shop the other day is a good idea…Plastic bottles aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re bad for you too. Studies show that they gradually leak a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) into the liquid stored in them. The chemicals can alter hormones and have other negative effects. Grab a reusable BPA free, glass or stainless steel bottle instead.
Over 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away EACH YEAR in the UK. If you switch to a reusable cup you’ll not only be helping to save the environment, you might even save some money. Some coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup! Check out the Conscious Cup map to see if there’s one near you and if there is one not on the map let us know (in comments below or via social media).
Plastic bags are a good news/bad news story in Northern Ireland. Since the 5p charge started in 2013 ONE BILLION fewer bags have been used. WooHoo! But, we’re still spending £5million a year on plastic bags. In 2017 retailers gave out around 100 million plastic bags. That’s around 139 per household.
We’ve made good progress it’s true but we need to stop using single-use plastic bags completely. Plastic bags are not biodegradable. When they do make it to landfill they take hundreds of years to break down. And then only into even smaller particles that continue to pollute our soil and water. Plastic bags also pose a serious danger to birds and marine mammals that mistake them for food. Thousands of animals die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags.
Make the switch away from single-use plastic to cloth or hessian bags for your weekly shop. It’s only a small change for you but it might make a big difference.
Unfortunately we’re all getting so used to seeing the terrible images of plastic pollution around the world, that we’re almost becoming immune to them. Even statistics that tell us how EVERYDAY approx 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans, have lost their ability to shock. That’s why we created #OneSmallThingMyNI to highlight some of the small everyday things you can do to reduce your use of plastic in the hope that together we can motivate and encourage others to reduce, reuse and recycle too.