Plastic-Not Fantastic

Plastic-Not Fantastic

In the UK we’re all used to supermarket carrier bag charges and have become much better at reusing our bags or using our own shopping bags. But the issue of single use plastic is much bigger than carrier bags alone.

Platstic is one of the most persistent synthetic materials in existence and we use and dispose of tonnes of it every day. Most of the plastic that has ever been produced is still in existence today unless it has been incinerated. It causes harm to the environment and is a major marine pollutant.

Plastic-Not Fantastic The Marine Conservation Society has set up a challenge for people to go without single use plastic for a month and many people have accepted the challenge. We don’t realise the sheer volume of products that contain plastic that we use once and throw away without even thinking about it. For example, most tea-bags contain plastics, a lot of the food we buy comes in plastic wrapping, while huge numbers of people drink bottled water.

So, what can we do?

For starters we can drink tap water instead of bottled water and put loose vegetables into our shopping bags instead of buying plastic-wrapped packs.

We don’t believe that we will be able to do without plastic entirely for the whole of June, but hopefully we will reduce the amount of plastic we dispose of and change our habits.

Why not join us for a no plastic June?

For more information, please click here: https://www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge/index.php/

Julie Bankes

Sustainability Advisor, Interserve Construction

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  • Steven Milward

    So does this mean that the water coolers present at 99% of our building sites shall be phased out?

    • We should certainly be using glasses and mugs, rather than disposable plastic cups. And using mains water chillers where possible rather than bottled water. As with all sustainAbilities issues it is about doing what we can practicably do, but making sure we balance the needs of health, environment and economics. What other plastic reductions have you identified and implemented?

      • Corinne Rover-Parkes

        Completely agree with cutting down on the use of plastic bottles. The problem is that mains water chillers often do not filter(sufficiently filter) the water leaving that horrible chlorine taste of tap water. I love drinking water and am happy to swap to properly filtered water, does not even have to be chilled for me, just taste of nothing but water!!

        • You can use charcoal to filter tap water and remove the chemical taste. No need for plastic, just place the charcoal stick in a jug of water and leave it for about an hour. You can get binchotan charcoal on the internet quite easily and it lasts for months.

  • I think the #plasticchallenge a fab idea! One idea this month is to buy a lunch box to inspire me to bring my lunch in! When I buy lunch from cafe’s, supermarkets, (MacDonalds on a bad day) etc…it always generates waste!!!

    • Lunch boxes are great or you could go for a reusable Wrap so it takes up less room once you’ve eaten your lunch and you know exactly what has gone into it so you can make it as healthy and sustainable as you want. Some home grown lettuce, rocket and tomatoes with locally sourced ham or cheese would be perfect.

  • Colin Braidwood

    Thanks for raising this issue Julie, I’ll certainly try and do my bit!
    I was also startled to read about the amount of micro plastics in our oceans with literally ‘zillions’ of microbeads making their way down our rivers and out to the worlds oceans. Often used as exfoliants within beauty products these are making there way into food chains and, in some cases, outnumbering plankton in certain regions!
    Alternatives do exist in the market and, although I can’t profess to personally use many such products, I bet they’re in my home somewhere so I’ll be on the hunt!

    • Glad that you are on the look out for Microbeads, but you can still exfoliate and keep looking good without them, there are plenty of natural alternatives like apricot seed and you can use this app: http://get.beatthemicrobead.org/
      to check products for microbeads.

  • What a great challenge! It is definitely making me think about the plastics I use in everyday life. I always have reusable bags on hand for shopping trips and it is great to see so many people these days opting out of using/paying for plastic bags in the shops.

    In the office I always use a refillable bottle for water and do my best to bring in homemade lunch in Tupperware.

    It is so awful seeing plastic debris on the side of roads and floating in the sea. Though I do feel attitudes are changing and more people are aware of the waste they produce.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Sally Evans

    I think that we should follow other models. Use brown paper bags.