How to start the ‘no single-use plastic’ journey in 2019

Hopefully we are all becoming more aware of the plastic pollution problem we have created on this planet. But did you know that plastic is entering our food chain? I came across a scary statistic a couple of years ago saying that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine life – and unfortunately, fish are already consuming the small broken-down particles of plastic, thinking it is food.

Unless we do something about this, we are going to find out the health implications the hard way. Refusing single-use plastic such as plastic bags, plastic water bottles and plastic straws, is a great way to start fixing the problem.

Eliminating plastic from your life does take effort. You just have to step into the supermarket and you may feel you are being set up for failure!

But not all is lost and you can easily start the journey to say no to single-use plastic and be part of the solution instead of the problem. At BE Designs we talk a lot about the idea that if we all make small changes, then collectively we will have a great impact.

It may seem overwhelming at times as to how we can solve such big issues but be assured there is a lot of change already happening to solve these problems. For example, the European Union has legislated the ban of the top 10 single-use plastics found in the ocean. This includes plastic bags, bottles, straws and cotton buds. Many countries have legislated the ban of single-use plastic bags and there is an emerging movement to ban the plastic straw.

At a more local level, in Robe in South Australia (where we have our annual camping holiday and where they banned the plastic bag in 2009) I discovered an innovative new business called Transmutation. Brad Scott, owner and director of this very new initiative has created a shop front to his recycling centre, from which he sells Australian products made from recycled materials. He has also set up a mechanised process so he can recycle the different types of plastics back to a raw material, which can then be reused to make other products. The great thing about this is that he has used recycled parts such as an old oven to build the machinery required to do it.

Check out the great products he already has in store such as swimwear made from fishing nets and work boots make from truck canvases…there are a lot of clever and creative people in this great country!

So here are our top 10 tips to help you do your bit in 2019 to help solve the plastic pollution problem.

  1. Stock up on your reusable shopping bags and refuse single use plastic bags.
  2. Refuse disposable coffee cups (no, they are not recyclable). Instead, sit and enjoy your coffee in the café or always have a reusable cup
  3. Discover the joy of using beeswax wraps to cover food instead of cling wrap.
  4. Say no to plastic straws and if you really love a straw, invest in a stainless steel reusable
  5. Find a store where you can take your own containers to avoid plastic packaging all together.
  6. Replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush.
  7. Avoid buying plastic-packaged processed food.
  8. We have the best tap water in the world so definitely refuse plastic bottled water. Instead, use a reusable bottle and refill it from the tap.
  9. Be conscious about your purchases and choose organisations that are making an effort to avoid plastic.
  10. Remember to save your soft plastic packaging where you can’t avoid it (e.g. any plastic that can be scrunched up easily) and take it to a REDcycle These are often available in most supermarkets now – this program turns that type of plastic into outdoor furniture.

You don’t have to take on all of the above at first. Choosing just one is a great start, and will get you going on a positive journey in 2019.

Still not convinced about making a change? Then watch Jeff Bridge’s video to see just what a problem plastic has become in our short lifetimes.

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