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The crisis of plastic pollution that is affecting our waterways and oceans is big news at the minute. Many supermarkets are pledging to reduce their plastic use while others are digging their heels in. The Queen has pledged to make Buckingham Palace and the Royal Estates plastic free and BBC are going to ban single use plastics by 2020.
This article here is excellent in teasing out some of the complications round the issue - for example, some foods, such as cucumbers, keep much better when wrapped in plastic, so the use of plastic here reduces food waste. (On the other hand, in my own experience most foods keep just as well without plastic and mushrooms really shouldn't be kept in plastic - I really can't understand the stores that insist on packaging mushrooms in plastic punnets.) Part of the secret though is to buy the food you need when you need it, rather than buying fruit and vegetables in bulk (though this depends on you living or working close to good grocery stores). Also take your own reuseable carrier bags and produce bags or refuse produce bags at all where possible.
What is undeniable however is that plastic waste is compromising the health of our riverine and marine environments.
As part of a response to this Friends of the Earth Scotland have started Plastic Free Fridays! They are asking people to sign this pledge to reduce their use of plastics and to completely avoid single use plastics on Fridays.
And to help you, they have compiled a list of ten top tips to reduce plastic use.
My additional top tips
Have a few reusable carrier bags which you carry round in your handbag so you always have one with you to avoid picking up any plastic carriers (but avoid the temptation to acquire loads of reusable bags, they use more energy in their production than plastic bags)
Get refills on products where possible (New Leaf in Edinburgh offers a brilliant refill service for a number of products including washing up liquid and shampoo. Just take along a bottle and fill it up with the product you need! You save money that way and your bottle doesn't need to be the same brand as the product in store!)
Do you have any top tips for reducing plastic use? Share them in the comments section!