Over the past few years, we’ve all become more aware of the impact plastics have on the environment. Shows such as Blue Planet highlighted just how much single-use plastics have damaged the world’s ecosystems, and people, companies and schools around the UK have taken action to reduce and remove single-use plastics from our everyday lives.
However, the recent pandemic has seen a really big increase in single-use plastics again, particularly from PPE and take-away food packaging. A global report revealed that food wrappers are now the most found item on beaches around the world, overtaking cigarettes for the first time.
On Wednesday 16th June, it’s World Refill Day – a global public awareness campaign to prevent plastic pollution and help people live with less waste. Over 300 million tonnes of plastic is made each year, and half of this is single-use. So what can we do to help reduce this?
There’s lots we can do to help lower our use of single-use plastics, especially with our kids at school. 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used every year in the UK. By giving your child a reusable bottle instead, you can be part of reducing this number.
By switching to a reusable water bottle, you’re helping to reduce pollution in a number of ways; from decreasing the oil used and greenhouse gasses emitted during production to the number of bottles thrown away after use.
Disposable bottles can leak foul-tasting and potentially harmful chemicals, especially if you try and reuse them for a period of time – so it’s best to buy a purpose-made reusable bottle. Try to pick one that’s made from BPA-free plastic. We sell a number of different reusable water bottles from a basic water bottle which has a space for your child to write their name at just £2.48, to more ergonomic sports water bottles, in a range of colours for just over £5.
Lunch box life savers
School lunches are another area where you can help to reduce single-use plastics. Here’s a few ideas where you can help:
Swap sandwich bags or clingfilm for beeswax paper
Beeswax papers are a great alternative here. They’re breathable, reusable and you can use them not just to wrap up sandwiches but other fresh produce such as fruit, veg and cheese. They can be washed and reused for up to a year so are wallet-friendly too. You can buy them in loads of different colours, patterns, and illustrations including your kids’ favourite superheroes, making lunchtime a bit more exciting.
Buy a bento-style lunch box
Plastics still do have their place – they help to protect food in transportation and are hygienic and reusable. Bento boxes are a handy solution to your standard lunchbox as they have multiple compartments, allowing different foods to be placed in without touching each other (great for fussy kids!). This means you won’t need plastic wraps or bags to separate foods and it eliminates the need for single-serve packaged foods.
With lots of handy sections, including a liquid-safe compartment, you can even add foods such as yoghurt to your kids’ packed lunch. They’re also easily washed out at the end of the day and are dishwasher safe too.
Older kids might want to use a wide-neck thermos to take to school or college. They can heat up some soup or even last night’s leftovers, place inside and keep hot until lunchtime.
By choosing to refill and re-use we can save millions of pieces of plastic from being made in the first place and protect our environment for the future. You can find out more about how we’re taking action on reducing plastic use here, including our blazer fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles!