Single-use plastics

I am a young green living in Edinburgh, and I am fed up of plastic. I am not the only one. Cllr Burgess and I have been looking at plastic waste in Edinburgh and thinking about what we can do to reduce our city’s plastic waste.

Katri Hastings and Steve Burgess with plastic reusable plastic beakers

Katri Hastings and Cllr Steve Burgess

So, what can we do to reduce single-use plastics?

A whole lot actually!

There are lots of things we can do as individuals that do have an impact, especially if we tell people what we are doing, nicely of course: we can carry a reusable cup, refill our own water bottles, and refuse the straw. To get you started below is a list of easy things you can do and tell others you are doing.

But what else can we do to help reduce plastics?

We can ask companies to offer us products and services with less plastic packaging. Write to them, tweet at them, send them back the packaging or even leave it in their stores to deal with, somewhere appropriate like a bin or a trolley, not the floor as it will probably blow away and end up in the sea – not good! We can let them know we aren’t using their products because of the plastic, tell them that if they weren’t using plastic you would buy their products. That will get them thinking about the profits they are missing out – your purchasing choices have power.

We can also target our elected officials, MPs, MSPs, and Councillors, write to them and ask them to follow the recommendations of the Environmental Audit Commission to ban disposable coffee cups if they aren’t all recycled by 2023 and to introduce a 25p latte levy. Tell them you want them to support the Plastics Bill, a bill that will require we at least meet the targets currently set on plastic waste reduction after we leave the EU. Elected officials are there to represent you so tell them what you want – less plastic, less waste!

18 ways to reduce plastic use:

  1. Refuse the straw
  2. Use a reusable shopping bag
  3. Give up gum – its made of synthetic rubber which is plastic
  4. Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic
  5. Buy in bulk from refill stations
  6. Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk
  7. Use a reusable coffee cup
  8. Carry a food container for doggy bags and take-away food
  9. Use matches instead of plastic lighters
  10. Avoid buying frozen foods in plastic packaging
  11. Say no to plastic cutlery
  12. Shop at farmers market and use reusable bags and containers
  13. Use cloth diapers
  14. Try making your period disposable free, cotton pads or a menstrual cup
  15. Eat fruit rather than drinking juice in plastic bottles
  16. Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner
  17. Pack your lunch in reusable containers
  18. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor

Katri Hastings, Young Green Member