Plastic-Free July 2021 is well underway, so there’s never been a better time to reassess how your plastic use might be adjusted to be more environmentally friendly.
As a waste management company that’s dedicated to recycling as much waste as possible, SunSkips is also committed to promoting the importance of recycling plastic packaging correctly – or cutting plastic out altogether.
This is why the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire skip hire company is backing Plastic-Free July, which sees people from all over the world coming together to see how far they can go towards banning plastic from their lives.
If you feel like you could up your plastic-free game, here’s how you can do more to reduce the amount of plastic you use and keep it from being sent to landfill.
The tricky thing about avoiding plastic is that it’s so readily available and used in a lot of household products and devices.
From kitchen utensils to your car, it’s impossible to go anywhere without seeing plastic of some form in use. But at least plastic items like this are semi-permanent and can last several years before being sent to landfill.
The real culprit responsible for the overwhelming plastic waste on our planet is disposable plastic products. Restaurants and fast-food chains use plastic cutlery and containers for food, while supermarkets are still offering unnecessary plastic bags to shoppers (which can now be found at the very bottom of the ocean).
International Plastic Bag Free Day kicked off Plastic-Free July at the beginning of the month, encouraging people to make a change.
It’s really not hard to say ‘no’ to disposable plastics these days. It’s as simple as bringing your own reusable bags to the supermarket or refusing to take a straw with your drink the next time you go out.
You can also start bringing your own to-go cup to get coffee and, if you have the means, buy food that comes in plastic packaging in bulk so you don’t have to purchase as many small containers.
While disposable products made with plastic are the worst offenders when it comes to our plastic-infested oceans and landfills, even non-disposable items get thrown out eventually.
Take kitchen tools, for example. You can easily find plastic spatulas and ladles in the shops, but it’s not much harder to seek out utensils made of durable metal or ethically sourced wood.
You’ll probably have to pay a little extra for environmentally friendly utensils, but it’s an investment in keeping plastic out of landfill and our oceans.
As long as you can afford the extra cost, there are very few instances where you have no choice but to buy plastic household products – there’s almost always a sustainable alternative.
That being said, it’s practically impossible not to end up buying a few plastic items now and then. Chances are you’ve got lots of containers around your house made of plastic, not to mention toys, accessories, and even electronics.
The best thing you can do with your existing plastic products is to put them to good use. If you have old plastic containers for storing leftovers that are getting worn out, reuse them as planters for starting a garden. Smaller containers can be used for storing things like nuts, bolts and other miscellaneous items.
If your children have toys they’re tired of playing with, you can extend their useful lifespan by donating them to charities and shops that resell used toys to other families.
Of course, this philosophy applies to every manufactured item you currently own, whether it’s made of plastic or not. The more you can do to reuse and repurpose what you already own, the better.
Most people think of recycling as the ultimate solution to the planet’s plastic problem, but unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple.
While it’s much better to recycle plastic than to throw it away, the process of recycling consumes a lot of energy.
Even worse, plastic doesn’t always hold up very well after being recycled, making it less likely for manufacturers to use recycled plastic for their products.
There are many problems with plastic recycling that make it a poor choice compared to avoiding plastic altogether. That being said, if you do have a lot of plastic lying around that you simply don’t know what to do with, it’s better to recycle than to throw it away.
If you live in the Suffolk area, check Suffolk Recycles for information about exactly how to get rid of your plastic. Or if you’re in or around Cambridge, you can find the same information on the local government website.
While local litter-picking groups have had to scale back events in light of recent lockdowns and restrictions, the need for volunteers to help pick up plastic litter is still high.
From clearing up litter from parks and roads to nature preserves and rivers, your local area wouldn’t look the same if it weren’t for these hard-working volunteers.
Ely Litter Pickers (Cambridgeshire), Litter-Free Felixstowe (Suffolk), Pickerel Project (Stowmarket) and Sustainable Cottenham (Cambridgeshire) are all local to SunSkips and are doing a fantastic job of keeping the area clean.
Find out more about how to get involved in our spotlight on these local litter pickers who are keeping our streets plastic free!
Unless you do your research, you might find that the waste management company you hired to help with your clear-out isn’t actually sorting through your waste as you’d expect them to.
Then, do a little research on their website and social media to see if they actively share information about how they recycle.
Doing your due diligence when using a skip hire company is not only a good idea for the environment, but also protects you from fines if the authorities find your waste to have been dumped illegally.
Plastic-Free July 2021 is just the beginning.
If you’re passionate about learning how to protect the planet, then the extra effort you make this July could have a knock-on effect for your plastic consumption for the rest of your life.
At SunSkips, our environmental impact is something we take seriously. If you need the peace of mind that your waste will be professionally sorted and recycled, get in touch for a quote or book online.