Column: Tips On Reducing Plastic Consumption

June 5, 2018

[Opinion column written by Greenrock’s Executive Director Jonathan Starling]

Greenrock would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy World Environment Day!

World Environment Day has been marked by the United Nations on June 5th since 1974, with the aim to promote worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

Every year also has a unique theme – and this year the theme is ‘beat plastic pollution’.

Greenrock has been raising awareness about plastic pollution throughout the year, with it being the theme also for our Earth Hour celebrations earlier this year. Additionally, we launched our ‘say no to single-use bags’ campaign in 2013, to encourage people to use reusable bags for shopping.

The campaign continues.

Plastic pollution remains a global challenge – not only in terms of the threat to wildlife [especially turtles and whales that may mistake it for food, but also corals], but also to public health, with mounting evidence that plastic has entered the food-chain and is now in the food we eat and, often, the water we drink. Science is only beginning to study the potential health impacts of this.

There is a role for consumers, businesses and the State to take action to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

The Government was elected with a platform pledge of producing a green paper on single-use bags, with the potential of introducing a bag charge which has proven effective in the UK at reducing plastic waste. Another election pledge was to produce a green paper on a beverage container deposit legislation [a ‘bottle bill’], inclusive of plastic bottles, which also has the potential to greatly reduce plastic pollution [and increasing recycling rates of aluminum and glass]. These are good first steps.

Businesses can phase out single-use plastic cups such as coffee pods or disposable coffee cups [these generally contain a plastic film to make them waterproof]. Restaurants can phase out plastic straws or at least stop offering them with drinks and instead require people to request them if they need them. The same can be done for takeaway bags or introducing a charge for takeaway coffee cups in cafes.

For consumers, here’s ten useful tips for reducing plastic consumption:

  • Use a refillable water bottle;
  • Bring your own lunch to work [saves money too];
  • Use a reusable coffee cup for hot drinks on the go;
  • Don’t use products [lotions, shower gels, even toothpaste] containing microbeads;
  • Use a reusable shopping bag;
  • So no to straws – or at least use a reusable or compostable [bamboo, paper] one;
  • Make your own dinner from scratch – ready-made convenience foods normally come wrapped in plastic, but cook with raw whole ingredients and you can cut out a lot of plastic consumption;
  • Buy second-hand rather than brand new packaged items;
  • Use bar soap [you can even get shampoo bars!];
  • Do a plastic free activity – read a book, tell stories, go for a nature walk! Or go pick up plastic pollution from the beach for added bonus points!

Together we can beat plastic pollution.

- Greenrock’s Executive Director Jonathan Starling


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Comments (2)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Missing from the list are balloons. It is time they were banned as they serve no useful purpose but create havoc in the environment.

  2. Tips on picking up trash for a ministry or minister responsible for it…pleassssssssseee….pick it up twice a week like Oba did…like United Bermuda Party did….you may want to live in dirt….but a vast M-A-J-O-R-I-T-Y of us like and require cleanliness.