What can I do to reduce plastic pollution?


1 – Find alternatives to disposable plastic straws and cutlery

Plastic straws and cutlery can’t be recycled as they’re too small to undergo the recycling process, so try and find reusable versions whenever you can. Plastic straws and cutlery are among the 8 items the UK Plastics Pact aims to eliminate.

2 – Use refillable drinks bottles and hot drink cups

When you use refillable bottles and hot drink cups you’re reducing the amount of plastic you consume. But always remember to take them home with you when you’ve been out and about. In 2011, the UK threw away an estimated 2.5 billion coffee cups, most of which can’t be recycled.

3 – Pack your own lunch.

By taking a packed lunch you’ll save money and also reduce the amount of plastic you consume if you usually buy packaged food on the go. The packaging used for takeaway meals really adds up – a report found that the “lunch on the go habit generates 11 billion items of packaging waste per year”. And by using up your leftovers you’re also helping to prevent the negative impact of food waste as well.


4 – Get in the reusable bag habit

Reusing a shopping bag reduces the amount of plastic you consume and lowers the environmental impact of each bag. The single-use plastic bags cannot be recycled and are particularly problematic as they clog up machines in recycling plants. Fewer bags also means fewer carbon emissions. When a plastic carrier bag can no longer be used, you can’t put it in your usual household recycling, but it can be recycled at many supermarkets – visit www.recyclenow.com for more information.

5 – Find reusable alternatives to single-use plastics

There are lots of reusable alternatives to many single-use plastics. Do a little research to find sustainable alternatives that will work best for you.


6 – Recycle as much plastic as possible

Just like any other material with value we need to keep plastic out of the environment and in use for as long as we can.

Recycling plastics is an easy way we can all make a difference. It keeps plastic out of landfill, preserves our natural resources, and saves energy. Visit www.recyclenow.com to find out more.

Recycling tips:

  • Replace lids and tops – if they’re on the container they get recycled.
  • Squash empty bottles to save space.
  • Empty and rinse bottles – leftover foods or liquids can contaminate other recyclables.
  • Leave labels on as they are removed in the process – unless the packaging tells you to remove it.
  • The triggers on cleaning product bottles can be left on – soap bottle pumps need to be removed and put in your rubbish bin.

7 – Recycled content

Buying a product that includes recycled content means less energy and resources have been used in its production – so it has less of a negative environmental impact. It’s also a good indication that the manufacturer is committed to a sustainable approach to plastics. Unfortunately, it’s still difficult to make some items from recycled content, but real progress is being made in this area.

To find out more about what to recycle where you live, visit recyclenow.com