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Ideas to help reduce your plastic

Residents holding reusable water bottles and coffee cups for the Love Essex Plastics Campaign.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

The use of plastic items, especially single-use items (which are items specifically designed to only be used once), is accelerating climate change. But there are many ways you can reduce your single-use plastic and make a difference.

Throughout 2020 and into early 2021, nearly 18,000 residents supported the Essex Plastic Pledge in a bid to reduce their single-use plastic by swapping to reusable alternatives. A big thank you to everyone that got involved with the campaign, and good luck to those continuing their plastic-reducing journey.

Here, you will be able to find resources and information about easy swaps to reusable items and top tips about the small changes we can all make in our everyday lives that will make such a difference to our environment.

What is the problem with plastic?

Creating plastic using raw or new materials requires lots of energy and non-renewable resources (resources that cannot be easily replaced naturally), such as oil.

Another problem with single-use plastic is that it’s been designed to only be used once before being disposed of which is very wasteful. Not all plastics are recyclable so a lot of items can end up in landfill at the end of their useful life. Depending on what type of plastic the item is made from, it can take hundreds of years to breakdown. Even then, it doesn’t disappear completely - it just breaks down into ‘microplastics’ which are harmful to our environment.

There are many quick and easy ways you can reduce your impact on the planet. The best option is to reduce the number of items you use and choose reusable items instead. The next best option is to ensure you’re opting for recyclable items and recycle as much as you can.

New plastic items, such as toys or plastic bottles, can often be made using recycled plastic. Using recycled plastic in place of raw materials significantly reduces the energy use and carbon emissions.

For more information on single-use plastics, you can watch our webinar on our YouTube channel.

Easy switches to reduce your single-use plastic

By opting for reusable items, you can reduce the amount of plastic you throw away. There are lots of ideas, but remember by making just One Small Change, you can make a big difference. Check out the links below to find out more information on our top easy switches.

Find out more about plastic

Plastic recycling in Essex

Tips to improve your recycling

What's the difference between biodegradable, compostable and eco?