Plastic botles in a pile.

How to eliminate single-use plastic from the kitchen

Plastic is polluting the environment every day. As well as on land, plastic is in the sea and causing more harm than ever. In fact, at least eight million pieces of plastic are entering the oceans every day.

You may be wondering how so much plastic is entering the oceans. Two-thirds of plastic comes straight from land-based sources, such as litter left on the beach or washed down the drains from rubbish dropped in towns and cities.

The amount of plastic in the oceans currently stands at a shocking 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic, which weighs 269,000 tonnes (equivalent to 1,345 adult blue whales). As well as harming our environment, wildlife is greatly affected. Fish, seabirds, dolphins, and seals face injuries and are at the risk of dying from being entangled in plastic or mistaking it for food.

How can I help?

There are many ways you can help reduce the amount of plastic pollution. A great place to start is from your very own kitchen!

Many of us are unknowingly contributing to plastic pollution by using large amounts of single-use plastics. Some small changes you make at home could potentially contribute massively to reducing plastic pollution.

Here are some of the following ways you can help!

Tote bags

A plastic bag is used for 15 minutes on average, but could take up to 300 years to fragment, so get yourself a cotton tote bag for your shopping rather than using plastic bags.

You can buy a pack of plain tote bags from as little as £8.75. If the tote bag is plain, you could even use it as a DIY project and draw a funky design on it!

Steel straws

You may have noticed in the past two years that straws in restaurants and pubs are limited, and when they do have them, they are paper. The UK government made plans to ban plastic straws in England completely. Plastic straws take hundreds of years to decompose and are only used for a very short time.

Having a steel straw means you can re-use it as much as you want, and you can take them to pubs and restaurants with you!

Plastic straws being held by the ocean.

Reusable bowl covers

Instead of using cling film and other plastic products to cover your bowls, switch to buying a pack of reusable bowl covers! They come in a variation of materials, from silicone to fabric.

Glass storage

Using glass storage instead of plastic not only helps the environment but is likely to last longer too!

Reusable water bottle

A plastic bottle can last for 450 years in the marine environment, and it never truly goes away. Having a reusable water bottle helps reduce plastic pollution and saves you going for a trip to the shop just for a bottle of water!

Buy your shopping in bulk

Make sure to buy your shopping in bulk or ‘do a big shop’. Not only will this help the environment, but it will save you a lot of money! Planning out your meals means you can buy shopping in bulk and cut down on the amount of single-use plastic.

Upcycle any necessary waste

If you have used some plastic, you could have some fun with it instead of throwing it straight in the bin! There are ways to upcycle plastic that you’ve used. For example, you could make plastic bottles into organisers for anywhere in your home.

Is all plastic bad?

Not all plastic is bad. Some are used for medical conditions where syringes are required, for hip replacements and as protective wear!

The problem is single-use plastic and how it is being used. If you can make any change to help reduce plastic pollution, it will make a difference!

Published by

Lucy Ravenhall

Lucy is a long-standing editor of the Forge Recycling blog and loves writing about her environmental passions.