This month is Plastic Free July, and we're making a collective effort to refuse single use plastic at home and around the office. We've put together some easy ways you can #choosetorefuse to help you live more sustainably and reduce waste.
1. Carry a reusable coffee cup
Irish people consume approximately four hot drinks per week, purchasing about two million plastic cups every day. Opt for a reusable cup like a Keep Cup, and as an added bonus a lot of cafes will even give you a discount - click here for a handy map from the Conscious Cup Campaign.
2. Bring your own bottle
According to a survey by environmental NGO Coastwatch, drinks containers (primarily plastic bottles) are the most commonly found litter on the Irish coastline, with as many as 18 bottles littered for every 500 metres. Carry a refillable water bottle, like these from Little Green Shop, to stay hydrated and cut down on your plastic waste.
3. Refuse disposable cutlery
Globally, 6 million tonnes of non-durable plastics like forks, spoons and knives are discarded and diverted to landfill each year. If you're getting lunch to go, bring a metal or wooden set with you, and avoid flimsy, single-use cutlery.
4. Go with glass
Glass can be recycled several times, while most rigid plastics can only be recycled once, if at all. If you're buying packaged products, go for those in glass instead of plastic. Consider storing food in glass containers rather than plastic, to avoid potential chemical absorption.
5. Avoid overly packaged food
Each year, approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic flows into the sea, destroying complex ecosystems and marine life. Opt for package-free fruit and vegetables where possible, and purchase dried staples such as rice, oats, and beans, in bulk to store in your own glass containers, and consider joining the Friends of the Earth Sick of Plastic campaign.
6. Invest in a reusable straw
Straws are among the top 10 items found during beach clean-ups, causing harm to seabirds and marine life. Refuse to accept a straw, or invest in a bamboo or metal straw that can be reused over and over, saving money and the environment. Download the Coastwatch Micro Litter app to help identify and tackle micro litter sources as you walk at the beach.
Save and share our infographic below, and follow @plasticfreejuly on Twitter for more tips on how to cut back on your single-use plastic dependency.