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In The Market, by Rebekah Chilvers, March 19, 2019

Plastic. It’s everywhere. It seems pretty much impossible to buy everyday commodities without finding some kind of plastic either in the product or packaging.

I can’t help but think that big companies aren’t doing enough to cut down on their use of the material.

Just last week Coca-Cola revealed it uses three million tonnes of plastic packaging in one year.

Plastic bottles.
Plastic bottles.

Seeing thousands of crisp packets, drinks bottles and sweet wrappers cluttering up our oceans, and having a negative effect on marine life is not just upsetting but, for me at least, really infuriating.

Who are we to destroy their habitat? And why do we not care enough to do something about it now?

That’s why I’m now trying my best to buy more eco-friendly products when those options are available.

It feels almost like a switch has flicked recently and I’ve realised that I am not doing enough to cut down on my own plastic consumption.

And I’m sure there’ll be those who say that it’s the companies and governments that need to make the changes that really have an impact, but we really can make a difference ourselves.

I am somewhat reassured by the news that 94 per cent of residents in East Anglia have made lifestyle changes for the planet, according to a study commissioned by Lightfoot – making it the third greenest region in the UK. And, for me, it’s been a few small steps at a time.

Last May, I pledged $30 to an American Kickstarter project called Final Straw, which claimed to be creating the world’s first collapsible, reusable straw.

Fast forward to January this year, and I received my Final Straw in the post.

It’s an impressive product, which I now take with me everywhere in a bid to never need to use a plastic straw again.

Thankfully, a lot of restaurants no longer use plastic straws, or at least no longer offer them automatically.

This wish to find everyday items which are ‘greener’ has spread, and I am now the proud owner of a bamboo toothbrush (with plastic bristles which sadly are non-recyclable, but it’s better than a fully plastic one) and charcoal dental floss, and I’m hoping to purchase some shampoo bars soon.

I’m now making a more conscious effort to buy loose fruit and vegetables, too.

I have also taken up ‘ecobricking’, which is the process of cleaning, drying and cutting up non-recyclable plastic waste and packing it into plastic bottles, which can be used for a variety of projects.

This means that, hopefully, my non-recyclable plastics won’t go to landfill or end up in the ocean somewhere.

I’ve only been collecting the materials I’ll be using in my ecobricks for a couple of weeks and it’s shocking to see how much can’t be recycled.

To find out more, visit www.ecobricks.org.

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