As plastic waste in Great Britain continues to mount, and landfills continue to fill up almost quicker than we can dig them, it is time to re-assess our plastic waste plan. Theresa May has called plastic waste “the environmental scourge of our time” and as such has pledged to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. However, campaigners are saying this is too little too late. With plastic waste already building up in the UK following China’s ban, what can be done right now?
The plan Theresa May suggests is a 25-year long-term plan. It has been met by opposition from more left-wing environmentally led parties. 25 years is a long time, Jeremy Corbyn argues, and although the Conservatives seem to have made progress in the battle against plastic, there is still a long way to go. The predominant initiative enforced across the UK in an attempt to reduce plastic waste and pollution was the introduction of 5p plastic carrier bags, which has reduced plastic bag usage by nine billion say the BBC. Similarly, in an attempt to secure the “cleaner, greener” Britain that the conservative slogan promotes, microbeads have been banned from cosmetic and cleaning products.
After concerns were raised over the impact of microbeads on marine life, they were banned across the UK. The ban, though welcomed by campaigners, still does not go far enough. It seems that whatever legislation the government introduces, it will never be enough to reduce the devastating effect of plastic on our eco-systems. Plastic reduction and an environmental consciousness are what we believe will help to minimise the effects of plastic, and eventually eradicate it from our waste. This is how we pledge to reduce plastic waste at Billi.
Billi is renowned for its focus on environmental issues, ensuring our appliances are sustainable and go beyond water and energy saving. Consequently, we at Billi UK have attained ISO9001 and ISO14001 certification. Moreover, all our products are all designed for the lowest possible eco-impact. When your business installs a Billi system, they are making an environmentally conscious choice. Not only are our products designed to minimise carbon footprints and energy waste, they also can provide water instantly. With a Billi system, your employees no longer need to bring disposable bottles of water into work. As Billi taps filter their water, they produce the same high-quality water you could buy from the supermarket.
Providing instant water means that your employees don’t have to worry about unfiltered, unchilled water at work. If they still want to drink from a bottle, encourage multi-use bottles. Encourage the use of bottles that are crafted from metal or glass to reduce environmental impact. Alternatively, you could produce branded glass bottles for your employees to drink from. This may seem like a small change to make, but it’s worth it. Encouraging your staff to cut down on plastic or recycle is vital. Education is one of the easiest ways to encourage change.
In some parts of the ocean, it’s estimated that there are over “half a million pieces of plastic for every square kilometre” according to Blue Planet. With figures like these, it’s easy to see why plastic waste reduction is a huge problem. Under the government plan proposed by Theresa May, a crackdown on plastic will take place. Alongside the current initiatives of banning microbeads and introducing a 5p plastic bag charge, there will also be “government funding for plastics innovation”, and “the extension of the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags to all retailers in England”. Greenpeace questioned why there was no mention of deposit return schemes for bottles. The government has said it will consider this but as of yet, have not.
For the general public, the thought of mounting plastic can be daunting. But with charities like Greenpeace saying the equivalent of a truck full of rubbish ends up being dumped in the sea every minute, change needs to happen. We can start from the ground up and tackle plastic waste together. Here’s how.
As mentioned earlier, plastic bottles are one of the biggest causes of plastic waste. According to the BBC, we use more than 35 million plastic bottles every year in the UK. A really simple way of working to reduce that amount is to carry a reusable bottle with you every day. Cheap, plastic disposable bottles can also leave your water tasting plasticky. Use an app or website to find out free refillable water bottle stations across the country. Or, bring your disposable bottle to work and fill it up with filtered water from your Billi tap.
If you use social media, we’re sure you will have seen the harrowing videos of marine life entwined in plastic, or with straws in their stomachs or orifices. BBC News states that plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach cleanups. With biodegradable non-plastic alternatives out there, it really makes no sense to continue using plastic straws. To really make a difference, why not speak to the managers or owners of your local bars and restaurants. See if you can get them to switch to biodegradable straws.
Swapping plastic cutlery for reusable cutlery may seem like a small change, but with plastic, anywhere you can stop using it is for the best. Carrying around a metal or wooden knife and fork for your lunch might not be glamorous, but neither is plastic waste. Encourage colleagues at work to bring reusable cutlery rather than plastic cutlery for their lunch each day. It may mean slightly more washing up, but with an eco-friendly Billi system, you can afford to use a little more water at a minimal cost to the environment.
After the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced earlier this year, plastic bag usage has gone down. It’s not only costly to the environment to use plastic bags, it now also costs you money too. To combat plastic bag usage even further, start using cotton tote bags. Tote bags are reusable, washable and trendy – so get one!
The new government plastic waste plan states that plastic packaging for food will be seriously reduced over the coming years. Supermarkets will be urged to introduce “plastic-free” aisles further discouraging people from buying heavily packaged goods.”In the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls”. However, there is a way to tackle plastic packaging right now. Next time you shop, shop with the environment in mind and visit markets or buy loose fruit and veg. This minimises plastic waste, plus you can carry them all in your trendy new tote bag.
The time for thinking about your plastic waste is now. Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, while speaking to the Evening Standard, welcomed steps by the Government to cut plastic waste. “The time for action is now and we urge the Government not to kick the proverbial plastic bottle down the street, but implement new policies and legislation that the country is crying out for to finally go plastic free.” He added: “We must reinvent our relationship with single-use plastic to eliminate, replace and recycle plastics faster and more effectively.”