The requirements placed on us by COVID-19 make it harder to reduce plastic waste but there are still a number of things you can do to reduce your use of plastic.
1. Wear a reusable cloth face mask.
Some personal protective equipment (PPE) that is partly or fully made of plastic is necessary in some areas, such as hospitals, but we do not all have to use these, often single use items. There are many washable cloth masks around and they come in all sorts of colours and patterns. You can also make your own.
2. Use your own bag or reuse plastic bags
This is not new. Shops already charge for providing plastic bags in many places but we can still reduce the use of plastic shopping bags further. Science does not really support that the single use of plastic is safer than reusable materials during a pandemic. So bring your own bags with you.
If you can’t avoid using plastic bags, reuse them. They make good bin liners, you can protect plants or outdoor taps against frost with them or wrap them around paint brushes and rollers to keep them from drying out. You can also wrap them around the side mirrors of your car to prevent the mirrors from freezing over, use them as padding material when sending or storing items or donate them to your next charity shop to be reused as shopping bags.
3. Say no to single use containers on the go
Bring your own straw, spoon or drink container when you are out next. Some cafés even reward you for bringing your own cup.
4. Refuse single use partyware and balloons
Though parties may well be much smaller these days due to the restrictions in place you may still want to get partyware. Opt for biodegradable plates and cutlery if you can’t use your own, and avoid using balloons. Balloons are not biodegradable, so use paper lanterns, pom poms or garlands instead.
5. Avoid excessive packaging
Most items that have to be shipped or the food you find in the supermarket are wrapped in plastic. In addition, even though online shopping may be convenient it increases the use of plastic and packaging. Try to buy local and buy groceries that are not wrapped excessively. This also supports your local community.