If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.

The United Nations World Environment Day (WED) is just around the corner and with this year’s theme being ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, we thought we would take a look at one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time.

Single-use or disposable plastics are something that all of us have used at some time or another, and are a massive contributor to global plastic pollution. The statistics are horrifying. Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used each year and close to one million plastic bottles are bought every minute. These and other disposable plastics make their way into landfill and the wider environment and frequently take more than 1000 years to degrade. Plastic accounts for a whopping ten percent of human-generated waste and 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year, killing more than 100,000 marine animals.  Plastic particles have found their way into 83% of tap water and it is not surprising that they are also found in 90% of bottled water.

Global plastic production is expected to almost double in the next 10 -15 years and as consumers, we have the power to make a huge impact by reducing or eliminating our single-use plastic consumption. If we can’t reuse it, we need to consider refusing it.  Every change counts – no matter how small. #BeatPlasticPollution.

Here are 13 plastic reducing tips to get you started:

  • Trade plastic shopping bags for your own reusable bags.
  • Ditch plastic straws and drink from the glass or cup.
  • Rethink buying bottled water and carry a reusable water bottle.
  • Choose cardboard or glass packaging over plastic when shopping.
  • Take your own reusable cup to the café for your on-the-go morning brew.
  • Swap the disposable razor for the replaceable blade kind.
  • Trade your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo alternative.
  • Avoid excess and unnecessary food packaging at the supermarket.
  • Pick up litter on your travels, especially near our waterways and beaches.
  • Drop your soft plastic packaging and plastic bags into the REDcycle recycling bins at all Coles supermarkets to be converted into new products.
  • Avoid microplastic beads in products like scrubs and washes – look out for polypropylene or polyethylene in the ingredients.
  • Rethink your food storage and try aluminium foil, wax paper or glass containers instead of ziplock bags and cling film.
  • Ladies give a menstrual cups or re-usable sanitary underwear a go or swap to a sanitary product with no plastic wrapping.

To coincide with WED, Gecko Environment Council will be hosting The Green Weekend on the Gold Coast from Friday 1 to Tuesday 5 June.  There is a full calendar of events on offer including morning nature walks, koala tree planting and a wildlife expo to just name a few.  You can check out the full festival program on the Gecko Environment Council website  gecko.org.au/gold-coast-green-weekend.

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