With the war against plastic being at its height, there is still more steps that we can be taking to save our planet. With a few small changes to your daily routine, you could start reducing the amount plastic you are using and be on the way to a zero-waste lifestyle.
Firstly, what does it mean to live a zero-waste lifestyle? The simple answer is to send nothing to landfill. Preferably reducing what we need, reusing as much as we can and composting the rest. In Lincolnshire, over 43% of waste was recycled, reused or composted, around 52% was converted to energy and less than 5% went to landfill. These 2017 statistics from Lincolnshire County Council don’t seem too bad, however, City of Lincoln residents only reused, recycled and composted 35.1% in the same period.
Many individuals are becoming more aware about their relationship with plastic and their personal environmental impact. This was the case for Charlotte Watkivs and her friend Anna Jackson, who made a 2016 New Year’s resolution to embark on their zero-waste journey. The pair were shocked at the amount of plastic they were left with from their food shopping and were determined to make a change.
Charlotte describes how “at the beginning of our journey we were completely under prepared! But after a few small changes, like actually remembering to bring our reusable containers to the shops, it became second nature!”
The pair created the popular blog “Zero Waste Life” in 2017 – which has thousands of readers per month – to help spread awareness and share useful tips for living a plastic-free lifestyle. Growing your own food, buying metal containers and plastic free products, such as bamboo toothbrushes, are some easy alternatives. However, Charlotte explains how to overcome the everyday difficulties: “If you’re living in the sticks – make sure you buy in bulk to reduce the amount of waste you’re using. Also, it’s not impossible to shop in supermarkets! Make sure you try sticking round the edges of the shop, like going to the butchers and bakery, then try to avoid the middle section for more sustainable products.”
Another alternative to plastic-free shopping is going to local farmers’ markets. Steve Sharpe, a Lincoln trader at the Central Market, has been selling fruit and vegetables for over 35 years. Over this time, he has stopped providing plastic bags and replaced them with paper ones. Despite this, Steve has witnessed a change in Lincolnshire shoppers: “There has been more people coming in and using their own bags and Tupperware. Unfortunately, the case is that the people who actually care are going to do something about it – however, people that don’t are going to carry on living the same.”
With a few simple steps you can start reducing your carbon footprint and start living a plastic free life. All it takes is some good planning and determination!