More than 13 Billion plastic bottles are thrown away in the UK each year, less than 50% of which are recycled. Taking an average of 450 years to biodegrade, some up to 1,000, this waste is dropped into landfill or pollutes our oceans for centuries to come. The effects on our environment are toxic as we fast approach the point of no return in the climate crisis. 

The fight against the use of single use plastics is being bolstered by a new wave of environmental activists, campaigners and influencers as an awareness of our carbon footprint grows. They are helping to move the conversation into the mainstream. Reducing your plastic waste is no longer just a trend, it’s a lifestyle. 

The realisation of the impact of the day to day human consumption of plastics was accentuated in the UK in 2015 when the government imposed a 5p levy on all plastic bags, encouraging most retailers to ditch them altogether. Canvas bags quickly became an affordable and stylish substitute and can now be found in almost every retailer, saving an estimated 1.1 Billion plastic bags each year. Quick move to The Plastics Pact, a collaboration between the UK government and NGO’s aiming to make 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recycle or compostable by 2025.  

In 2019 many events and festivals banned plastic bottles on site causing a surge in the demand for reusable bottles.  Glastonbury Festival 2019 alone saved an estimated 1.3 Million bottles after committing to reducing their plastic waste and the Drastic on Plastic campaign has brought together over 60 independent UK festivals to address their plastic consumption head on.

The retail environment is also adapting to support the movement with almost all coffee shops offering a discount if you use your own reusable cup and free hydration stations are popping up all over the high street. 

Using a reusable water bottle helps reduce plastic pollution and the harm it’s doing to our planet. Did you know that producing plastic water bottles, filling and transporting them takes 17 Million gallons of oil to make 1 years’ supply? That’s enough to power 190,000 homes for a year, its unsustainable. Their production also releases 2.5 Million tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide into the environment.

With an all-out ban on single use plastics on the horizon and world leaders pledging to do more for the environment in the coming years, there is hope that we can undo some of the damage already done to the planet.  While living in a zero-waste world might seem like a long way off, we can all make a start today by saying no to single use plastic bottles.