DURING the coronavirus pandemic there has been obvious concern about protecting ourselves and others and a need for extra care when buying, sharing or re-using everyday items.
The need to minimise the transmission of infection has resulted in an increase of disposable items. Sometimes there are very good medical reasons to use disposable equipment, but sensible disposal is essential to prevent them from finding their way onto our beaches and into our environment.
Luckily there are many things that we can all do to help reduce our plastic waste at the same time as staying safe and enjoying our beaches while we are out and about.
Here are five quick tips:
Take a drinks bottle wherever you go. Fill the bottle before you leave home and use re-fill points while you are out. There is a helpful guide to safe re-filling available via the Refill scheme – see refill.org.uk/water-refill-and-covid-guidance/ for more details.
Take your own coffee cup (keep cup). This can still be re-filled safely; the video ‘#contactless coffee’ explains how. Avoid plastic spoons or stirrers – it’s easy to pop a teaspoon in your bag along with your cup, or look for compostable versions. If these are not available from the seller, ask them why.
Say no to plastic cutlery and straws. Taking your own re-usable cutlery or straws is the best bet. If not, do away with them unless they are essential.
Use a washable, re-usable face mask instead of a disposable one. Examples can be found at www.hexnbears.com or www.robertdyas.co.uk/delphis-eco-reusable-and-washable-antimicrobial-face-mask, although please note these are not medical masks
Wherever possible avoid buying anything that is in single-use plastic packaging. If you find that the item you want is only available in plastic, photograph the item and send a message to the seller to ask them to change their packaging.
Avoiding single-use plastic is the best solution. However, if you find you are in possession of a piece of unwanted plastic packaging, it is still possible to re-use or recycle most plastic items.
Take them home, wash them, re-use them, find a new use for them or if that’s not possible, recycle them responsibly.
We have all heard about the increase in littering on the beaches along our coastline over the past few months and the sight of piles of discarded rubbish has been heartbreaking. Taking your rubbish home is best.
These quick tips will help us all take small steps to prevent the creation of waste so that clean beaches are there for everyone to enjoy. Even the smallest step can make a big difference.