The problem of plastic pollution is huge and it is one that affects us all, one for which we all share responsibility as individuals and more importantly, collectively.
PLASTIC FREE STREATHAM is a group formed to try to make a difference in the Streatham area. For individuals, businesses and community groups, who would like to reduce their use of and reliance on SINGLE USE disposable plastic. We are also a group for anyone who is deeply concerned about climate change and the climate emergency.
To clarify, SINGLE USE plastic products, as the name suggests, are used only once before they are thrown away or possibly recycled. These items include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, drinks bottles and most food packaging. Many of these items cannot be recycled (for more info on that see our Recycling page).
Our aim is to create a SINGLE USE plastic free Streatham High Road (and beyond). It is also to raise awareness among the community about plastic and environmental issues and provide a guide to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Did you Know
The amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be nearly 5 million tonnes.
Only a third of plastic packaging used in consumer products is recycled each year.
Two billion straws are thrown away across London each year.
Up to seven million coffee cups are thrown away every day in the UK.
90% of the rubbish floating in the oceans is made of plastic, around 46,000 pieces per square mile.
The average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at least 450 years
Do you think it is possible to live life without plastic? Or, at least, to live with less of it? Below we have compiled a list of plastic free and less plastic alternatives for you to consider. The list is not meant to be overwhelming but simply to show what is possible. Choose a few that seem doable and that will have the most impact on plastic reduction for you personally. No one can do it all at once. But we can all get started!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Refuse all plastic bags; carry reusable bags whenever you are going shopping, take a few or invest in a shopping trolley.
2. Don’t buy plastic bottled drinks/water. Buy glass or cans and take a reusable bottle that you can fill up in bars, cafes and restaurants.
3. Avoid pre-wrapped bread and buy bread from bakeries and supermarkets but using your own bag.
4. Buy fruit and vegetables loose from markets and stores using your own bags or a trolley if you are buying lots.
5. Use beeswax wrap for your food rather than clingfilm or foil or even a bowl with a plate on top in the fridge will do.
6. Plan your meals for the week to reduce food waste and avoid pre-packaged processed food which usually comes in plastic.
7. Refuse plastic straws; carry your own metal or bamboo straws which can be purchased online. Check out www.theecostrawcompany.com
8. If you intend to buy a take-away hot drink bring your own reusable cup; this can earn you a discount too. There are lots of styles including collapsible so they don't take up too much space in your bag.
9. A small thermos flask is great for keeping drinks cool in the summer. 10. Use soap and shampoo bars. Or refill bottles at a zero waste shop www.naturalsoap.co.uk
11. Take your own containers to buy dry food (such as pasta, cereals, rice, pulses) and refill laundry detergent and washing-up liquid from a package-free retailer. See our Directory for Retailers.
12. Buy less! Borrow books from the library or buy second-hand items from one of the many charity shops on Streatham High Road.
13. Use charity shops to purchase good quality clothes (and many other items, including household goods and soft furnishings) whenever possible. There are lots on Streatham High Road and the money you spend goes to help others too. See our Directory for details.
14. Use bicarbonate of soda instead of deodorant. Just dust on. It works!
15. Use alternative toothbrushes bamboo and tooth powders.
16. Use cloth nappies (Lambeth is part of the Real Nappies for London scheme) https://www.realnappiesforlondon.org.uk/voucher-participating-boroughs/lambeth/
17. Use cloth sanitary pads.
18. Use an eco egg or Smol tablets instead of regular laundry detergent
19. Repair/upcycle clothing FIRST before eventually donating
20. Replace household cleaning products with natural alternatives: clean with lemon juice or citric acid, vinegar, essentials oils, bicarbonate of soda. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/natural-resources/homemade-cleaning-products-5-fantastic-recipes
21. Reduce meat and fish consumption maybe to once a week. Make it a special occasion. Take your own container with a lid to the butcher or meat counter at the supermarket.
22. Consider Ecobricking https://www.ecobricks.org/
Have a look at our Directory for businesses in the Streatham area who can help you achieve your plastic free goals.
Suggested resources for more information:Join Plastic Free Streatham on Facebook.
Journey to Zero Waste: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JZWUK/
OTHER ECO IDEAS TO CONSIDER
For those seeking to cut their carbon emissions. Change your electricity provider to Ecotricity's 100% green electricity and frack free green gas.
Find out more at www.ecotricity.co.uk
Are you passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you.
Whether you contribute information or even by volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.