Plastics and young people: What strategies can we take to reduce plastic pollution?

Blog by Artie

Sustainable Merton Young Community Champion

There are some easy things you can do to reduce the amount of plastic you, and others around you, use. I’m sure you have seen this slogan around somewhere: “Just say no”. This is something you actually can say to people selling you items or food in plastic wrapping. Of course, there are always exceptions, but plastic carrier bags at supermarkets are one of the worst things you could use to carry your shopping, or whatever you bought, home. They are not even that good anyway, always breaking. I suggest doing what I suggested to my family, using more permanent bags to carry stuff. Some places also sell strong reusable woven bags or these very small fold up bags that you can shrink into your pocket like sleeping bags.

I do try to help the world by telling my friends to stop doing something stupid like throwing their drink cans into the forest or chucking crisp packets over a bridge, but it doesn’t work most of the time. I need people to understand that single-use plastic is a bad thing. Plastic chopping boards or plastic keyboards or plastic chairs are not single-use, in fact, they can be used forever until they break. So, what is classed as single-use plastic? It is a plastic that is designed to be thrown away once you are done with it. These are used so often because they are cheap, flimsy, and low-quality items that break easily and can be mass-produced. These are the items that you have to avoid.

It’s very very hard to do I know, because we take these things for granted. What I don’t know is, do many people actually know where these things end up when they buy them? A lot of single-use plastics end up in the ocean or landfill. It is better to throw it in the recycling section of the bin but how do we know how much of it actually recycled? There are so many types of plastic and some plastics are hard to recycle, some of it is sent abroad for other countries to deal with. So, it would massively help to just not buy the stuff in the first place, then you d