Happy New Year everyone and a warm welcome to 2019. No doubt everyone has been busy making their new year resolutions. This year, instead of the traditional resolutions, I am going to endorse something more drastic –  A revolution, A plastic revolution.

It was heartening in 2018 to see so much interest and change relating to the reduction in single use plastic, but we have a long way to go and I urge everyone to include ditching single use plastic on your New Year’s resolution list.

For those of you who are a little unsure of where to start, I am pleased to report that for the vast majority of single use plastic, there are alternative products that are as good (or better) than we currently use by default. Of course, the hard part is breaking existing habits but that’s the case with all new year resolutions. So, I want to invite you to get involved and break some plastic habits with me.

My advice is to start with a simple change initially, something that you can incorporate easily into your daily routine. Here are my top ten tips to get your started on your plastic free journey…..

  1. Take stock of how much plastic you encounter or use on a daily basis and look at how you might achieve a reduction. It follows that a reduction in use will automatically contribute towards a reduction in demand.  The less we demand it, the more it will cease being economically viable to produce.
  2. Supermarkets are a good place to start – avoid pre packaged goods where possible. Buy loose fruit and vegetables and always take your own bags.
  3. Use a refillable drink bottle for hot and cold drinks – some coffee shop chains even give a discount on your drink if you bring your own reusable cup so you can save money too! Sky Ocean Rescue even have a range designed by celebs #PassOnPlastic Reusable Range
  4. Buy cotton buds with card based stems, not plastic (these are one of the main single use plastics found on beaches)
  5. Avoid disposable cutlery or plastic straws. Where possible select card/paper based products that can be recycled.
  6. Be an advocate. Spread the word and encourage change in others. Within your circle of friends, relatives and work colleagues, who can you try and turn against single use plastic?
  7. If you are about to get back into the packed lunch routine at the start of term, make it a goal to stop using plastic sandwich bags. Tupperware containers are a good alternative and even yoghurt can be decanted from a large pot into small reusable pots each day to avoid multi packs.
  8. Clingfilm – we have all become heavily reliant on this ‘go to’ kitchen staple to keep our food fresh. Many people cannot comprehend life without it but there are options available. Try beeswax wraps as a sustainable alternative www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk/
  9.  Many of us are already using reusable bags for life on our supermarket shop but how about expanding that to include any retail outlets. The UK’s favourite pastime is shopping, so, if we all take our own bag with us when indulging in a bit of retail therapy, single use plastic bags could become a thing of the past across all shops.
  10. This one may be for later in the year once you’ve had some practice but definitely worth doing at some stage. Challenge yourself to a plastic free week. It takes a little preparation but, believe me, it’s worth it and you will gain a real sense of achievement.

Always bear in mind that, no matter how small or large your single use plastic reduction effort is, it can and will make a difference. What difference does my plastic bottle of water make, I hear you cry. But imagine if everyone said that…that would equate to 7 billion bottles!

I encourage everyone to give it a try in 2019 and beyond, our planet will thank you! I’d love to hear how you all get on so please tweet any images of your plastic alternative to me @deecaffari – #plasticrevolution

Dee Caffari

British yachtswoman Dee Caffari is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times. In 2006 Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.

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