Plastic pollution is cluttering our oceans at an alarming rate, with around 245,000 tonnes of it floating on its surface.
With the government wanting the UK to be recycling at least 50 per cent of household waste by 2020, there's plenty we can do to help by making just a few small changes.
Recycling experts Junk Hunters have identified 10 simple things you can do at home to reduce your plastic waste and help our planet.
1. Think before you buy
Really think about your shopping list and avoid buying single-use plastics like water bottles - instead buy one you can use again. Avoid packaged goods such as fruit and veg and opt for produce from the fresh section.
2. Buy a strong reusable bag
It's easy to forget to bring yours and can be frustrating having to buy a 5p plastic bag each time you do a shop, which is also really bad for the environment. Keep it in the car or fold it up in your everyday handbag and it’ll be there ready for next time.
3. Avoid microbeads
Microbeads are found in our everyday beauty products like face washes and toothpastes, which are often washed down the sink and end up in our oceans which are then eaten by marine life. Fortunately there are plenty of alternatives.
4. Buy in bulk
Buying your food in bulk uses less packaging than buying smaller amounts of food more frequently. You can keep food such as cereal or pasta in tubs to help the environment and also save you money in the long term.
5. Cook for yourself
By choosing to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients at home, you're avoiding ready meals, takeaways and other plastic-packaged foods. This will cut your plastic consumption, save you money and help you make healthier choices rather than going for processed convenient options.
6. Avoid wet wipes
Wet wipes and baby wipes are made with plastic resins and are responsible for clogging drains when they are flushed down the toilet. The government is in talks about eliminating wipes in the hope that businesses will formulate eco-alternatives, so it’s best to get used to living without them now.
7. Avoid plastic in clothing
Clothing can contain plastic too, like synthetic fibres such as polyester and lycra that have micro-plastic fibres. These come off in the wash and through general wear, so opt for natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool to prevent this.
8. Use refillable stations
Retailers are starting to provide refillable stations for certain convenience items, so research your local area and take your own containers to refill your goods. This means you won’t have all the unnecessary packaging each time you shop.
9. Swap to shampoo bars
Toiletries with no packaging, such as soap and shampoo bars, are an easy way to cut back on unnecessary plastic. There’s no packaging to throw away, as once the toiletries are gone, they’re gone.
10. Say no to straws
Plastic straws are a functionless plastic that are being banned gradually in retailers and restaurants nationwide. Swap to paper straws that you can recycle or opt for metal or glass straws that you can wash and use again.