This pandemic has done a lot of damage. It’s everywhere; the effects on employment, financial health, mental health, and well… general health. Yep, it’s devastating and yep, we see and hear about it every day.
But, here’s what’s not everywhere. The explosion of single-use plastics being disposed of during lockdown is pretty scary. That includes the demand for face shields, gloves, takeaway food containers, and bubble wrap for online shopping. What’s worse? New plastic is cheaper to buy than recycled plastic, which means the bulk of the aforementioned - you cannot recycle.
So, in light of being Bondi natives, we’re taking the armchair activism route and showing you how to still say ‘hell, no!’ to single-use plastic when you’re confined to your four walls, the supermarket, and your takeaway coffee shop.
1. Confirmed: Using your keep cup is 100% A-OK.
As we mentioned in our last blog on plastic consumption, you know how long it takes for your coffee cup lid to break down. And, the bulk of our recycling is now being sent to landfill or stockpiled until someone can find a solution. Even pre-2018, only 9% of plastic was being recycled.
Firstly, science says reusable is Covid-safe. Science!
According to this statement, nearly 130 scientists, academics, and doctors from 19 countries agreed to reassuring retailers and consumers that reusable systems can be safely used during the pandemic alongside basic hygiene.
The Victorian Government has distributed a factsheet that tells us here, that there is no evidence to support switch back to using single-use plastics.
Not sure if your local cafe is doing its best by responsibly disposing and reducing its environmental footprint? You can find one who is, right here.
Alternatively, share this video with your local café and ask them to get involved with the ‘contactless pour’.
2. Shop and eat locally and sustainably
Supporting your local restaurants has become a big deal during lockdown, not only to keep the local economy pumping away - but let’s face it - having your favourite restaurant deliver your dinner might just be the highlight of the day (or week).
You can still make sure it’s as sustainable as possible. Say no to plastic straws, bags, silverware, and extra napkins. Decline extra condiments, choosing meals you know will have less plastic packaging (like pizza!) and recycle the paper bag you’re left with. On the other hand, you can investigate local food box deliveries which will help reduce food waste, and given most of it will be locally grown, this will result in fewer food miles.
You can read all about cooking and shopping sustainably, something we prepared earlier, here.
3. Re-use, re-use, re-use
If the global population adheres to a standard of one disposable face mask per day after lockdowns end, the pandemic could result in a monthly global consumption and waste of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves.
Improper disposal of just 1% of face masks translates to more than 10 million items, weighing 30,000 to 40,000 kg in landfills. Yikes. It’s kind of imperative we all invest in a few reusable facemasks, which fortunately are everywhere, and to introduce your household to biodegradable and compostable gloves.
So, yes, you can keep fighting the good fight with a continuous eye on your plastic consumption during lockdown, and do your bit for Mother Earth.