“Ten times more plastic pollution has been dumped in the Atlantic than previously believed” (The Independent, 2020)
When we consider tools for reducing plastic waste, we tend to think on the largest scale. What initiatives are the Government putting in place? How much plastic waste already exists? How many centuries will it take to break down? What negative consequences are going to happen or are already happening?
For most, the idea of taking individual responsibility and changing personal habits doesn’t feel as though it equates to having any impact on the scale of the problem. But it does!
If we all took one step to reducing our plastic usage, as a collective, we’d have a massive impact on the fight against plastic. These small steps to avoid plastic could be saying no to chewing gum or refusing plastic cutlery and other plastic products. We can also make sure to choose goods that are not plastic wrapped or come in other plastic packaging. Other choices, such as having milk delivered eliminates plastic, as this uses refillable glass bottles instead. And, of course, there is now more choice than ever when it comes to reusable water bottles, completely banishing the need for plastic water bottles.
These are all choices that are easy to do, but if you want even more ideas, a tool like Bower Collective’s Plastic Waste Calculator can be an amazing asset. In just a few questions you'll be able to see even more actions you need to take in order to reduce one or more uses of plastic.
Why should we be aware of plastic waste?
“Due to its chemical structure, plastic can take 400 years or more to degrade.”
(City of Westminster)
Plastic waste causes pollution in our environment. From ecosystems on land and sea to affecting parts of the developing world without being regulated. The issue is that we rely on plastic as a material, but the world is overwhelmed by the amount that's already been produced, let alone what will be produced in the future.
As our world evolves and humanity grows, the demand for plastic increases because of its cheap cost and versatility. But it's often easy to forget the consequences. The harm to our environment includes the destruction of wildlife, habitats and pollution of water systems. These things all affect the way we live and the future for our families.
Why use Bower Collective’s Plastic Waste Calculator?
Our Plastic Waste Calculator is a great tool that can be used by anyone. From the individual looking to create new positive habits, to kids who want to find fun facts and learn more about having a healthy relationship with the planet.
Using the calculator makes it easy to see where your consumption and contribution to plastic waste is coming from. Also, seeing the data laid out helps us make a conscious impact for changing household habits.
What do I do with my results?
Our Plastic Waste Calculator only takes a few minutes or more time can be spent to assess each level. It’s a great activity for all the family and quickly produces results. Once the results have been created, you can also have them emailed to you. This is a great way to keep the data and return to the calculator in a few months to compare and see how well your journey to reducing plastic waste is progressing!
When you review your results page you’ll be informed of how much plastic your household produces in kilograms. To put this into perspective, Bower will illustrate how this volume is represented if everyone in the UK used plastic in the same way as your household. This might be alarming, but it's the first step in a positive direction to reduce usage. And when you come back in a month or two, all these numbers will have declined!
Bower will also identify where the majority of your plastic consumption is coming from. This makes it easy to establish where to start with low-waste living. A selection of products will also be personally selected to help you on your way.
What impact can be made?
“Families in the UK throw, on average, 40kg of plastic into landfill per year, which could have been recycled.”
When I first used the calculator, my household was producing 16.93kg of non-food plastic waste.
We’d nearly got the bathroom products down to one or two! However, we were unaware that our kitchen was the biggest contributor of plastic waste. In my mind, I was convinced it was my bathroom and had spent time and energy reducing this.
Bower recommended three products to help us reduce our kitchen’s plastic. By swapping out two existing products and choosing Bower Collective's Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid and Sanitising Hand Wash Lime and Aloe Vera instead, we reduced our yearly consumption by more than 1kg.
Here’s what 1kg of plastic waste looks like: 3,300 plastic straws; 350 plastic bags; 55 plastic bottles; 78 coffee cups and lids
So 1kg doesn’t seem like a lot when you begin with nearly 17kg a year, but even that small amount will have some impact.
If the UK produced 2.2 million tons of plastic waste per year and there are 66.5 million people living in the UK, that means that each individual is contributing 30kg. If everyone reduced their consumption by 1kg, the UK would produce 300,000kg less a year.
These small changes will have a positive impact on the global crisis of plastic waste. By making one or two small swaps from plastic items to alternative products we use daily, we understand how easy it is and how we actually don’t need to use plastic. This then sets the ball rolling for making more and more changes and eventually using the most minimal amount of plastic. Bower Collective’s Plastic Waste Calculator makes that first step easy. If we all work together, a massive influence and change can happen!