The average UK household throws away 86kg of plastic a year - can we reduce that?

It’s week one of my Plastic Bottle Challenge, writes Sheena Grant as she continues her attempt to live a thriftier life. Or it would be, if I was able to follow simple instructions with any degree of accuracy.

But because organisation isn’t my thing, I have to confess that it’s really more of a weeks one and two mash up of the Plastic Bottle Challenge.

Let me explain. I’ve joined SodaStream’s Plastic Bottle Challenge with the aim of reducing my ‘plastic footprint’ by making my own fizzy water from the tap at home rather than buying in bottles from supermarkets.

I’ve taken delivery of my very own SodaStream (which was rather exciting as I missed out on this must-have kitchen accessory in the 1980s) and have already been making my own carbonated water and other soft drinks.

This is where I’ve gone a bit wrong. Before getting busy with the fizzy (you’ll understand if you’re a child of the ‘80s) I was supposed to log my plastic bottle use for a week. But come on, you can’t have a SodaStream sitting on your kitchen worktop and not be tempted to use it, can you? Well, I can’t anyway.

So, I have to admit I didn’t buy any single-use plastic bottles last week. Previously, in the last month or so, I suppose I must have bought about six or seven.


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But what I did notice was the amount of plastic packaging that comes with your average supermarket shop generally. And I’m not just talking bottles. There’s plastic around a lot of fresh fruit and veg too. Is that really necessary? I’ve also noticed that thanks to my SodaStream I’m drinking less tea and more water, sometimes mixed with fruit juice, squash or fresh lemon and lime.

Over the next week I’ll be trying to cut down on not just plastic bottles but other kinds of plastic packaging too.

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It’s the perfect time of year to do the challenge - we all crave cooler drinks when the weather’s warmer and any visit to the beach will reveal just what a problem we have with plastic when you see the amount of litter on the shore. In addition, the Marine Conservation Society ran a campaign in June to get people to give up single-use plastics.

I’ve seen the damage plastic causes first hand. During a trip to see seals in north Norfolk last year one unfortunate creature had a plastic frisbee biting into the skin around its neck, presumably after putting its head through a hoop that had ended up in the sea. Apparently each UK household throws away around 86kg of plastic a year. It’ll be interesting to see how my plastic use decreases as a result of this challenge.

Share your thrifty tips with Sheena via email or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

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