What if you could calculate your plastic waste?
By Emily Stone - July 01, 2021
“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 reduce our plastic usage, as a collective, we’d have a massive impact on the fight against plastic. This is where a tool like Bower Collective’s Plastic Waste Calculator can be an amazing asset. The simplicity means in a few questions we can all evaluate the actions we can take to reduce one or more uses of plastic that we actually don’t need!
“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 by being 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 the material increases because of it’s cheap cost and versatility. Our consumerist natures mean that often we don’t consider the consequences of our purchases. 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?
Bower Collective’s Plastic Waste Calculator is an educational tool that can be used by anyone. From the individual looking to create new positive habits, to the younger members of the family finding fun facts and building lasting practices to have a healthy relationship with our environment.
Using the calculator makes it easy to see where your consumption and contribution to plastic waste is coming from. Consequently, the visual nature of the data helps us make a conscious impact for changing household habits.
What do I do with my results?
Bower Collective’s Plastic Waste Calculator can be used in a few minutes or 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 have the option to have them emailed to you. This is another great resource as you’re able 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 kg. To put this into perspective, Bower will illustrate how this volume is represented if everyone in the UK used plastic like your family (they will be using the UK as an example, since this is where Bower is based). This might be alarming. But this is the first step in a positive direction to reduce usage, you’ll come back in a month or two and 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?
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, I was unaware that my kitchen was our biggest contributor. In my mind I was convinced it was my bathroom and had spent my time and energy reducing this.
Bower recommended three products to help us reduce our kitchen’s plastic. By changing two products I would normally use to refill products, I reduced our yearly consumption by over 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.
These small changes will have an impact on the global crisis of plastic waste. By making one or two small swaps 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!
Thanks so much to Emily for this inspiring guest post!
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