Green Book Fairies #16: Let’s Talk About… Refusing Plastic!

Today we are talking about those times when you need to pre-empt plastic being given to you – and how to tackle it!

Let’s Talk About… How To Refuse Plastic

Day 16 of #greenbookfairies as part of #plasticfreejuly and we are talking about preempting those moments where you are given plastic and it sometimes feels too late. It can feel awkward to do this, but customers are listened to – and the more that we refuse plastic, the less attractive it will be for places to offer. With any of our tips, these are simply things to think about – not everyone will be able to do all of these, but you need to know you have the choice!

The problem:

Single use plastic doesn’t biodegrade, ever. Instead, it breaks apart into smaller pieces, never truly deteriorating. With 30 million tons of plastic discarded each year in America, there’s hardly a single place on earth that doesn’t know the touch of single use plastic [Green Child Magasine].

Some solutions:

In the last few years, governments added the word ‘refuse’ to the mantra ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and it’s a great reminder that refusing plastic really is the strongest way to tackle the issue.

  • When ordering drinks at a bar or restaurant, say ‘no straws for our table’ to avoid unnecessary plastic. If you like to use a straw, try to carry a metal or glass one 🙂
  • When buying takeaway from a cafe, make sure to say ‘no cutlery please!’ before it’s too late
  • When buying absolutely anything, remember to say ‘I don’t need a bag!’ before a plastic one has been automatically used
  • Choose an ice-cream cone rather than a tub with spoon
  • Carry a cutlery set – this could simply be a set from your cutlery drawer
  • Refuse to buy those pre-prepared salads and fruit in plastic with in-built plastic cutlery – instead choose a whole piece of fruit or a sandwich
  • Some cafes are currently not accepting re-useable cups – but you can say ‘no lid please!’ so you end up with only a waxed paper cup
  • Refuse one-use items on planes and other transport, instead bring your own (yes – bamboo cutlery is totally fine to take on a plane) (yes – they will re-fill your water bottle and also fill your re-usable cup for hot drinks)

Sometimes we do end up with unwanted cutlery etc, and the best we can do is wash and re-use them. 

Fairy Verdict:

“I used to not think about it, order something at a bar/restaurant, it would arrive in plastic and I would be disappointed, and it was too late to say no. So I learned that you CAN ask before and have the power to make an informed decision.”

– Marti, Italy

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