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Five single-use items to ditch from our everyday lives

Single-use items, not just those made from plastic, are a significant source of our huge consumption habit.

| 8 Oct 19

With four fifths of Scotland’s carbon footprint generated through the heat and energy required to grow, make, process, transport and provide materials that are often tossed aside at the end of their life, we are focusing on all single-use items, not just those made of plastic.

For this year’s Climate Week we’re asking Scots to make a point of refusing materials that are frequently added to the items we buy everyday and let the retailer know they are unwanted. Here are five items that most of us don’t need or want but are often thrown in with our purchases.

Use the hashtag #ScotClimateWeek to let us know of any other single-use items that you can easily live without.

1. Straws

Forget switching to paper straws – trees have to be cut down to make them, they are rarely recyclable and in landfill they create methane just like food waste. Use your lips and just say no thanks to any kind of straw. When you order a drink, try and remember to say ‘no straw’ and encourage businesses to ask if you want one rather than putting one in your drink automatically.

2. Single use sachets

Ketchup and other condiments, sugar, salt, pepper and even milk comes in single use sachets. Refuse to use these, pass your feelings on to the vendor, and we’ll soon see companies shifting towards making these things available in re-fillable dispensers.

3. Disposable stirrers

Plastic stirrers are used for about two seconds, but will last around 500 years. Even ones made from other materials like wood are hugely wasteful and use vast amounts of carbon to make, transport and landfill. Refuse to use these and ask your local café for a metal spoon then give it back. Simple.

4. Coffee cups

Take a stand and go keep cup only. If you forget it, take your time and sit in, or wait until you get home. Give disposable cups the full cold shoulder.

5. Freebies

It’s still very common for companies to tempt us with what can often be next to pointless freebies. Think free plastics toys, badges, novelty items – if you have no clear plan to make use of it in a long term way, politely refuse and help send a clear message that resources should not be treated as disposable.

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