Can you take up the challenge to #PassOnPlastic?

#PassOnPlastic as part of Waste Week - 5-9 March


We've just had Waste Week (5-9 March) and we were asking all of our residents what single-use plastics they could give up to help us cut down on waste, but the challenge doesn't need to end because Waste Week has ended.

We’re still encouraging everybody to take up the challenge to #PassOnPlastic and this could mean passing on the use of just one plastic item or (hopefully) more, so if you are continuing the challenge or want to take it up, take a look at some of the items we can't recycle in West Sussex and see if you can give up one of these:

  • Plastic straws,
  • Plastic cutlery,
  • Some types of plastic packaging – e.g. plastic film/ bubble wrap/ shrink wrap and cling film,
  • Plastic bags – carrier bags and all types of fruit/veg/store cupboard bags.

Waste week is all about plastic waste prevention and although in West Sussex we’re able to recycle lots of different types of plastics at home through our kerbside recycling bins, there are still a number of items that can’t be recycled.

For tips, tricks and alternatives to single-use plastics follow us @WestSussexWaste or West Sussex Waste.

More information

Top Tips

Top Tips

Here are just some of the tips we received from our followers on social media:

  • Swap plastic for glass - We go through an awful lot of milk but we get it delivered in glass bottles! Easy for us and great for the environment.
  • Collect your unused plastic plant pots - Find a local nursery or garden centre who will take back your plastic plant pots or find a community allotment that may want them.
  • Discard cling film - How about avoiding using plastic film to cover food in the microwave and use a saucer or lid to cover a bowl instead.
  • Make the most of your fruit - Chop fruit up (after buying it loose) on a Sunday evening, then pop into reusable containers for snacks throughout the week.
  • Ramp up your writing - Invest in a fountain pen rather than using a biro. They are stylish and can be used far longer than a standard biro.
  • Good to grow - Use empty plastic tomato cartons for growing herbs or seedlings.
  • Get organised - Make lunches for the week on a Sunday evening, pop them in reusable containers and then you are less likely to buy ready meals/salads in plastic containers/plastic wrapping, keep them in the fridge until you are ready to eat. 
  • Alternatives to cling film - Use foil (recyclable) instead of cling flim where possible or use cling cloths or other reusable sandwich wraps. 
  • Cook from scratch - Dining in often uses plastic trays for ready meals how about cooking from scratch, use a slow cooker to prepare in advance. Give it a go for a week, and watch the impact on your weekly shopping bill drop.
  • Swap your shower gel - I've stopped using shower gel, and gone back to an old fashioned bar of soap.
  • Wipe out wipes - Never use baby wipes or cleaning wipes,they mostly have plastic in, sounds obvious but just use a cloth or a flannel.
  • Make your mark at the market - Shopping at the market as opposed to supermarket shopping... great environmentally and helps local businesses.
  • Pack a paper bag - I now take paper bags to the store for loose veggies.
  • Be 'old fashioned' - reduce the amount of different cleaning and laundry products you have and switch to 'old fashioned' alternatives.


Check out our top tips for passing on plastic this week:

  • Bring your own shopping bag - Rather than using a plastic one and potentially paying 5p, why not carry a re-usable shopping bag with you.
  • Bring your own cup - Get your favourite hot beverage in your favourite cup and never have to use takeaway cups again (although if on the odd occasion you forget to bring it with you, your takeaway cup can be taken home and recycled in your kerbside recycling bin, just make sure you give it a quick rinse and dry first).
  • Bring your own cutlery - Have a set of cutlery in your drawer/locker/desk at work ready to use instead of disposable single-use plastic cutlery.
  • Pack your lunch in a re-usable container - Cling film may come in handy but you can't recycle it, so why not re-use an old plastic takeaway container and use that as a handy lunch box.
  • Carry a re-usable water bottle - Buying bottled water may be quick and easy but in the UK it is estimated that we use 35.8 million plastic bottles every day (but only 19.8 million are recycled). To stop buying bottled water, treat yourself to a water bottle and refill it as and when you need to. 
  • Slow down and dine in - we are always in such a rush, but why not give the takeaways a miss and take a moment to dine in at your favourite lunch hot spot or just enjoy 20 minutes at your local coffee shop drinking a hot drink out of a proper cup.
  • Say no to straws - It is estimated that we use 8.5 billion plastic straws in the UK every year, but you can actually buy a number of different straws including bamboo, metal and glass which can be re-used over and over again and are much better for the environment - buy a pack and you can keep one in your bag, one at work and one at home.
  • Buy your fruit and veg loose - It may seem like a simple idea, but buying your fruit and veg loose (and not in plastic packaging/bags) is an easy way to #PassOnPlastic.
  • Share our tips with your friends and family

So just how easy is it to #PassOnPlastic?

So just how easy is it to #PassOnPlastic?

A member of our waste team set herself a 12 day challenge to record all of the plastic waste items in her household.

Here’s how she got on…

I decided to separate out all the plastic waste items we produced over a 12 day period. Our household consists of me, my husband and our two year old. We shop at standard supermarkets and during this time made no changes to our normal habits.

The results were quite staggering.

We collected over 100 pieces of plastics. Over a year this would equal more than 3,000 pieces of plastic. And this doesn’t include ‘on the go’ plastics.

The items consisted of:

  • 22 bottles – four milk, five soap/shower gel, 12 soft/fizzy drinks, one oil.
  • 33 pots, tubs, and trays – six yoghurt pots, three ready meal trays, 24 pre packed fruit, veg, and meat containers.

The good news is that all of the above can be recycled at home in your kerbside bin.

However, there was yet more plastic including 47 pieces of plastic packaging and wrappers or plastic carrier bags. This included:

  • 12 fruit/veg bags, three pasta/rice pouches, four bread/wrap bags, four baby wipes packets, six crisps/sweets wrappers, three multi-buy packaging, three meat wrappers, one gift set wrapping, one ice bag, one carrier bag, and the rest was packaging/wrapping.

The bad news is that none of these bags, pouches, packets, or wrappers can currently be recycled at home.

So what did I learn?

Some of the worst offenders for excessive use of plastic packaging were multipacks wrapped in plastic, this included baby wipes, beans, coke cans, either they weren’t needed at all or a cardboard alternative could easily be used.

Food packaging was excessive, supermarket meal deals are great value but the worst for packaging. Fruit and veg is quite often double wrapped e.g. the punnet then plastic film around this.

There was a lot of unnecessary wrapping – a shower gel set for example, which really didn’t need to be wrapped in plastic.

So what can I do?

Some of the things I’ve started to do straight away include:

  • Avoiding multipacks in plastic, e.g. cans, baby wipes.
  • Buying fruit and veg loose – bananas, jacket potatoes and many other types, although packaging varies depending on the item and where you buy it from.
  • Opting for paper wherever possible rather than plastics alternatives.
  • Using soap bars rather than soap in plastic containers.

What has struck me the most is how much convenience has taken over our lifestyles and that supermarkets don’t make it easy to be green.

We need to embrace the concept “less is more” when it comes to buying products and look for less packaged items and gifts at Christmas, birthdays, and Easter.

If my family can reduce its plastic’s footprint by 25% then this will be saving the production of 750 pieces of plastic per year and their disposal. 

I plan to do another plastics audit once I have made some sustainable changes to our plastics habits and hope to see a big difference.

What ideas do you have for cutting down on plastic? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.


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