Earth Day is on Monday 22 April - created to drive positive action for our planet. Tackling climate action is an important and difficult challenge that we face, and for Portsmouth City Council it's a top priority. Every Earth Day can drive a year of energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to create a new plan of action for our planet.

This year’s theme is ‘Planet vs. Plastics’ and Earthday.Org is aiming for a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. This is where you come in.

As an individual, you yield real power and influence as a consumer, and a member of a community that can unite for change.

We recently put out a social media post to find out what you do at home to cut down on your plastic use, and we’ve complied this list of top tips for you:

Shopping:

  • Shop at The Package Free Larder in Elm Grove – Portsmouth’s first plastic-free supermarket.
  • Refill your shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid and laundry liquid at Herbies Health Store.
  • Buy loose vegetables when shopping, these can often be cheaper and result in less food waste.
  • Use a ‘bag for life’ when you go shopping or keep a fabric tote bag handy for those last-minute shopping trips.

At home:

  • Use reusable plastic containers to store food in, instead of bags or using cling film.
  • Use a sparkling water maker, like a SodaStream, for fizzy drinks, instead of buying plastic bottles of pop.
  • Use hand soap or shower gel dispensers and buy the bigger bags of soap or gel to refill them.
  • Use biodegradable glitter.
  • Have a separate bins at home, one for soft plastics and one for hard plastics.
    • Soft plastics, such as crisp packets, cling film, food and pet pouches and plastic wrappers can be taken to the supermarket to recycle.
    • Hard plastics, such as yogurt pots, non-black plant pots, margarine and ice cream tubs, meat trays and fruit and veg punnets, can be taken to community bins across the city. Here’s the map (be sure to click ‘I agree’).
  • Swap cling film for beeswax food wraps.
  • Do not use disposable plastic cutlery.
  • Get your milk delivered in glass bottles.
  • Did you know lots of chewing gum contains plastic? Switch to a natural version to avoid it!
  • Don’t use single-use party decorations, get something that can be used time and time again. Learn here how to make your own bunting.
  • Use reusable straws.
  • Use paper sticky tape instead of plastic.

Out and about:

  • Use reusable water bottles and coffee cups. There are numerous places in the city you can refill your bottle, just have a look on the Refill App. Lots of coffee shops offer a discount, or extra points if you get your takeaway coffee in a reusable cup.
  • Use biodegradable dog poo bags.

Health and beauty:

  • Use a bar of soap instead of using shower gel or hand soap.
  • Use a recyclable toothbrush.
  • Use reusable nappies.
  • Switch from using single-use sanitary items. You could try a menstrual cup, period underwear or washable cotton pads and liners.
  • Use reusable razors and not the disposable kind.
  • Use plastic free hair ties.

If you have an item in mind that isn’t listed above then, consider the five R’s of waste management before you buy: Refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle.

Did you know that:

  • Plastic accounts for 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Nearly 80% of all plastics humankind has ever created still exists in the environment and landfills.
  • 17% of the species affected by marine plastic pollution are on the red list of threatened species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Plastic has been found in our lungs and our blood.
  • In two decades, the amount of plastic we produce has doubled, from 234m tonnes in 2000, to 460m tonnes in 2019.
  • Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose, and even then it never fully disappears.
  • Over 99% of plastic is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels.

As Earth Day approaches, your collective efforts are fuelling a global movement to reduce plastic waste. By individuals embracing simple yet impactful lifestyle changes and harnessing the power of community action, we are demonstrating that small steps can lead to significant progress in the fight against plastic pollution.