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Reducing our plastic use

We all know that plastic causes pollution. How can we in Rugby work to reduce our plastic dependency? 

By Alex Becker, Waste Services Development Officer

Plastic is a great example of a double-edged sword; incredibly helpful in so many ways, yet also causing so many difficulties.  

It’s a miracle material in many ways: cheap, lightweight, can be made tough, soft, flexible, see-through or any colour, water-proof and non-toxic! Imagine a world without plastic and we have to think back to the world of more than a hundred years ago, where things had to be made from natural materials such as wood, metal, stone or clay. Many modern conveniences that we take for granted would be impossible to mass-produce, and fresh food would go off much faster with less effective packaging.

However, its some of these same miracle properties which also mean plastic is such a huge problem today. Its so cheap that most of us don’t give a second thought to using it once and throwing it away. But we really should think again, because due to its incredibly durable nature, it definitely doesn’t just go away; in fact, if left to natural causes, plastic persists for hundreds of years. And even then it doesn’t really go away, instead breaking into smaller and smaller pieces called ‘micro-plastics’, which eventually become small enough to get into our food, and eventually, into us. 

plastic packaging awaiting recycling

Its clear that, in order to enjoy many of the things which we take for granted, we can’t just get rid of plastics. The key is to ensure that they don’t get into the environment. 

Avoid single-use plastic wherever possible. 

Here's three tips to help reduce the amount of plastics that you buy.

  1. When you go shopping, consider the amount of packaging on all your purchases. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be found in the marketplace on market days with minimal packaging. Rugby Unwrapped in the town centre is a dedicated packaging free shop. 

  2. Be prepared and bring your own. If you are going shopping, bring bags. If you plan to get take-away food or drinks, consider bringing a reusable cup and containers for food. 

  3. Shop local if you can – not only does this result in less packaging used in delivery, it also reduces road and air miles and keeps wealth in the community. 

For more advice and information about reducing your waste and recycling responsibly, please visit our pages at


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