NEWS

Takeaway containers among top ocean litter items

Garbage, plastic bags and bottles covering a city beach of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

Cutting back on eating takeaways is not only good for your wallet and health, it may be key to reducing plastic waste in the ocean, according to a new study into marine litter.

Plastic items from take-out food and beverages dominate marine global litter, a new study of seven aquatic environments around the world has found.

The Australian and Spanish researchers found single-use bags, bottles, food containers, cutlery and wrappers make up 44 percent of marine litter.

They found that around 22 per cent of marine litter is from sea-based activities while a whopping 78 per cent comes from the land.

High-income countries had less concentrated amounts of single-use items, indicating some socioeconomic drivers behind plastic waste.

The researchers say new policies to target specific items, such as plastic straws, need to go further to include the top litter items identified in their study.

“As a civilisation, it’s time to rethink the degenerative economies we have inherited that are filling up the Earth’s ecosystems with our short-use products, and long-lasting waste,” University of Cadiz research fellow Carmen Morales Caselles says in a Springer Nature comment piece.

4 simple ways you can reduce your plastic waste

1 Homemade ‘takeaways’

Making your own food at home is better for your health, because you can manage portion size and you know exactly what’s going into your meal.  And it’s better for the environment because, if you shop wisely, you can limit the amount of packaging needed to produce your meals.  Check out our fast, easy and tasty homemade takeaway recipes. 

2 BYO cutlery

Keep a set of cutlery or chopsticks in a sealed container in your car, and you’ll never need to use plastic cutlery again.

3 Invest in a ‘keep cup’

There are so many keep cups available now and some cafes even have ones to borrow, if you forget yours.  If you have a daily takeaway coffee habit, bringing your own reusable cup will prevent a lot of waste.  You can get them in different sizes, so you can use them for other takeaway beverages, such as smoothies or juice, too.

4 Bring your own container

There’s no need to avoid takeaways altogether. Many places will let you take food away in your own container brought from home.  Just make sure it seals well and is big enough to fit your order.

For more on reducing plastic waste you might be interested in: Surprising health rewards of cutting down on plastic or 10 ways to get back into using less plastic.

First published: Jun 2021

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