Photography

How much plastic does a family use in a week?

Reuters

Faced with shops full of food and other goods swathed in plastic, families across the world are trying to reduce its use and recycle wherever possible to reduce its impact on the environment as the war on plastics continues to be a hot political topic.

Reuters photographers spoke with families from Athens to Singapore who are trying reduce their use of plastic and documented their use for a single week.

Reuters

Yokohama, Japan

Eri Sato with her husband, Tatsuya, and three-month-old daughter, Sara.

KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS

"It's literally everywhere," Eri said. "Instead of the disposable plastic bottles, we've switched to reusable bottles. We've also gone to shampoo bars instead of bottled shampoo. Our toothbrush is made from bamboo, and we use reusable shopping bags whenever we can."

KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS

Wenham, Mass.

Brandy Wilbur, 44, Anthony Wilbur, 45, with their children, Sophie, 12, and Andrew, 9.

BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

"We try to reduce our footprint. We all use stainless steel water bottles and bring our own coffee mugs, etc.," Brandy said. "When shopping, I do try to buy products with minimal packaging, but that's challenging, too. Everything is packaged!"

BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Kathmandu

Roshani Shrestha, 57, her husband, Indra Lal Shrestha, 62, and her sons, Ejan Shrestha, 29, and Rojan Shrestha, 27.

NAVESH CHITRAKAR/REUTERS

"I give back the plastic bags that I have to the vegetable vendors so that they can reuse them rather than using a new one," Roshani said. "We don’t use single-use plastics like cups, plates, spoon or forks."

NAVESH CHITRAKAR/REUTERS

Madrid

Gaspar Antuna, Elena Vilabrille and their, son Teo.

PAUL HANNA/REUTERS

"We try to buy less but better — as much second hand as possible, reusing and, finally, recycling," Elena said. "But we really miss more institutional information about it. We have to make more effort when consuming, but it won’t be as effective if we don’t know how to do it properly."

PAUL HANNA/REUTERS

Singapore

Audrey Gan, 31, her husband, Leow Yee Shiang, 30, and their 3-year-old son, Kyler.

FELINE LIM/REUTERS

"We started being more aware of the waste generated by our household when it was highlighted to us in our Buddhist teachings ... that all this plastic waste is harming other beings on Earth," Audrey said.

FELINE LIM/REUTERS

Athens

Natalia Lyritsis, 5, Alexandra Patrikiou, 39, Alice Lyritsis, 3, and Vassilis Lyritsis, 46.

ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS/REUTERS

"We recycle plastic, paper, glass ... and try to buy products made from recycled materials," Alexandra said. "The use of alternatives to plastic should be combined with initiatives and campaigns in order to raise awareness and create a greater consensus."

ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS/REUTERS

Tel Aviv

Tatiana Schnittke, 39, Yaniv Ben-Dov, 44, and their son Jonathan, 2.

CORINNA KERN/REUTERS

"I think the most important aspect in this matter is to buy the minimum amount of stuff. I try, but it's hard, because we live in a capitalist world. We buy a lot of second-hand stuff, but when you go to the mall or the supermarket, a lot of things are from plastic. Everything comes with plastic," Yaniv said.

CORINNA KERN/REUTERS

Pitlochry, Scotland

The Downie family.

RUSSELL CHEYNE/REUTERS

"Even the plastic that is recycled will ultimately have an impact," Karen said. "Discarded plastic does not decompose, and presents a serious and irreversible long-term threat to the health of our planet and, more immediately, to animals, which should enjoy pristine habitats."

RUSSELL CHEYNE/REUTERS

Alpedrete, Spain

Laura Barrado with her family.

SERGIO PEREZ/REUTERS

"We try to avoid certain purchases, mainly food in plastic bags or plastic trays," Laura said. "We try to the best of our ability to minimize our impact on the environment to leave a better world for future generations."

SERGIO PEREZ/REUTERS