Consumers can minimise the use of plastics by refusing to purchase unnecessary products, the Cyprus Consumers’ Association said on Friday.

In a written statement, the association highlighted the consumers’ role in tackling plastic pollution, which is this year’s theme of the World’s Consumer Rights Day on March 15.

Plastic use has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, the association said, due to the use of synthetic face masks, gloves and food packaging.

Part of this year’s campaign is to demonstrate how consumers worldwide can take action on each of the 7Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Refuse, Rethink, Recycle) by urging the government and businesses to adopt more sustainable solutions, the announcement said.

Consumers can choose to replace or reduce the plastic products or packaging they purchase with more sustainable alternatives, repair objects when possible or reuse items in different way to extend the life of the plastic products and follow the recycling guidelines.

But plastic pollution is mainly a producers’ responsibility.

The association stated that systemic change is needed in the product market at all levels, including governments, companies, organisations and standardisation regulators, to make it possible to tackle plastic pollution and achieve sustainable consumption.

Examples of possible actions to tackle pollution are the access to more sustainable alternatives and affordable solutions, the creation of more efficient recycling infrastructure and ensuring that consumers have the information they need to make better choices, the announcement added.

The world now produces more than 380 million tonnes of plastic every year, which could end up as pollutants, entering the natural environment and oceans, according to Our World in Data research website.