Everyday it seems we hear about a multitude of new and ongoing issues facing the world. There is constantly a new cause trending on twitter, a new petition to sign or a new campaign to get behind. All the issues we are faced with are real and will affect all of us. It may not today or tomorrow, but there are some scary issues we all face.
The more of these issues I see, the more I have wanted to educate myself and see what steps I can begin to take to help. One of the scariest issues we face, is something none of us can ignore. This issue is Plastic. Last month, people joined the Plastic free July campaign and therefore brought more focus to this alarming issue. What it comes down to, is that plastic is killing our planet. Despite what we can do with recycling, most plastic still isn’t recyclable and therefore, it is currently floating in the sea, sitting in landfill or god forbid in the stomach of a marine life animal. Now I have been aware that a lot of our waste ends up in landfill, but even I was shocked to learn just how much plastic cannot be recycled. It’s shocking. Even more shocking, it has been predicted, that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. really consider that statement. More waste will be in our oceans, then the fish and other marine life. That alone is a heartbreaking prediction, and yet I have no trouble believing it. Once you start to open your eyes to how much plastic we actually use, you can’t forget ad carry on. For example, the plastic that holds ready made salad, or that holds the pack of jacket potatoes, when you look at the fine print, more often than not it states that this plastic is not currently recyclable. How many of us throw these packets into recycling bin without thinking twice? Whether you are passionate about saving the planet or not, this is an issue that we all need to be a part of.
The first thing I suggest, is reading a great and educational book by Martin Dorey. This is a small guide as to what plastic is doing to the world, and how we can prevent it. I read this book in an hour or so and it really surprised and educated me. At £6.99, I think this is a bargain for what you can learn. This book has already shifted my view point and opened my eyes so much.
So what can we do to help? Already I have starting a making small changes in how I live my life. Though of course I want to make change on a greater scale, the first step is making small changes everyday. If we all did this, the impact would be immense. Here are just some things you can do:
Reusable Water bottle
I have always been a fan of reusable water bottles. I have a lovely Tone it up bottle in my gym bag, and a large one on my desk at work to keep me hydrated, without using the small plastic cups that come with the office water machine. But one thing I find, is that when I’m out and about at the weekend, or even commuting to and from work, if I get thirsty I would reach to a plastic bottle from a shop. I wanted to eliminate this option, by keeping a small bottle in my bag so that I never have to do that. I love this beautiful glass bottle I purchased from Sand cloud. This not only will help reduce my personal use of plastic bottles, but also supports Sand cloud, an amazing company that donate 10% of their profits to various charities and conservations, working to save and protect marine life.
Along with the water bottle I also picked up two adorable rings as well. I love knowing that this purchase is helping charities take care of the precious marine life that are in a constant threat, from the waste we are filling their homes with in the sea. Even just purchasing your next item of jewellery or clothing from places that do support the environment and animals is a small contribution that can help in the fight against plastic.
Of course if like me, you love your coffee. Then grabbing a reusable bottle or cup that can hold your morning coffee, as well as your water is a great choice as well!
Making smart swaps
We have already seen changes to combat plastic, such as the price on supermarket and other store plastic bags. I am certainly guilty of going into a supermarket unplanned and coming out with two big plastic bags. But just by keeping a canvas bag or a reusable bag in your handbag or in your desk at work, is such an easy swap and something we seem to have really embraced since the mandatory plastic bag price. Since 2015, purchasing of plastic bags has reduced by 80%! That is amazing, and lets be honest, who wants to have all those plastic bags stuffed in your cupboard, when you can get so many beautiful and fun reusable bags!
Aside from plastic bags, there are other changes we can make, that we just don’t really think of. For example, your toothbrush. It’s recommended we frequently change our toothbrushes, yet they are completely made of plastic. Unfortunately, the majority of toothbrushes are in the ocean or sitting in landfill. It is said that one toothbrush can take over 400 years to decompose. 400 years! So imagine how many toothbrushes you have already used in your lifetime, all of those are still on this earth and damaging the planet. There are great alternatives out there, mainly bamboo toothbrushes, which is exactly what I plan on purchasing when it is time for me to update mine. However, if you are looking to make this change as well, make sure do to your research. There is currently one bamboo toothbrush that is 100% biodegradable. This due to the fact that they tend to use pig hair for bristles, meaning the entire toothbrush will biodegrade. If, like me you are vegetarian or vegan and do not wish to use pig hair, there are some great alternatives, that although not 100% biodegradable due to nylon bristles, they are much better then an entire toothbrush made of plastic. There is a great article here with some of the top toothbrushes on the market.
Now one for the ladies.
I think this might be one of the best changes we can make, and that can have an amazing impact on the environment. Whether you use tampons or pads currently, I think you can agree, that during a period, we go through a lot of them! Now the worrying part; the plastic within pads, liners and tampon applicators does not biodegrade, therefore it will remain in the environment for years. Sanitary waste is either sent to landfill or incinerated (releasing harmful toxic waste and gasses), and it is one of the top things found by those doing ocean cleanups, which is pretty gross when you think about it.
Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of somewhere. By choosing a menstrual cup, just think about how much waste we can save! It’s actually insane how much waste we use. Of course, we can’t help that we have periods, and if cups aren’t your thing, then choosing or alternatives can also help. Pick tampons without the plastic applicators, or perhaps even consider reusable pads, as more enter the market. As someone who has never enjoyed using tampons, a cup was really scary to me. But I honestly prefer it so much more than pads. I felt cleaner, more at ease and saving money is also a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, it takes some adjusting and I did still have use a pad and take a break from the cup, but they say this is to be expected, and it can take a few months of practice before you get fully used to the cup.
These are just some of the changes I am starting to make, and if we all even did just one of these suggestions, I think we could really start to make a difference. The reality is that eventually, these options may not be just an option. They are necessary for us to ensure our planet is still around and in good shape for the future.