Problems with Plastic.
There is no denying that there is huge buzz around plastic, reducing plastic waste and re-using what we have. We all know that we should be using less and reusing more so I won’t preach about it for too long I promise!
A couple weeks back, two of the panelists at the HBC Awards & Trends Talk were Charlotte & Anna from @azerowastelife and listening to them talk about how ‘A Zero Waste Life’ started really got me thinking and actually researching about our incessant plastic consumption.
The story behind ‘A Zero Waste Life’ is incredible, and means that neither Charlotte or Anna have a waste bin in their house. They’ve managed to find a lifestyle that is pretty much 100% re-usable. How phenomenal is that?
So, first off, I’d like to state some pretty staggering plastic pollution facts and figures because who doesn’t love a good statistic*.
- Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
- Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied.
- 100,000 marine mammals, turtles and sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.
- It takes just 4 family shopping trips to accumulate 60 shopping bags.
- 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second.
- Marine animals mistake plastic for food, which overtime, can and will kill them.
- We have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than in the last century.
- Scientists have identified 200 areas declared as ‘dead zones’ where no life organisms can now grow.
These eight stats really, really shocked me. Eight reasons (and by no means all of them, there are hundreds when you start looking in to it) that show we seriously need to start reducing our plastic consumption. The more we do, the better. It’s all about finding ways that make reducing plastic use sustainable. That way, it’ll become a habit and hopefully a long term one.
One thing that makes it harder as natural consumers to reduce the amount we use, is that pretty much all industries are excessive plastic culprits. Social media and ‘wellness’ companies are also guilty.
Plastic bottles, plastic straws, packaging, it all contributes. But with all of the above in mind, here are some tips and tricks that can help, and do, reduce the pollution. Small changes will make a difference, as will talking about it and spreading the word. So, share these tips with your friends, family, anyone!
1. Eliminate plastic straws.
Plastic straws make their way into oceans and are contributing to serious environmental issues. They’re small, but deadly. Straws aren’t a necessary and therefore are actually quite easy to eliminate. Companies have also started making and distributing paper straws which is brilliant and you can now buy re-usable ones.
2. Re-usable water bottles.
We’ve all seen S’well and Chilly’s Bottles on Instagram, have you got one yet? If not, I really recommend investing. If you’re using a plastic bottle every time you go to the gym or for a run, think about how many you’re getting through (or loosing). Having a re-usable one on hand is great. Not only does it help the environment, it encourages you to drink more water which is super beneficial for our health. We’re also lucky that we can drink tap water here in the UK, so lets take advantage of that! Coffee shops and restaurants will fill up your bottle if you ask them. After all, it doesn’t cost them anything to do so.
3. Have a ‘shopper’ or re-usable bag in your handbag, car, rucksack – basically everywhere.
Ever since the government bought in the 5p for a bag law, I think its safe to say that we are getting better at using our own bags. But, we do often forget and find ourselves purchasing single use bags anyway. Ensuring that you have a re-usable shopper on you means you’re never going to get caught out. There are some really nice ones on offer like this one. It’s the perfect market bag that also doubles up as an outfit accessory! Win win. (Does this make me a fashionista yet?)
4. Shop locally.
It might sound odd, but purchasing from local small independent businesses can also have environmental benefits. It preserves small farmland that might otherwise be developed into large industrial sites. It also reduces food and importing miles. Imported goods are often shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. The more food miles accumulated, the greater carbon emissions. Reducing food miles help to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce air pollution and cut back on greenhouse emissions.
5. Use a KeepCup or Eco-friendly coffee cup.
Re-usable cups or thermo cups are lifesavers. In a society where we all practically rely on coffee, just think about how many takeaway cups we must go through. If you’re drinking 2 a day, imagine how many others are doing the same. Multiply that by those around you, then the rest of the UK… It’s easy to see how quickly it adds up. By handing over your own cup, you’re stopping that waste. Lots of coffee shops and companies are now offering money off if you bring your own cup. You’re making a saving! Pret for example – 49p for a filter coffee when you bring your own cup. What a bargain!
Charlotte & Anna have such a unique and inspirational story that really made me want to make a change. To learn more about the girls behind the name, click here.
Do you have any tips or tricks that you practice to reduce your plastic consumption? Small changes really do make all the difference.
I’d like to thank both Charlotte & Anna for bringing this to my attention and for their dedication to making our world a better place.