Apart from landfills... Apart from litter... We are slowly filling our oceans with plastic. An issue important enough to get royalty backing a campaign to highlight and improve the situation!
The age-old environmental figurehead of polar bears are in trouble too from the impact of waste plastics - it's not just climate change which is killing them off.
Recycling is no longer the answer - so last century! We need something bigger, stronger...
Reduction of plastics is the environmental message for plastics in the 21st century!!!
So, most of you know I'm a bit of a green-fiend. (Check my blogs on environmental issues!) I love to read about environmental issues (a regular on Treehugger), I work in the waste management sector, and my degree was heavily involved in the environmental sector's business.
I recycle whatever I can (would be ashamed to admit I didn't, even if I didn't work in the industry!), but what more can I do to help this crisis of plastic waste mountains? Plastics are one challenge I have struggled with at home, while traveling and at work. They are ubiquitous!
Today I stumbled across the brilliant My Plastic-Free Life blog and I resolved to challenge my plastic habits. It's a challenge, but you know I like my challenges!
Quitting Bread (2011)
A to Z Challenge 2013 - on writing, books, life etc. etc!
A to Z Challenge 2015 - Costa Rica theme
30 Before 30 (2013-15)
1. I take reusable shopping bags with me when I'm grocery shopping.
2. My lunchbox has no evil cling film in it, and the box is reusable. I've even had comments about how cool my retro 'Vitalite' tub is!
3. I buy coffee in jars or tins.
** Mmmm time for a coffee. **
4. Shampoo and conditioner in our house is bought in big bulk bottles.
5. I have a giant BPA free water bottle on my desk at work to save on use of (potentially harmful, infertility and cancer inducing) disposable plastic bottles.
6. I used proper metal cutlery to eat with, even on a picnic. Posh, hey?
7. Rubbish is put into plastic sacks, but recycling is taken out to the recycling bin in a reusable box.
8. Washing up is done *ahem* using a paper-based cloth. (Could move to a strong cotton cloth/napkin?)
9. I take an empty bottle of water through customs at the airport and fill up on the other side. Rule friendly, cost effective, and planet friendly!
10. Also while travelling, I use my own headphones, not the crappy plastic wrapped ones you get given on the plane. Next step: PVC free headphones!
11. In hotels, I refuse to use their mini shampoos and shower gel. I'd rather bring my own, use my own, and save the waste. And chance of possible allergic reaction - bah, skin products!
12. On a similar note, I have never (bar one chocolate desperation moment years ago) raided the mini bar. It's expensive, for one, and the mini nature of the items in the fridge scream resource inefficiency. I may be a party-pooper for the start of the party, but I'll bring my super-size wine bottle along for later instead!
14. Beers and cider cans in our house are bought loose on in cardboard boxes, not in the wildlife-killing plastic ring sets.
How can I reduce the environmental impact of the plastics I use?
How can I use less plastic?
1. Ask ebay to not encourage their sellers to use bubble wrap. That's an easy win! - DONE!
2. Do a beach litter pick - gloves at the ready! It's not technically my plastic, but it all helps. I live not far from Severn Beach - good for a blustery River Severn / coastal walk. But with all the walkers and fishermen, there's often debris left behind. No doubt I'll find a can ring set washed up...
3. Attempt a plastic-free grocery shop - no cheating, a 'normal' shop next week with my intended shopping list items.
4. Find my local farmers' market and buy veg from them as much as possible. I work too conveniently next to Asda, one shop rammed with plastic packaging. Shopping at a market could reduce my plastic consumption dramatically.
Harbourside Market, Bristol - the target for a Sunday afternoon in the near future!
5. Address the issue of my make-up. No, not to improve my skills in application (although I could use some pointers!), but I want to have a lesser reliance on plastic for my albeit minimal make-up collection. Check out 'Westy' who's trying to overcome the same challenge...
6. Refuse a straw in bars and restaurants. This should be an easy one, but it becomes more difficult the more I drink!
7. While we're talking drinking, I will try to buy wine bottles with actual corks in, instead of plastic screw-tops.
8. I'd really like to buy food from a bulk barn, but I don't know where to find one... Any suggestions for the north Bristol area?
9. Take my own container to a butcher or deli counter to save on plastic wrapping.
10. When my plastic ice cube trays break, I will replace them with a metal version.
11. I'm going to choose body/face care products without the plastic ingredient “polyethylene” listed. This one will probably be the hardest as I am prone to allergic reactions when trying new products so I stick to what I know - but I'm doing it for the planet, people! Read My Plastic Free Life's post Flushing Plastic Down The Drain! for more information.
12. I'm going to Sign a petition, while I'm at it, to ban micro-beads (plastic exfoliation aids) in facial scrubs etc. - DONE!
13. I'm going to track down an unpackaged shampoo bar to get rid of those 'quite environmentally friendly' plastic bulk bottles I buy.
14. Cancel my magazine subscriptions. I subscribe to Writers News and Lonely Planet currently, but more often than not, they sit unread for months, if not years... almost long enough for degradation of the plastic wrapping to begin! - DONE!
15. I love pens and stationery in general, but I am going to make a concerted effort to use pencils instead of disposable pens. This will also make it unable for me to piss off conference colleagues with my fidgety pen clicking! - DONE! Well stocked up at home and at work now.
16. Wrap presents with ribbon - reusable, pretty and plastic free, unlike sticky tape!
Oops, that's 16!
Check out 100 steps to a plastic free life if you fancy investigating more ways to reduce your plastic footprint.
We can't be total angels...
What am I going to keep using?
CHEWING GUM - yes, gum's mostly plastic! Needed for... well, see the point on drinking coffee!
NON-STICK COOKWARE - I hadn't even considered my cooking equipment! Non-stick has saved most of my amateur dishes, and we've also been given some gorgeous ones lately, so I'm sticking with this plastic.
DISPOSABLE RAZORS - I tried ditching these in the past, but I need to change my blades so often, due to being prone to skin irritation, it just wasn't cost effective.
TAMPONS - It took me ages to clock onto using these but I've never looked back. This is the only one here I would NEVER EVER give up. Mooncups ain't for me. I will just try to buy feminine hygiene products with minimal packaging... promise!
That's a good start - keep an eye on this post and see how I get one.
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Born to be a Tourist - home to my 2015 A-Z Challenge