Good morning everyone...
As many of you will know (if you follow my Instagram or YouTube channel) I have been getting rid of single use plastic this month.
It's part of a global challenge called Plastic Free July. The mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling worldwide. For anyone who's interested to read more, click here to link to the website.
I already feel like I've made a lot of progress and learned so much in the past 12 days. Some of the swaps I'm going to discuss here, I made a while ago but others I've only learned this month.
I wanted to share the key swaps I've made which I know will be easy to sustain over the longer term and hopefully help others to see how easy it is to make small changes that will have a huge impact in the long term.
Here are my top 5 sustainable swaps.
1. A BPA-free water bottle
This is probably one of the easiest and most significant changes you can make to reduce your plastic consumption. I've always drunk tap water unless I've been abroad and it was unsafe. Not only do disposable water bottles contribute to plastic waste but the bottles themselves often contain harmful chemicals that can harm human beings.
A few facts about disposable plastic water bottles:
1. One plastic water bottle will take about 450 years to completely break down (25 generations)
2. Plastic waste kills 1.1 million marine creature annually
3. Water bottles contain BPA which is harmful to our bodies causing reproductive issues, asthma and dizziness. Studies have also linked it with a possible risk of breast cancer.
4. 90% of the waste in the ocean is from plastic
5. By the year 2050 it's estimated that the weight of plastic in our oceans will be more than the weight of fish.
To read more about the harm plastic is doing, follow this link.
In the UK we are very fortunate that our tap water is clean and safe to drink but if you are someone who prefers the taste of bottled water, why not try a water filter jug? I recently purchased this one by BRITA for the fridge and it reduces chlorine and organic impurities that can affect the taste of food and drink. The filter also absorbs lead and copper and reduces limescale. At less than £16 I thought it was very reasonable.
2. Cloth shopping bag
I am sure most people are aware of the harm plastic bags are doing because all shops & supermarkets now charge to use them.
I love my cloth shopping bag which one of my friends gave me. I take it everywhere and use it for any unplanned purchases I make or to carry my lunch/snacks to work.
Porpoises are the most common victim of plastic bags because they eat sea nettles and jelly fish and they are the most likely to mistake the plastic bag for food. If they survive the swallowing of the bag, it is unlikely that they are able to continue with normal digestion and thus eventually die a slow and painful death from toxicity or intestinal blockage.
3. Cloth veggie/dry food bag
I love my organic cloth bag with it's little draw string. It's perfect for refilling with dry foods or fruit and veg. Nearly all super markets use little plastic bags to put your fruit and veg in but the clever people at The Organic Company have developed lots of solutions for your shopping and kitchen that are made with organic cloth and save the use of wasteful plastic bags.
If you live in Aberdeen, you can buy these little bags at Food Story in the shop upstiars or order them online here. This is a medium sized bag and it cost £5.50.
4. Reusable coffee cup
For the longest time, I assumed that coffee cups from the likes of Starbucks were recyclable because they look like cardboard on the outside. This was pretty naive as I actually never checked until one day I was told I couldn't put it in the recycle bin at work. I now have 2 reusable coffee cups (one at home and one in the office). This is to make sure I'm never caught short.
On top of doing your bit for the environment, most coffee shops also offer a discount for using a recyclable cup, so it's a win win situation.
5. Tupperware box
This is a very handy thing to carry around. You can buy glass or metal storage boxes too, which would be a better option. However, I am trying to reuse what I have instead of throwing things out and starting again.
You can use a tupperware box for your lunch take away if the place you visit is open to that. I'm sure most cafes would be okay to serve lunch in your own container if you explain that you're trying to reduce your waste.
I also recently learned that Morrisons give you extra points for using your own container to get meat and fish from the deli counter.
I'd recommend keeping a separate container for your lunches to the one you use for any meats or shopping items and wash it thoroughly after each use to avoid spreading any germs or bacteria.
Is anyone else following plastic free July? What have you found easy/difficult about trying to get rid of single use plastic?