What an emotional episode of Blue Planet recently and one that made many viewers take to social media to declare “I’ll never use a carrier bag again”. It was the shot of the large whale cradling her newborn who had been dead for days, it was poisoned by plastic, potentially by his mother’s contaminated milk.
David Attenborough said, “Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the ocean is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come.”
Another very emotive image was the rubber ducks floating on the ocean, a container carrying the bath toys had apparently tipped up years ago, and yet the yellow plastic toys were seen washed up recently on Scotland’s shores.
So, what on earth can we do? It’s worth taking the ‘small change big difference approach’… we can’t do much about pollution and environmental issues, but we can take responsibility for the purchases we make. It seems too simplistic to settle for ‘not buying plastic bags’ but certainly that’s a start. Around 500 million plastic bags are in use, and they take over a thousand years to degrade. Aim to buy as few products as possible that are packaged in plastic, how ridiculous to buy an avocado (which comes in its own ‘wrapper’) sitting on a polystyrene container and then wrapped again in more plastic. Take a basket and buy from a market or at the very least buy products that come in recyclable containers. Buying in bulk will help cut down on plastic waste too. Don’t buy expensive unsustainable plastic water bottles and remember most coffee shops now allow you to bring your own reusable mug.
Think about packed lunches too, when you’re preparing packed lunches ditch the cling-film, there have been warnings about its use in a microwave, it shouldn’t come into contact with food, so best not use it at all. I once sent my kids to a ‘sustainable’ picnic with a cabbage leaf wrapped around their food tied with string! It didn’t go down well, but there are many healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly options out there – innovative solutions that don’t involve cabbage… such as fabric sandwich wrappers. It’s important to look at personal care products too, I’ve written before about the tiny microscopic plastic beads that are found in beauty scrubs and creams. Choose products that are organic where possible, any company who has made the effort to avoid sodium laurel sulphates, artificial fragrances, parabens and preservatives usually wants to boast about that on their (recyclable) packaging so support those brands.
If you have children or grandchildren think about returning to cloth nappies, so easy to wash and will save you a fortune, take a look at the great options from Tots Bots including super soft nappies made from stretchy bamboo giving fantastic absorbency. www.totsbots.com
Similarly, sanitary pads do not have to be disposable, check out the fabulous funky range from Bloom and Nora. Great quality and environmentally friendly cloth sanitary pads that allow you to have a cycle without irritations from harsh chemicals. Perfect if you prefer natural fabrics next to your skin. The unique stay dry binding is a barrier against leaks and keeps everything in the absorbent bamboo core. www.totsbots.com/bloom-and-nora
When choosing skincare products, you do have the option to go for glass packaging rather than plastic and look at the company ethos around packaging. Silvan skincare have gorgeous face and body oils, creams and balms formulated without mineral oils, petrochemicals, parabens, artificial fragrance, sodium lauryl sulphate, colourings or silicones and they have a great eco-friendly packaging mantra which is reduce, reuse, recycle and the company consistently looks for ways to reduce packaging, and chooses recyclable packaging to send out orders safely. www.silvanskincare.com