Many of us have seen the emotional episodes of Blue Planet not so long ago that made many viewers take to social media to declare “I’ll never use a carrier bag again”. The shot of a large whale cradling her newborn who had been dead for days, poisoned by plastic, potentially in 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.”
The 5th June is World Environment Day and World Ocean Day on the 8th June, which takes place to help raise awareness of the importance of our environment and our oceans by reducing and reusing where possible.
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. 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 or paper packaging rather than plastic and look at the company ethos around packaging.
Looking for a great eco-friendly deodorant then try Salt of the Earth. All manufactured in the UK, as a company they also strive to have minimal impact on the environment. The deodorants themselves are 100% natural and the HDPE packaging is recyclable, they continue to reduce plastic use with 500ml spray refills, and their plastic-free Crystal Stick, supplied in a cardboard box.
‘The Happy Soapers Club’ is asoap subscription service by the fabulous Kentish Soap Company, supporting the environment as always by using minimal packaging with compostable labels, delivered by Royal Mail. All their lovely handmade products come in plastic-free packaging and contain only natural colours and fragrances. Get a box of natural soaps (including an ‘exclusive scent’ soap) delivered to your door every month. Buying this way means more soaps, less packaging and a much happier planet.
See Kentish Soap Company products entered into our 2020 Platinum Awards – please support them with your votes!
Scence is a company that care about what you put on your skin as well as how they impact the world around them. Their wonderful artisan range of balms are handmade in small batches in Falmouth, Cornwall. Their lab is in an eco-friendly unit generating their own power using solar energy, and all their suppliers support sustainable harvesting. They are a plastic-free – zero waste company using 100% paper packaging. See Scence products entered into our 2020 Platinum Awards – please support them with your votes!
The number of wet wipes being washed up on British beaches has more than doubled since 2014. The Marine Conservation Society have found this huge increase along with an increase in litter generally, and it’s a shocking inditement on people who continue to use these non-bio-degradable beauty wipes to clean their skin, babies’ bottoms or freshen their hands and then flush down their toilets.
Most manufacturers do have ‘Do not flush’ warnings on the products, but it’s all about convenience and it seems that of the 920 million beauty wipes used in the UK every year a good number are still being flushed away.
How much longer does it take to cleanse your face with a washable flannel or sponge, rather than simply flushing away and hoping for the best?
It’s far kinder to your skin and to the environment to use natural sponges such as The Konjac Sponge, they can gently remove makeup and cleanse and can be reused, when they start to disintegrate they will quickly biodegrade so there’s none of the landfill or waterways issue.
Ban The Beads!
Microbeads are teeny tiny bits of plastic that are in facial scrubs, exfoliants, some toothpaste, and products such as cleaning products to give a mild abrasive effect. It’s the sheer numbers that matter, one tube of exfoliating scrub could contain 2.8 million beads and because they’re too small to be filtered out by sewage systems, it’s thought that they contribute considerably to the around 8 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans. Read my full blog post here>>>