Oh god guys, I’ve been gradually working on this post about reducing plastic for the past week or so and after yesterday’s screening of Plastic Ocean and refreshing my memory of what is going on our planet I feel like it’s more important than ever that I post this. I’m not saying that me posting this is going to change the world but hopefully it could help someone make a positive change. I’m sorry if this comes off as something ranty (I really don’t want it to be!) and it’s perhaps a bit different from my usual fitness stuff but I do think it needs to be spoken about and this is something I’ve really come to care a lot about.
Rewatching Plastic Ocean was just about as shocking as the first time. Some things I’ll never forget from the first time I watched it, for instance the dead birds with their stomachs full of plastic causing them to die a slow and painful death. Other things I had sort of forgotten but as we watched I started remembering more and more. It’s so important to freshen up your memory and remind yourself why you’re going through all this extra hassle at times to avoid using plastic. Somewhere along the way you start to forget a little bit and that’s when you need to go back to your inspiration and be inspired again. I sat there in shock once again to how blind we are to the massive issue we have right in front of us and I feel like no one with higher powers is dealing with it urgently enough. Where is the sense of urgency? Our oceans are suffering from our mindless and shortsighted behaviour.
After the screening we had an incredible panel discussion with experts on the environment. One of the things they said which really resonated with me was start making the changes and then talk to people about it. Don’t be scared or ashamed to share the journey you are on and help others to normalise this so it becomes a normal thing to do. This is so true and that’s why I felt even more now that I want to share these tips because starting to cut out plastic can be tough.
So the war on plastic is officially on. Companies are pledging to go plastic-free (the first entirely plastic-free grocery store aisle recently opened in Amsterdam), restaurants are ditching plastic straws and the latest I’ve seen is that Starbucks are going to start charging 5p on their single use cups. I’ve also seen Deliveroo trialling sustainable take away boxes. What a relief that companies are finally realising the positive change and impact they can have on the world. Maybe this is the change from above we have been waiting for? Could this be the beginning of something? I’m truly hoping so! Time will tell but if we as consumers think of our consumption as placing a vote, a vote for change and vote towards what we want to see more of then maybe this is the reaction to what we’ve been voting more for recently.
I for the past year have become increasingly aware of the amount of plastic that’s surrounding me in my every day life. Recycling is something my family has always done but here in the UK the recycling of plastic is not as advanced as back in Sweden. Yes plastic is recyclable, not all of it and yesterday the panel said only 9% of all plastic gets recycled! Also, from what I’ve understood you can only recycle plastic once and as we all know, plastic never goes away. Once it exists in the world it will be there for hundreds of years, slowly disintegrating into smaller pieces and eventually becoming so small we can’t see it, but it’s still there impacting our environment. Therefore, as the panel also said, recycling and disposing of it is really just time wasted because what we really need to do is stop using it.
I am by no means perfect when it comes to my plastic use, the same way that I don’t have the perfect healthy lifestyle but in both areas I strive to do the best I can. There’s a couple of ways I’ve been able to avoid plastic in my life and I thought I could share it here in order to maybe inspire some of you to take these small steps towards making a change. I’m sorry if you’ve heard them before!
1. Glass water bottle
I’ve got two glass water bottles which I take everywhere with me and I very rarely ever buy bottled water in shops (can’t remember the last time I did). It’s such an unnecessary thing to do if you think about it. First of all, driving the bottled water to it’s destination in the shops causes unnecessary pollution rather than just getting water out of the tap and secondly the plastic bottle itself which the planet can never really ever get rid of again.
2. Bar soap
Switching out my soaps for bar soap is another way to avoid plastic packaging. Lush is great because you can buy however much you need and there are loads of deliciously smelling options to choose from. Whenever you’re buying a bar soap make sure the packaging around it doesn’t have plastic in it.
3. Tea/ Coffee cup
Another easy thing to do, bring your own coffee or tea cup with you when you’re out. A nice little bonus is a lot of coffee places give you a small discount if you bring your own cup. I think I also got an extra stamp on my loyalty card at Café Nero, I don’t know if they always do that. Either way, you’re saving the planet and some money. Now you don’t have any excuses 🙂
4. Bamboo tooth brush
In one of my posts you saw I recently got Jamie and bamboo tooth brushes, bamboo is biodegradable. I think they brush really well too!
5. Avoid single use straws and plastic cutlery
This is something I try my very best to do if I’m eating or drinking out somewhere, to get my water or whatever I’m drinking without a straw and bring my own cutlery. I must admit I’m not the best at the cutlery part but if I have forgotten to bring some and end up using plastic ones, I bring them home to put in the recycling at least. I know it’s not the ideal situation but if I get anything in a plastic container I bring it home to be recycled rather than throwing it in a bin somewhere.
6. Buy fruit and veg without plastic packaging
Do you remember my post about plastic on UK fruit and veg in supermarkets (click here to get to it)? I was very upset at the time when I wrote it and it still frustrates me to the bone that there’s still so much unnecessary use of plastic. My organic bananas do not need plastic bags around them! I find that incredibly ironic. The broccoli or carrots don’t either for that matter. There are very very few fresh produce items that actually need any form of packaging, especially plastic packaging. If there’s an option to buy a fruit or vegetable without it being in plastic, do it. I also avoid the small plastic bags you for fresh produce, I just wash it all properly when I get home. Another option is to get cotton bags or something to put the produce in and reuse them.
7. Food in the food waste bin
I’m not sure about other places but here in Glasgow they not long ago put food waste bins next to the recycling bins by all flats in the city centre (from what I’ve understood it). So instead of throwing your food waste such as fruit and veg peel, meat, fish, cheese, things that have gone off etc into the normal bin, we now have a little food waste caddie with biodegradable bags. This means the stuff we would throw out in the bin normally gets taken care of in the best possible way AND Jamie and I have started taking out normal bins out far less because we don’t fill them as quickly, meaning we need fewer plastic bags for our rubbish.
8. Choose other materials when you can
When you are grocery shopping or buying a new hair brush do some research and see if you can get it in a different material. For instance getting your olive oil in a glass bottle instead of a plastic one, get a hair brush which is wooden, my latest exfoliating gloves are made out of hemp. You get the idea, shop around and think of how this purchase will affect the environment when you dispose of it. I think what we need to realise when we purchase something is that one day we’ll have to dispose of it, this means we somehow we need to get rid off it in the best possible way. What are the best materials to be disposed? There is actually no “throw away” as they say in Plastic Ocean for plastic, it just continues exist elsewhere but it never goes away.
9. Have a support group
As with the gym, it’s so much easier and more fun doing things together. The same goes for reducing plastic and having a friend or a group of friends who you can do this together with, be supported and inspired by makes this so much easier. Faye and I discuss our issues with plastic and our environmental impact all the time. We can ventilate our frustrations and also get tips from each of what to do. It makes the journey a lot easier when you’re not alone in it. It’s also great for accountability. Yup it is pretty much the same as with the gym!
These are the things I can think of just now! If you watch A Plastic Ocean, which I really think you should if you haven’t, it can really leave you feeling disheartened and think “what’s the point?”. What’s the point with doing anything if we are destroying the planet? What’s the point in having a job and living life normally when this is happening right now. We need to do something now and we can. We have the power over our own choices. We can choose what we buy but it might need some extra planning.
Our time is now, we need to act now. Otherwise, in the words of Doug Allan last night “We’re fucked”.
Let’s get going people! Let’s start making small changes, one at a time. Everything helps. We’re not perfect but let’s start somewhere. Let’s be the change we want to see. We can make a change.
Have a beautiful day. M xxx