We've Declared It... The War on Plastics
Ok, we’ve declared it - The war on plastics is on.
Looking around my house right now, I can literally see plastics everywhere… from the hot chocolate containers, to washing up bottles to laundry racks. It seems as though plastics are almost impossible to avoid. One of my favourute accounts is run by Lauren Singer, the founder behind Trash is for Tossers, an instagram account dedicated to showcasing how easy a zero waste lifestyle is to achieve.
But that’s just the thing, I'm finding that it really isn’t! As much as I try to eliminate plastics from my day life they just keep popping up… everywhere.
I’ve taken the simple introductory steps that most of us have all probably done:
Swap out your coffee/tea cups and plastic drinks bottles for a reusable – check!
If you have no option but to use plastics, always recycle – check!
Take your own bags to the store – check!
Whilst many of us many of us may pat ourselves on the back for undertaking these small positive acts and there is no denying that every little bit helps, is it really enough?
Seems like it isn’t…
Our reliance on plastics for just about everything has been long lived and whilst plastic became our new best friend in the 1950s, leading us to produce an estimated 8.3 billion metric tonnes of it, over the last 70 years 79% of it has been thrown away.
It gets worse… by 2050 it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish.
Many of you probably saw the most recent article about the plastic pollution that killed a sperm whale, found on a Spanish beach. During the autopsy, 29 kilos of plastic were found in its stomach… 29!!! Because of this the whale’s digestive system became blocked and unable to expel all the plastic in its system leading to infection. Not only are plastics clogging the ocean they can also be toxic, affecting the hormones crucial for a health existence. The scary and sad thing is this is just one of many stories that I commonly come across when online. Such articles show that ocean plastics are a serious issue that is continuously posing a threat to our wildfire and their surrounding ecosystems.
With the amount of plastics in the ocean set to treble within a decade, we really need to take serious action against plastics and re-evaluate our relationship towards them. However all this is easy to say but now how do you actually go about doing it, you may say ‘well, I'm doing my bit. What else can I do? I opted for reusables and I don’t live near a beach so can’t take part in beach clean ups’. Sometimes it seems that no matter how conscious your buying choices are some plastics are just unavoidable and can’t be recycled.
Luckily we’ve got governments cracking down on plastics to back our actions up. The EU recently pledged that by 2020 all plastics in Europe should be reusable or recyclable and its not only Europe taking plastics seriously, China decided to ban imports of foreign recyclable material. Yet, it remains unclear on how these pledges and goals will be achieved, although the plastic bag tax was one way in which to cut back, plastics remain in wide circulation with Europeans for example generating 25 million tonnes of plastic waste a year.
So whilst plastics may be a staple in our lifestyle that we cant completely eliminate just yet here are some additional tips that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to try and limit your plastics consumption;
Lush offers a range of plastic-free toiletries from shampoos, conditioners, deodorant and toothpaste
Lidl offers plastic free rice and couscous (a favourite in my house so one I'm definitely looking into!)
Ecover – offer household cleaning products in large volumes meaning that you have to buy them less frequently
Whole Foods Market – sells loose fruits, nuts and museli
Soap bars vs hand wash
Stay away from facial washes that use microbeads, these are some of the most harmful plastics as they are so easily ingested by sea-life