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Sustainable Sundays: Switch Out Plastic



Happy Sunday folks - I hope you're all relaxing and taking Sunday in a slow and steady stride (as the restful day is intended). I wanted to start a new instalment on the blog but I was kind of struggling with how to categorise it but I think I've finally cracked it. Sustainability is something I've touched on briefly in previous posts in the realm of fast vs slow fashion for example, but other than that, I haven't talked about it in any further detail. It's a current trend wave that's washing through the millennial crowd and whilst it may just be a trend and eventually pass society by, right now I think it should be celebrated and advocated a great deal.

Sustainability encompasses things which I used to greatly overlook as a carefree teen who didn't hold a lot of remorse or thought about my place on this planet and the impact I might have. Whilst minute and not really noticeable in the grand scheme of things, I've started to realise more and more that I want to live my life knowing that I'm doing good in the world - however small or insignificant my actions may seem - and I want to feel that I've contributed in a positive way. I want to feel like this rollercoaster gift of life we get was well spent, doing spontaneous and adventurous things, but also things that are beneficial to this amazing planet we all get to call home. Whilst there's plenty of things us humans do in our day to day lives that damage and harm our environment, there's also a whole host of things we can do that won't damage mother earth and will in actual fact, help nurture and care for it as thanks for putting us up for our life spans.

Therefore, I wanted to kind of collate these little changes that I've started to make in the hopes that I can advocate these changes to some of you, friends. I feel that many of us are becoming more conscious consumers and starting to truly be aware and mindful of our waste, or demands, or dietary habits etc. and all the effects they have "in the bigger picture" and that isn't something that should be sniffed at. Any little changes can be positive changes so I thought the best thing to talk about first - as it's something we can all take part in to some degree - is saying no to plastic and how you can live a more plastic-free life.

Every year, approximately 3Oo million tons of plastic is produced with an estimated 5O% of that being single use to feed our ever-growing disposable lifestyles. 8 million tonnes of this ends up in our oceans and is responsible for the deaths of one million sea birds and 1Oo,Ooo marine mammal deaths every year. It is estimated that by 2O5O, the amount of plastic waste floating on our ocean surfaces will tally up to a greater number than all the fish who call those oceans home. We currently only repurpose or recover five percent of the plastic we use meaning we're not effectively recycling it or making sure it's not causing harm to the environment (bearing in mind it can take up to 1Ooo years for plastic to degrade and plastic is found in every sea turtles stomach and in a growing number of fish and birds tummies too!). It's something I've really started to care about over the past year and whilst I know many individuals would say "well what difference would it make if I made lifestyle changes in the grand scheme of things?", I believe every small change is a step in the right direction. So here's some small, easy ways you can help reduce your disposable, single use plastic pollution and help out our green world maintain it's clean green glory and make it a happy home we inhabit with other species:



Don't use single-use plastic for drinks. I like going out and grabbing a hot cup of something at a coffee shop as much as the next girl, but there's *so* many ways to can make each trip kinder for the environment. Think about your trip to Starbucks or Costa etc. - you will get a cardboard cup (which has a thin inner lining of plastic which is only currently recycled in a couple of places across the UK), a plastic cap for the cup, or a plastic cup with a plastic straw for those chilled beverages. Everything is plastic. I myself never used to even think about how wasteful I was being every time I tossed an empty cup into the bin but now I shudder at the thought. So many independent and chain coffee stops have travel/reusable cup options that not only are better for the environment, they can be kind to your wallet too. If you want to be even kinder to the environment, companies like Bamboo Coffee Cup use a natural and organic bamboo to create their reusable coffee cups but they also create the with low CO2 emissions to be even kinder to the enivronment. Many coffee houses/cafés provide discounts or loyalty points for those who use reusable cups and also guys - straws aren't a necessity for many of us so ditch them! You can buy metal straws just like these for pretty cheap, they can be washed and reused and kept in your bag for any drinking emergencies. Plus, if you pop them in your fridge they're great on hot days too!

The same rules apply for bottled water. Of course I'm not suggesting that if you're thirsty and you're out and about that you shouldn't buy water if you need it, but try to remember to take along a reusable/refillable bottle again. There's so many options out there for reusable water bottles and you can actually find some that are super aesthetically pleasing too. Again, this helps minimise your single-use plastic pollution drastically and most refill bottles are better at keeping your fluids cool and refreshing due to their insulation. If you do buy a plastic bottle, simply reuse it as often as you can so you can cut down your waste that way too. Brands such as Jerry are great options for a reliable reusable that will last for years as 1Oo% of their proceeds fund clean water projects around the world.

Opt for a bamboo toothbrush. This is relatively new territory for me, but switching to using a bamboo toothbrush means you're not buying disposable plastic every other month when you replace your toothbrush. I used to use an electric toothbrush but I realised I was still causing plastic pollution when I threw away old brush heads. Bamboo toothbrushes are made of yep, you guessed it - bamboo, so they're much more eco-friendly and can be recycled once finished with. They're more than affordable, often retailing for the same or even cheaper than the plastic versions, so it just makes sense y'know?




Plastic bags are the devil. You might say I'm being dramatic, but I stand by my point. I've caught myself swearing out loud at myself in the queue in Aldi as it's suddenly dawned on me that I forgot to bring my reusable shopping bags with me as it has meant I had to pay for plastic ones. There was a big movement in promoting the reuse of plastic bags and whilst stores still advocate that, they also offer a wide range of alternatives that are made from woven fabrics that are biodegradable and will also last you a lot longer too as they're more robust. Most of the UK big supermarket chains and stores such as Superdrug and Boots also offer the opportunity to take in your own plastic bags from them that may no longer be functional (holes in them, the handles have snapped etc.) and you can trade them for a free new bag. Whilst that still means you're using plastic, it will significantly decrease they amount of single-use plastic you're consuming and mean you're giving it a longer shelf life which helps. I've gotten into the habit now of always keeping some sort of fabric tote tucked away in my bag when I leave the house just in case I need it later and it's saved me a bunch. Doing this also helps you save your pennies because 5p might not seem like a lot each time, but I bet you those 5p's quickly add up if you're purchasing a bag in every store you visit on every trip!

Who even needs cutlery anyway? If you're out somewhere buying street food or ordering food to go, plastic cutlery is readily an option to accompany whatever you're eating. Most of the time it's unavoidable as salads in plastic pots with have plastic fold up forks lurking around in there somewhere too. However, being aware of this and making smart choices to shop in places that use wooden cutlery that can be recycled or simply carrying your own can make this an easy step to accomplish on minimising your plastic pollution. Of course there's going to be times when you're eating something that needs cutlery and you might just have to suck it up and use some plastic utensils, but if you keep something in your bag that can simply be wiped clean and popped back in there after use, you can cut down that waste so easily and you don't really need to even think about it. If you want to go all-out kind to the environment, our good friend bamboo is the way to go. Bamboo cutlery sets are well worth investing in and usually cost under £5. Bargain. They are incredibly lightweight so fit into bags and can be easily forgotten about.

If you can buy loose - buy loose! So I kind of started to mention the packaging food tends to come in earlier and I honestly think this is one of the biggest struggles of all. As an advocate of a more plastic-free movement, I envy the YouTubers and bloggers over in The States who have wholefood "fill your own container" style stores as they can dramatically decrease the amount of plastic they're buying in that way whereas it's not so easy here in the UK. However, if you have the opportunity to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from a local green grocers where they are loose and packaging free for example, you can minimise how much throw-away plastic you consume tenfold. I'm fully aware that at times, buying loose foods and foods with alternative packaging to plastic can have a higher price point and may not be as convenient, but I personally feel the little extra effort or the extra spend is worth it to know that I've cut out a great deal of waste in my purchases.

Trying to go plastic-free is not an easy journey and you guys, I've got a long way to go myself. There's still things I buy such as certain foods and skincare items that come in plastic packaging and I just can find alternatives that suit me but I'm constantly on the lookout for them. Being aware of the effect plastic is having on our planet and taking steps towards helping minimise it is admirable and it fills my heart with joy to see so many people making a conscious effort to consume less plastic in their day to day lives and make small changes to their lifestyles that will benefit the planet in the long run. It's a cheesy thing to say, but we truly do have only one planet to call home so shouldn't we be trying our best to look after it and keep it happy and clean?


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