The Plastic Free July initiative offers us an opportunity to become mindful of our individual plastic consumption and encourages us to make positive changes within our everyday life. Actively making conscious positive changes to our lifestyle can be incredibly empowering; particularly in the current climate where it can feel as though there is little that we can do to make change within the restrictions that have been bestowed upon us. It is a chance for us to take our power back and feel that we are contributing to something that is so much bigger than us. Not only is this beneficial for our planet but also for our mental health.
The ongoing issues created by plastics continue to be rife for our environment. National Geographic states that a whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled and that if present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. As consumers we need to be the ones that create a step change by addressing our shopping habits and thoughtfully reducing or eliminating the use of plastics in our everyday life.
We spoke to Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet who focus on turning off the plastic tap for her advice on simple changes that we can incorporate into our everyday life which will have the greatest positive impact on the environment.
“Very few of us can have a zero waste lifestyle. It is sustainability nirvana but unfortunately, we live a life of convenience and living zero waste takes time and effort. But there are simple things that we can do”:
“Firstly, support those brands and businesses that are doing the right thing”
From beauty brands such as One Ocean Beauty whose inner and outer packaging is recyclable and shipping boxes are crafted from sustainable forestry to luxury jewellery brand Stephen Webster who has created a sterling silver straw donating 10% of all sales proceeds to Plastic Oceans International to support their ongoing work in preserving our oceans; there are plenty of altruistic brands out there to buy from. Our brand community of Positive Luxury brands to trust that have earned the Butterfly Mark certification is a great place to start to support brands that are doing the right thing when it comes to creating a circular economy.
2. “Use your local refill store”
Zero Waste/Refill Stores are a gold mine for bulk buying dry goods such as cereals, pasta and nuts and offer food that’s free of packaging; you take your own container, weigh out what you need and go. For further insights into working towards a zero waste lifestyle look to the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson which is revolutionary and will not fail to inspire you to make changes in your everyday life.
3. “If you have a local milk delivery service, use it for basics”
The glass bottles are simply taken back, cleaned and reused thus cutting out the whole recycling process whilst still being highly convenient. If you are dairy free; making your own nut milk is simple, easy and better for our planet whilst also being better for your health as it is additive free. Look to BBC Good Food for a great range of simple recipes.
4. “Try swapping those plastic bottles of cleaning products for concentrate pods from OceanSaver or refills from Splosh”
Homecare generates more than 29 billion plastic containers each year. Finding a suitable environmentally friendly alternative such as OceanSavers EcoDrops or by moving to Splosh’s refill model you commit to removing single-use plastic from your cleaning routine and saving our oceans for future generations. In an idealised world we would all make our own cleaning products but as Sian pointed out, that lives in sustainability nirvana and these brands offer us the convenience that we require without the planet paying the price.
5. “If you lose one thing in your kitchen, make it cling film or Seran wrap. This is the devil – unrecyclable, uncollectible, valueless”
This might sound extreme but in the ongoing battle with plastic pollution we need to rid the planet of the plastics that cannot be reused or recycled in any way. There are plenty of alternatives out there that more than make up for the loss; from Beeswax Wraps or reusable silicone storage bags for those taking packed lunches out with them to reusable food covers or silicone stretch lids for food coverage.
No matter what you do, remember that even the smallest of changes, repeated on a daily basis can be the catalyst for great things and sets an example to others to follow suit. Let’s join together to make positive change for our world whilst also improving our health and wellbeing.
Ultimately, let’s live well.
Keeping some of these habits will help people make the most of their time, as individuals and the world adjusts.