Plastic is an issue which is affecting us globally, it accounts for 95% of all waste in the open ocean. Thanks to broadcast content such as Blue Planet 2, and the increase in articles discussing the harms of plastic, the profile of of this material as a major threat to our planet has been raised enormously. Many companies and countries have already taken action to address this issue but so much more needs to and can be done. There are many ways in which you can reduce plastic impact all through summer whilst still enjoying the hot weather! Say no to plastic by:
Bringing a reusable bag
A reusable bag wont take up much space in your bag or luggage, but will save your from having to use plastic bags when shopping for food or souvenirs when out exploring ( I always bring a cotton bag with me every whenever I leave the house, and have found that it has been of use every single time).
Investing in a reusable water bottle
In countries where the tap water is safe to drink, bringing your own reusable water bottle or asking for tap water at restaurants is a win win – saving money whilst reducing your plastic waste. If you are unsure whether the tap water is safe to drink where you are, make sure to dispose of any bottles appropriately. In the UK we buy 38.5 million plastic bottles every day – shockingly, only around half of these are recycled and the rest go to landfill or end up as litter.
Enjoying a plastic-free cocktail
When ordering a cocktail to have during your summer holiday, remember to say no to plastic straws and stirrers! These items are constantly found on beaches, in the stomachs of seabirds and marine mammals, and also break down further to become harmful micro plastics, which pollute our oceans.
Leaving only your footsteps behind
Make sure to leave beaches, campsites, parks, and hilltops you visit, the way you found them. You could do even better than this by taking more rubbish away with you than you produced. For instance, take time to do a 10 minute clean-up when you leave the beach for the day.
Remember to ditch the disposable cutlery for picnics, it is perhaps worth investing in easy to carry reusable cutlery like THIS.
Thinking twice about buying that inflatable pool toy
When preparing for the beach or time beside the pool, remember that inflatable flamingos, unicorns and other plastic toys, including sandcastle moulds and spades, are not recyclable. Try to buy good quality items that can be used on future holidays and don’t need to be thrown away after one use! Why not invest in a wooden beach bat and ball set? a fun and sustainable pass time at the beach!
Bringing your own coffee cup
Bring your reusable cup with you for morning coffees, afternoon pick-me-ups and night time drinks! Some UK events, festivals and many coffee shops will also give you discounts on hot drinks for bringing your own cup.
Using washable cloths instead of face wipes
Many parents are becoming plastic savvy, bringing metal food containers instead of plastic sandwich bags to days out. However, baby wipes are pure plastic poison! Stay clear of any sort of wet wipe which are unable to degrade in the environment. We are expected to use 3.4 billion wet wipes in the UK alone, with almost a third of these being flushed down the toilet and entering our oceans! You could instead use a washable cleansing cloth to reduce waste.
The ocean is the heart of our planet. It connects people around the earth, regulates climate, produces most of the oxygen that we breath, feeds millions of people around the world every year, and is the home to a tremendous amount of incredible wildlife. If we want to ensure the health and safety of our community and future generations we must take responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us. Our health depends on a clean and productive ocean. As it is now, the ocean and it’s wildlife are choking on plastic; not only do we need to clean this up, but we also need to stop this careless pollution so that it can sustainably provide for the billions of humans, plants, and animals that depend on it every day.
Large pieces of plastic injure, suffocate or kill marine animals, as we most recently witnessed in the tragic case of the whale that has died in Thailand from swallowing more than 80 plastic bags! We can make a big difference by taking steps to reduce our plastic consumption, making sure we leave the places we visit the way we found them, and by spreading awareness about the adverse effects that plastic has on our environment! My day was brightened today by reading an article on BBC which revealed that the children’s word of the year this year was – plastic! The word ‘Plastic’ appeared 3,359 times in the 134,790 stories submitted to BBC’s Radio Breakfast Show’s 500 Words contest – up 100% from last year. The use of the terms recycle and recycling also increased, along with packaging, pollution, plastic bottle, plastic bag, and plastic waste. The fact that children are widely aware of the impact that plastic has on the environment and it’s effect on our world has given me a glimmer of hope that the future of our planet will be resting in good hands!
WWF has launched their first public report on plastic pollution today, specifically in the Mediterranean Sea – the 6th most polluted sea in the world. If you are interested in reading this report or finding out more general information about the effects of plastic pollution make sure to head over to their website . And don’t forget to share the ways in which you are going to go plastic free this summer on Instagram by using the hashtag #PlasticFreeSummer and tagging WWF_UK.
*Photo 1 by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash
*Photo 2 by Randall Ruiz on Unsplash
*Photo 3 by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash
*Photo 4 by Samsommer on Unsplash