This article has been building up for me. It is something I feel so strongly about. Spending my time in the large corporate city of London it is upsetting the amount of plastic used for such an educated group of individuals. I happen to work in the banking district of Canary Wharf, the masses are highly educated yes, but are they environmentally conscious?
Coffee! Rarely do you see someone in this district without a coffee in their hand and where there is coffee there is horrible non-recyclable disposable cups. Despite businesses such as Costa offering money off (yes money off, at least £0.25) every time you bring in your own travel mug people continue to use, and quickly dispose of, these toxic products.
In the same area, a few weeks ago I visited a gin bar. I was utterly appalled with their practices. Normally from a higher-class bar you’d expect a minimum of glasses not disposable cups, yet you are given the same cups you’d receive at a sporting event. When discussing the use of plastic, as opposed to glass, I also asked to reuse the plastic for my next drink and the reaction was “it is company policy to use plastic cups and we are not allowed reuse them”. The company likes having the image of using plastic one use cups. Despite coming across as cheap and nasty it is also harmful.
For these reasons, I have compiled a list of plastics we can easily avoid and what to use instead. I will also be taking part in the 30 Day Plastic Challenge and will post my results at the end.
A pointless pollutant. For the majority life without a straw is easy. If for any reason you feel you need a straw, try an alternative such a bamboo. Ask the establishment for a plastic alternative. They may not have this straight away but if enough people ask they will fall inline. If the, bring your own.
Yes, on occasion you may be unprepared and need a bag to carry your goods. If you do plan on going shopping, always try to take your own bag. The bag for life scheme we have here in the UK is a step forward.
This is probably aimed more at the type of person who pops to a local food establishment for lunch. I do this most weekdays. I have made the decision to bring in my own cutlery from home. Yes, I have a metal fork and spoon sitting on my desk and am proud of it. If you feel this is too much for you, reuse that cutlery you were using yesterday, it’s no different to washing cutlery you have at home.
There has been a lot of scepticism around cotton buds recently and whether they are good for you. It turns out they are not safe for ears at all. So, forget these and use an alternative, tissue paper will work fine. If you need them for another reason try to look out for wooden or bamboo (you can always find them online).
Now we’re just being silly. Yes, we all like to celebrate a birthday, a new baby, your first kiss, but do you really need balloons? A card will suffice. Balloons are known for being detrimental to turtles and other sea life. Once in the water (remember those balloons and up somewhere) to turtles they look surprisingly like their main diet, jellyfish. Once a turtle has consumed this it can quickly suffocate.
This is one I am currently suffering with. Recently I contacted some large UK supermarkets asking for them to drop plastic packaging on fresh produce. The answer that I got was that they had tried it before and consumer preferred plastic. If this doesn’t scream to you that this is going to be a consumer driven process I don’t know what does. So, what do we need to do?
Choose plastic free. Does your avocado, potato, carrots, bananas, etc need to be wrapped in film? You clean it and cook it when you get home? Another, tell supermarkets you want plastic free. If enough consumers ask for something a business will succumb to the pressures. Believe it or not businesses will listen to the masses. Especially if it will save them money.
As discussed earlier this is an easy one for such a harmful non-recyclable product. Simply bring in your own travel mug and reap the rewards of a cheaper drink.
As easy to alleviate the problem as coffee cups. Simply carry your own flask. It saves you money and saves the planet.
9. Shower Gel
I admit, up until recently I only ever used shower gel. I was looking for products free from animal testing and low and behold the trusty bar of soap. Not only is it perfect for travel as it doesn’t count as a liquid, it saves space, lasts longer and I feel cleaner. Just try switching that pesky liquid hand soap to start and you’ll see.