As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently read a few articles that have really concerned me about the levels of plastic usage and pollution and its impact on both the environment and humans. Plastic packaging in particular has an incredibly short useful life most often being used just once, sometimes in the case of plastic bags for just a few minutes before being discarded but it persists in the environment for much longer and is having a catastrophic effect on the environment, particularly marine habitats.
If you would like to find out more, you can watch Plastic Oceans, the film here. It is a documentary which puts the scale of the problem into context, showing how in the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre, researchers found more plastic than plankton!
So I thought I would put together a list of ways that I can help to reduce plastic pollution and thought it was worth sharing for anyone else that shares my concerns and wants to do something about it.
Resuable shopping bags – never go out without them!
I have a reusable shopping bag but the biggest challenge is to ensure that I always have it with me when I need it! This is one the simplest changes that you can make that will make a huge difference. Just get yourself a reusable bag that folds up small and take it with you in your handbag wherever you go. A backpack also makes a much more comfortable alternative to a plastic bag.
Don’t use drinking straws
Drinking straws aren’t essential, they aren’t even important, so just avoid using them. I the US they use 5 million straws a day. I don’t have the figure for the UK but whatever it is, reducing it will help reduce plastic pollution, another quick and pretty easy win for the environment.
Reusable boxes and bottles for packed lunches and drinks
Making your own lunch and taking your own drinks to work might seem like hard work but it will save you loads of money and allow you to make healthier choices. It will also cut down on the amount of plastic waste that you create. Ethical Superstore have a good range of containers for transporting your lunch in style.
The bathroom cupboard
Tiny plastic beads used in cosmetics, face washes and tooth pastes may help to exfoliate and leave you sparkling clean but they are also a big problem for the environment. Look out for ingredients like “polypropylene” or “polyethylene”! Switching from disposable razors to reusable razors will also cut down your plastic usage. If you want to buy beauty products from a brand that actively minimises its packaging, check out Lush, with the added benefit that their products smell amazing!
Manmade fabrics are also damaging to the environment. Look out on the labels for polyester, nylon and acrylic, all of which don’t break down and persist in the environment. The are also made using nonrenewable resources (oil) and an energy intensive processes. Natural alternatives such as organic cotton, hemp, silk, wool and tencel are all better alternatives for the environment.Second hand is also a great option as it doesn’t involve use of virgin materials. You can find lots of brandsselling natural and upcycled materials in my ethical fashion brand directory.
However if like me you find that sometimes you need clothes that are easy to wash and dry and don’t need ironing, there are some brands creating clothing from recycled polyester which is also a great alternative.
Timberland has recently teamed up with Thread for a collection of shoes and bags made from recycled bottles.
By using PCR fleece and other fabrics made from recycled polyester, Patagonia has saved in excess of 86 million plastic bottles from landfill.
Skunk Funk use recycled polyester in their clothes and use eo packagaing and tagging. Read more here
M&S use polyester extracted from recycled plastic across their womenswear, lingerie, menswear, childrenswear and homeware ranges. Read more here.
There are probably lots more brands that are doing their bit for the environment by avoiding synthetic fabrics in their fashion, minimising waste and utilising recycled materials.If you know of any or have any tips for reducing plastic pollution, please comment below!
With warmest wishes