January 18, 2021
If you have been asking yourself “ how can I fight ocean plastic?” and “how can I reduce my plastic use?”; this article is for you. Here are my top ten easy sustainable swaps you can do today to help fight ocean plastic.
(Note: I also shared this article on the Stay Wild Swim blog, check it out for tonnes of sustainability write-ups and insights.)
1. Skip The Straw
In the US & UK alone 550 million are thrown away each day, these can easily harm marine life. Instead, invest in a reusable bamboo or steel one.
2. Don’t Bottle It Up
We use over 100 billion plastic drinks bottles a year. The process of producing bottled water required 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the actual container and 2,000 times the overall energy required to drink tap water. Get a pretty reusable bottle instead.
3. Caffeinate Consciously
In the US alone 15 billion disposable coffee cups are used a year. These are lined with plastic which means they are extremely hard to recycle, for example in the UK there is only one facility which can handle them. Instead, invest in a reusable coffee cup. As an added bonus these get discounts on drinks at most coffee chains!
4. Say No To Plastic Bags
Worldwide we throw away over 1 trillion plastic bags a year. Turtles often mistake these for jellyfish, their favouritefood, and then die after consuming them. Instead, carry a reusable tote bag with you.
5. Take Care With Cutlery
Grabbing lunch to go often means using plastic disposable cutlery, which is then thrown away 30 minutes later. Instead, carry reusable bamboo cutlery with you. If you want to go one step further, carry your own tupperware too. If you ask nicely, most to-go food outlets will pop your meal in your own box.
6. The Gum Has Got To Go
Chewing gum is made from plastic and over 100,000 tonnes of it are thrown away each year. If you go through a pack a day that is 10 pieces of plastic which can last hundreds of years in the environment. Instead, opt for regular mints or nothing at all.
7. Rethink Your Razor
In the US alone over 2 billion disposable razors are thrown away each year. These can easily find their way into the ocean and cause fatal harm to marine life. Instead opt for a safety razor you can use in the long term.
8. Ditch Microbeads
Thankfully microbeads have just been banned in the UK but they are rife in beauty products across the world. Over 300,000 of them can be found in a single tube of face wash. These tiny plastic beads go through the water system and out into the ocean to be ingested by fish and other underwater life.
9. Plastic Free Periods
Conventional tampons and pads are heavy on the plastic, with a single pad containing the same amount of plastic as 4 plastic bags. As a result a typical sanitary product takes 500 years to break down. Instead switch to a menstrual cup, period pants or other sustainable feminine products. Check out Zanna’s recommendations here.
Most teabags are laced with plastic which means they can’t break down, even though most people confuse them as food waste. To avoid producing a piece of plastic with every cuppa switch to loose leaf tea or a plastic-free brand such as Teapigs. By making these simple swaps you will already be making a huge difference. Ultimately the largest problem is single use plastic. Things we use once, and then throw away, such as food packaging and plastic cutlery. Making the sustainable swaps outlined above will massively reducing your single use plastic consumption.