Let’s have a plastic free summer
This month WWF UK launched their campaign for a Plastic-Free Summer following their new report ‘Out of the Plastic Trap: Saving the Mediterranean from plastic pollution’. Want to get involved? All it takes is a few steps and a slight mindset shift.
95% of the waste in the open ocean is made up of plastic in various different forms. It doesn’t take much of the imagination to figure out what that means for our marine life. Choking, suffocating and starvation are just some of the dangers that face our sea-life when they encounter the waste that we have allowed to clog up their homes. Fish-stocks and marine species are facing depletion by horrific deaths that are totally avoidable. Beyond that, the consumption of microplastics by fish pose us a risk too when it ends up on our plates.
WWF is particularly concerned, as we all should be, with the state of the Mediterranean sea. Whilst we might think of clear blue seas surrounded by beautiful rock faces when we first think of the Med, the reality is headed to something a lot less idyllic. Holidays full of beach days and picnics are wonderful, but what’s left behind isn’t always so great. The report published by the WWF found that holidaymakers can cause a shocking 40% surge in marine litter (with a whopping 95% of that consisting of plastic) entering the Med every summer. Crystal clear waters and the marine life they are home to are bearing the brunt.
- Europe dumps between 150-500,000 tons of macro-plastics and 70-130,000 of micro-plastics into the sea on a yearly basis.
- Europe is the second largest producer of plastic in the world behind China, with Turkey and Spain topping the list for waste produced.
- The root cause of plastic pollution is delays and gaps in waste management across Mediterranean countries.
- Out of 27 million tonnes of plastic produced in Europe each year only a third is recycled.
So what can we do this summer to have a significant impact? Getting behind the #PlasticFreeSummer campaign on social media is a great first step. Some easy places to start are listed below! Beyond this, I talk a lot over on my instagram about #EcoSwaps that I’ve put in place in my daily life to cut down my environmental impact.
My top (and easiest) #PlasticFreeSummer eco-swaps:
- Buy a re-usable (BPA free) water bottle,
- Pick up a re-usable coffee cup/flask (gets you a discount in quite a few places, including Pret and Starbucks),
- Say no to plastic straws and plastic stirrers when drinking out,
- Always keep a carrier bag/tote bag with you to avoid plastic bags when shopping,
- Beach picnics are great but leaving your rubbish behind isn’t – always take your rubbish home and recycle it properly,
- Invest in a spork/re-usable cutlery set,
- Ditch face wipes! Yup, most of them contain non-biodegradable plastics. They aren’t even good for your skin so they really serve no good use…pick up some re-usable cotton face pads or a flannel instead,
- Swap chewing gum for mints (also non-biodegradable plastic…I know, I was shocked too),
- Consider alternative, more eco-friendly period options (biodegradable, applicator-free tampons, period knickers like Thinx, and menstrual cups like moon and diva cups, for example).
These are really just a few ways to be more plastic-free this summer. We have become SO dependent on plastic that the amount of swaps we can take to minimise our plastic use is astonishing. Whilst it’s easy to feel daunted by the scale of the issue of plastic pollution, it’s important to remember that every day we wake up with the ability to make positive decisions, both for our minds and our bodies and for the planet that we inhabit. It’s all up to us.
Join me for a more #PlasticFreeSummer! Use the hashtag and make sure to tag @wwf_uk on your socials if you want to share any of your eco/plastic free swaps, and head to my Instagram for more eco-friendly tips and tricks! Leave a comment below with what your first steps to a plastic free summer are going to be!
Feel free to also sign, share and tweet my petition to Subway and Starbucks. It’s calling for Subway, Starbucks, and McDonald’s to ban plastic cutlery and straws. Whilst we’ve had some success with McDonald’s (who are phasing out all plastic straws in their UK branches), there has been no response from anyone else as of yet.
Ps. if anyone gives you crap or mocks you for caring about something as important and as wonderful as our planet, or animals, or any hobby or passion you might have, then it says more about them as a person than you. So f*** ’em!
Read more about the WWF report here.