A lot of people watched Blue Planet II a few weeks ago and saw the detrimental effect our waste is having on the ocean; particularly plastic. The waste in the ocean varies from everyday plastic packaging to micro-plastics such as glitter and micro-beads. Many animals like sea birds or turtles get caught in plastic packaging and are unable to feed which results in them dying. However, ingestion of plastics is also a big factor in their deaths too, even for animals as big as whales.
The government is looking at putting measures into place to lower the amount of plastics we are using and to increase the amount that is being recycled. But there are some actions every individual can do right now to make their life more sustainable and a great place to start is the three R's! Recycle, Reuse, Reduce are the basis of this whole post and are pretty self explanatory but if you're unsure here's a brief description of each:
Recycle - Converting a product into a reusable material.
Reuse - Using a product more than once or giving it to someone else when you don't need it anymore.
Reduce - Cutting down on purchasing items that you don't need or that have unnecessary packaging.
I've compiled a list of products that you can purchase which will result in a much more sustainable lifestyle (it will probably save you money too)! They seem like small things but in the end they really do add up. First on our list is.....
Reusable Bottles -
I was recently bought a reusable, BPA-free bottle for Christmas and so far I haven't put it down. Mine has cute avocados on it but you can get bottles in pretty much any colour, design or size you want. These are great for taking on days out or to work as an alternative to buying another plastic bottle of water. There are also shops that will give you a discount on your drink if you bring in your own tumbler such as Starbucks and Costa who offer 25p off and Pret A Manger who give you 50p off!
S'well Water Bottle
KeepCup Coffee Cup
Joco Glass Cup
Phone Cases -
I'm probably not the best advocate for phone cases. My phone never wears one and is consequently in very bad condition BUT I know that there are some people who like to change their phone case like it's underwear and that can't be good for the environment. So for those of you who look after your technology and want to look after the earth too I have some suggestions.
Native Union Wooden Case
Recover Bamboo Case
Pela Flax Case
Reveal Wooden Case
Sanitary Product Alternatives -
In the UK, the average amount of disposable sanitary products used by 1 person is over 11,000 throughout their lifetime*. These products contain a fair amount of plastic (90% of a sanitary towel is plastic!!) so for those of us that bleed every month I've found some alternatives. One of these is the menstrual cup. The benefits of a menstrual cup aren't just environmental either; they're a lot better for your health! Sanitary products are usually bleached white and can introduce your body to unwanted chemicals. There is also the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) when using tampons. I was really excited when I got mine but I haven't used it just yet (these things can't be forced) so I will have to update you all on my opinion. However, I have heard that these work well for a lot of people!
If you do try out one of these menstrual cups and find that it isn't for you I have also added a link to Thinx panties (another product I haven't tried yet unfortunately). You wear them just like regular pants and they soak up the blood between many layers of fabric. You then put them in the washing machine and reuse!
Lunette Menstrual Cup (the one I have!)
DivaCup Menstrual Cup
Most dental experts advise that you change your toothbrush every 3 months so you can imagine how much plastic is being thrown away just for this reason alone. It's something that people do without thinking and I was one of them until I discovered that bamboo toothbrushes exist!
Odeme 2-Piece Bamboo Toothbrush Set
Violet And Percy Bamboo Toothbrush
Zero Waste Bamboo Toothbrush
Home Cleaning Products -
I have literally just got back from Tesco because I heard that they had released a line of eco-friendly, vegan cleaning products called Eco Active and I wanted to add it into this blog post. They come in recyclable packaging, the ingredients are biodegradable and they're also extremely affordable. I purchased the washing up liquid and the toilet cleaner which I have just used and I am pleasantly surprised at how well it works (and how good it smells)!
Washing Up Liquid
I stopped using plastic straws in bars and restaurants recently because of watching a video of a turtle with a straw stuck up his nose that wasn't very pleasant. I don't tend to use them at home but if you like to entertain and often buy plastic straws then these are a great alternative. The steel straws are reusable and you just need to wash them after use. The paper straws are a lot better for the environment than plastic and most are biodegradable (but check on the packet first).
Onyx Stainless Steel Straws
Cask & Company Paper Straws
I'm adding Lush into this blog post because they are pretty great at everything. First of all the majority of their products are vegan or vegetarian so that's always a good start. But, they also donate to charities, they SMELL AMAZING and now they're starting to sell their products without packaging! 35% of their products are completely "naked" and the rest have packaging that was recycled and can be recycled again after using. If you purchase products from them on the regular make sure to keep your pots because you can swap 5 for a fresh mask the next time you go in store!
Ro's Argan Body Conditioner
Dream Cream Hand And Body Lotion
Floating Island Bath Oil
Sugar Daddy-O Solid Conditioner
Rose Jam Bubbleroon
There is never a situation that isn't improved by glitter... unless that glitter isn't biodegradable, reaches the sea and gets swallowed by a plump manatee that's minding it's own business. When Summer finally comes back around and you're covering yourself in sparkles at a festival just make sure it's from one of these companies...
Eco Glitter Fun
Zero Waste Shops -
Lastly, zero waste shops are a thing now. The idea is that everything in the shop is free from packaging and is recyclable or reusable, therefore generating no waste whatsoever. You take your own jars in (or you can usually buy one in the shop) and fill it up with whatever you need. Once you have run out of whatever is in the jar you then go back and fill it up again. These shops sell things like food, cleaning products, toiletries, alcohol and candles. You can also borrow household items like vacuum cleaners and DIY equipment from some of these shops. There are so many of these stores around the UK and, luckily, I found someone who has made a list of them all in one blog post. The first link is only for the UK and the second is pretty much worldwide.
The Zero Waster
Index of Zero-Waste Stores
It can be difficult to stick to a New Year's resolution but with a few small lifestyle changes it can be easy to help the environment.
This post contains affiliate links.
*Statistics from Women's Environmental Network