Rise Above Plastic...

Each year, one million sea birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die from ingestion of, or entanglement in plastics. - Surfrider Foundation

There's no getting away from it - plastic makes the ocean sick.   In turn, it makes us sick too - polluting our beaches and the food we eat. Recycling isn't the answer because unlike glass and aluminium, plastic cannot be infinitely recycled. Instead it's quickly down-cycled.  Plastic degrades into tiny, toxic fragments and eventually becomes pollution in nature. 

As always, there is a way to create positive change. Every individual has the power to influence what's happening on a larger scale. Your small actions may feel like a drop in the ocean...but every drop in the ocean has a ripple effect.

With the exception of the small amount that is incinerated, virtually every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists in some shape or form. - Surfrider Foundation

In our homes, on the high street and at the market, we choose which products we buy and how they're packaged.  Often, single-use and disposable products are packaged in plastic - we can make a conscious choice not to buy these items. This may feel like a sacrifice, but the alternatives are sometimes a pleasant (and cost effective) surprise.

Are you ready to rise to the challenge? There are lots of everyday ways to reduce our 'plastic footprint' and help keep plastics out of the marine environment. These tips are via Surfrider Foundation. Also, based on my own discoveries, I've added a conscious shopping list.

 Click here to see my own food and shopping documented for Plastic Free July.

Rise Above Plastics - Top Ten...
  1. Choose reusable shopping bags and bottled water. You can get cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
  2. Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other 'disposable' plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq's, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
  3. Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
  4. Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
  5. Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and cases when you can buy your music and videos online. Bonus Tip: If you really want a hard copy - buy second hand on Amazon
  6. Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
  7. Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  8. Volunteer at a beach cleanup.
  9. Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  10. Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics!

Rise Above Plastics - Conscious Shopping...
  1. Ice creams, flavoured yoghurt and milk (often long-life or organic) can be found in paper-based carton packaging, eg. tetrapak. These types of packages include a hugely reduced amount of plastic.  Unlike plastic, the paper in these packages can be stripped out and recycled multiple times. In some local shops, you can still buy milk in glass bottles.
  2. Plain yoghurt virtually always comes in plastic packaging - so you could have fun experimenting with making your own at home. 
  3. Carnation's tinned cream can be found at some bigger supermarkets - great for desserts and making a creamy curry! Creamed coconut works well for savoury dishes too. Oatly does a nice alternative to traditional cream in a tetrapak carton. You can also source glass jars of artisan clotted cream and creme fraiche in some farm shops.
  4. Switch to reusable razors or an old fashioned safety razor - much cheaper too!
  5. Switch to good-quality soaps, which last much longer than hand and body wash.
  6. Buy meat - ham, bacon, chicken, steaks, fish - from a butcher/fishmonger to avoid the supermarket's big plastic packages.
  7. Skip snack dips and spreads packaged in plastic - make your own!
  8. Choose butter and cheese in paper wrapping.
  9. Buy fizzy drinks in cans or glass bottles, instead of plastic bottles.
  10. Instead of bottled still water, choose tap water in restaurants and at home, filter if necessary. If you really love bottled still/sparkling water, choose the brands packaged in glass bottles.
  11. Buy loose fruit and vegetables.
  12. You can buy wooden/bamboo toothbrushes in some health shops and online.
  13. Some household/homeware shops sell wooden handled washing up brushes.
  14. Rather than using laundry liquid, choose washing powder, which is packaged in cardboard boxes.
  15. If you can't find glass or cardboard packaging, choose brands that offer 'refill' packs, to reduce the amount of plastic packaging in your regular household items.
  16. Boycott brands that don't offer reduced plastic or plastic free options. They'll soon get the message.
  17. Beware of bio-plastics. In an attempt to be more eco-friendly, some brands have switched to bio-plastics. However, it generally only biodegrades in special composting heaps which are not commercially available. It's often made using GM plants. Also, the plants used to make bio-plastics are sometimes planted in far-away countries, using up valuable food production land.
  18. Shop Consciously - and you'll really start to notice where plastic is being used and wasted unnecessarily. Click here to see my own food and shopping documented for Plastic Free July.
  19. If you're buying gifts for others...choose non-plastic.

Take The Pledge...Rise Above Plastics.

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