My new colourful reusable Silicone Straws complete with 2 cleaning brushes turned up today at my Amazon Locker. I’ve bought these to primarily use at home but also wanted to take them on holiday too. They are about the diameter of the straws you get when you order bubble tea, so wider than average drinking straw that would get at McDonalds or Starbucks. They come with 2 brushes so that you can clean them out (depends on what you are drinking I guess) but as they are silicone they are pretty easy just to rinse through with hot soapy water.
I mentioned my new purchase to my friend and turns out she also recently bought some reusable straws, although she opted for stainless steel ones. They still come with a cleaning brushes and they are slimmer in design.
It got me thinking that if everybody made just one change then in a short space of time it could make such a huge difference. I don’t know anyone who’s not aware of the impact we have on our environment or who hasn’t read a heart-wrenching article on plastic in our seas. Also, it’s a lot more ‘trendy’ now to care about the planet and what we, as humans, can do to limit or even reverse some of the damage. Even school kids are aware of these types of issues, only a few weeks ago a huge number of children missed a day of school for the climate change strike which was started by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who started an international youth movement against climate change.
So here’s my Top 10 of some really small changes you can make, that the whole family can join in with. If enough of us do even just the small stuff, then that makes a big impact.
Ditch single-use plastic bottles – use reusable water bottles or reusable coffee cups. I recently purchased one from Starbucks for £1.50 – its quite fun to take it into Costa too! Plus you get 20p off your drink.
Stop plastic bag use – Roll a pretty jute bag up and pop it into your day-to-day bag so it’s always on hand if you pick up food shopping or anything else about town. Plastic bag use has plummeted since the government introduced the 5 pence charge, but why use them at all?
Eat local produce – shop local, you’ll not find everything covered in plastic, the food will be far superior and fresh and quite often it’s a little cheaper. And that’s just the benefits to you! In return you’re helping small businesses, which in turn helps your own community.
Recycle – most people have recycling bins provided their council these days, but do you know that you can recycle items from your bathroom too? Things like shampoo bottles can also be recycled so give them a quick rinse and stick them in with your empty jars and cans. Some places also recycle crisp packets (see my blog on Howay Inn), so take advantage of these shops and take your items down there.
Wrapping Paper – so I don’t want to be a grinch, but the fancy patterns or glittery design for your gift wrap means there’s a chance it could be reinforced with plastic, so it can’t be recycled and could stick around on the planet for a long time. At Christmas time I wrapped all my presents in brown wrapping paper and my daughter and I added designs which meant not only was it personal, but it was also a nice festive craft we could both get involved in.
Don’t waste water – there are a lot of water-saving devices you can get for free from your water provider. These include ‘save a flush’ toilet devices, which reduce the amount of water flushed away and could save 5,000 litres of water; tap aerators, which save water by mixing it with air; and a five-minute water timer, designed to cut the time you spend in the shower.
The Fashion Revolution – curb your fast fashion obsession. How many of us have clothes, accessories or shoes we never wear – yet somehow feel the urge to buy more? Cheap fabrics like polyester, nylon, polyamide and acrylic fibres harm the environment because they omit tiny pollutants into water systems. Look closely at the clothes you have – you’ll be surprised at the outfits you can cobble together without buying more. And while you’re at it, where and who made your clothes? Was it made in a safe, clean and fair way. Ask #WhoMadeMyClothes?
Reduce food waste – the energy and resources that have gone into growing, cooking or packaging food are wasted if that food ends up in the bin. If you’re unsure what to do with those leftovers, head to the charity Love Food Hate Waste online. It has a number of recipes which can be adapted to suit what’s in your fridge.
Help shops to stop reduce food waste too – Join the Food Waste Revolution – looking at food waster from a retailer point of view, do you have the Too Good To Go app? It shows local shops and restaurants who offer ‘Magic Bags’. What’s so magic about them? The ‘food waste’ is all the delicious, perfectly edible food that stores and restaurants have to throw out at the end of the day. Some great examples of this unsold food is from bakeries that have to bake fresh everyday or restaurants that didn’t sell all the food they had prepared. However, you won’t know exactly what you’re getting until you pick it up. You pay online and it’s fraction of the cost of what it would be – most I’ve seen are between, £1.50 and £3.00 depending on what’s in the bag.
Join in a Beach Clean Up – there are more and more groups starting up with scheduled beach cleans and all you need to do is just turn up! Check out your local Facebook groups or organise one yourself. Grab your kids and spend a day at the seaside picking up litter and prevent it going into the oceans. Treat yourselves to a well deserved ice cream afterwards, that’s an order!
I agree, we should all strive to minimise our environmental impact. Perhaps it’s time for products to list how much energy and water they use during production, as well as their ‘ingredients’ and where they are sourced, so we can make informed choices as consumers?
Yes, that’s a good point – if it all starts with the supplier then the consumer can make better choices as they are more informed.