Plastic-Free July 2022: the clever eco-choices to make now
What you can do to help with this plastic crisis.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is a charity that launched in 2010 and is designed to eliminate waste and pollution, saying: 'We must change how we design, use, and reuse plastics. We cannot simply recycle or reduce our way out of the plastic pollution crisis. If we don't act now, by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans.' Once a frightening tagline, is now a distinct possibility.
Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, agrees: 'In 2018, only 9% of plastic was recycled in the UK; in the USA, it was less than 5%. We can no longer hide behind the myth that we can recycle our way out of this crisis. Over half the plastic waste from many relatively rich countries is exported, often to developing countries that do not have the infrastructure to cope with it. We are sending our plastic trash to some of the poorest people in the world in the name of "recycling". This is "waste imperialism" and has to stop.'
Of course, the fashion and beauty industry is one of the biggest plastic polluters. But there are companies making great strides and sticking to an earth-friendly manifesto.
Michelle Feeney, Floral Street founder, says, 'The beauty industry is a plastic waste offender and contributes to the reported 120 billion units of packaging every year, which is unacceptable! Floral Street has been a sustainable brand from inception, and each of our products is considerately crafted with responsible materials and ingredients. We are leading in eco-packaging solutions and innovation with our latest 100% plastic-free scented reeds and award-winning, biodegradable pulp box that is created with 20% up-cycled coffee cups, giving new life to previously un-recyclable waste.'
We look at the performing-not-polluting products and what to employ to ensure we all get involved in helping curb this plastic crisis.
Here's how to do easy and great sound eco swaps, by Nick Torday, co-founder of Bower Collective, plus a selection of our favourite non-plastic-fantastic products.
Buying reusable cups extends beyond the confines of water. Many coffee shops offer discounts to customers for buying coffee using their containers instead of plastic and paper cups, so it's definitely worth the initial investment. And make sure your at-home options are plastic-free too.
Compostable bamboo items are one of the eco-friendliest ways of carrying out tasks without resorting to harmful plastics. This is because they take a fraction of the time to decompose and carry no taint of fossil fuels. Bamboo toothbrushes make a beautiful way of looking after yourself while keeping your bathroom plastic-free. Or recyclable for electric.
Toothpaste can seem like another hard-to-replace plastic item. However, natural toothpaste offers vitamin infusions with similar levels of tooth whitening and protection. And it's an environmentally friendly and visually appealing step-up from the plastic-based paste we're used to.
What happens to your shampoo bottles after you're finished with them? Plastics are virtually indestructible, creating significant problems for marine life and the environment. Instead, use 100% biodegradable beauty bars that disappear once you're done. We love SbTract – high-performance skincare that doesn't skimp on eco-credentials.
Periods are a natural part of life, but it's a shame that pads and tampons are so dependent on harmful plastics. There are plenty of cost-effective, eco-friendly, fully biodegradable, and chlorine-free solutions that are entirely plastic-free. Reusable menstrual cups without BPA, phthalates and latex are a great option.
A silicone menstrual cup is made from medical-grade silicone and does not decompose or biodegrade. Therefore, it lasts much longer than plastic and is considered a sustainable alternative. High-quality menstrual cups should last more than five years, and they do not break down into 'microplastics'.
Buy: Organi Cup, £15.58
Aerosols may cause plenty of harm to the environment, but when it comes to making your home sustainable, most roll-on deodorants are so packed full of plastics that they're not much of a better alternative. So instead, switch to 100% natural, aluminium- and plastic-free deodorant sticks.
Buy: We Love The Planet Deo Stick, £8.99 or Naya Everyday Noni Botanical Deo Cream, £28 smells spa-like, keeps you dry, and the packaging is compostable so that you can throw it in your food bin. Easy.
It's simple: order large refill pouches (hand-wash, washing-up liquid, laundry wash, fabric conditioner, all-purpose wash, shampoo, body wash, etc.) and fill up your reusable dispensers. Once the pouch is empty, pop it into a pre-paid envelope into a post box.
The brand will then clean, sterilise, reuse, and refill the pouch, ready for the next customer. This 'closed-loop' process eliminates single-use plastics from the cycle altogether.
Buy: Check out the Bower Collective; it has 400-plus eco products that can be delivered to your door.
Or sign up for a Plastic Free Challenge – click here
The Floral Street brand has incredible eco-credentials and is part of the slow beauty movement. A sophisticated-yet-non-toxic approach means you get all the olfactory delights of your regular spritzes, reeds and candles without toxic chemicals, pollution or waste. Their newest collaboration is delicious, with notes of matcha, passion fruit, apple blossom and almonds surrounded by Van Gogh's pretty blossom print.
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