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The Gap Year Blog

A Plastic Free World

10 Sep 2019 15:35 PM
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Battling the world's obsession with plastic is something that is becoming increasingly important in the modern world. It is unavoidably a part of our everyday lives, making it significantly hard to reduce our usage and consumption. Small and individual changes can, however, make a huge difference. Here are some everyday items you can use to minimise your damage on the environment.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

Plastic toothbrushes take 400 years to decompose, continually emitting toxic chemicals into the air, leading to further environmental damage and rising global temperatures. Increasingly so, plastic toothbrushes are being washed up along coastlines, highlighting the ways that marine wildlife are consuming and choking on microplastics. It is without doubt that the best alternative is to simply avoid using plastics at all. Bamboo is an incredibly sustainable material, where in the right conditions it can grow over 4 feet a day and without any added chemicals or pesticides. Moreover, they decompose in just 10 years and are incredibly affordable – a fantastic alternative to landfill-clogging plastic.

Moon Cups

The average woman uses around 16,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime. That equates to 7 billion feminine hygiene products ending up in landfills each year. Living in a society based solely around convenience, this staggering statistic highlights how big the problem really is, and the devastating effects that it has on the environment. Not only this, but it is widely unknown how much plastic makes up feminine hygiene products. For example, tampons are made up of 6% plastic, one pad is made up of 90% plastic, and a whole pack of pads is the equivalent to 4 plastic bags. Mooncups however, provide an alternative to feminine hygiene. They may seem daunting at first, but the environmental and personal benefits are threefold: offering an end to the waste, discomfort and expense of disposable sanitary protection.

Recycling Schemes

There are countless numbers of recycle and reward schemes that are being rolled out in supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Tesco’s, and Morrisons, giving customers the opportunity to donate clothing and return old plastic and glass bottles for a financial incentive. Most supermarket giants are trialling ‘reverse vending machines’, allowing customers to recycle bottles for 10p a pop, or alternatively giving you store points on your club card for your good deed. Similarly, The Body Shop maintains that if you bring 5 empty products back, you receive a £5 voucher that is attributed to your loyalty card, while at Lush one can receive free products in exchange for empty pots. The steps taken by these beauty giants highlights that attitudes towards plastic waste are changing as a more mindful society takes precedence.

Plastic Freedom

Plastic Freedom is a plastic-free shop based in the UK that plants a tree for every order placed. Since 1st May 2019, 674 trees have been planted with the One Tree Planted scheme, aiding the transition to a plastic-free society. The website itself has a huge variety of reasonably priced plastic-free items to replace your unsustainable versions in your day to day life; from items such as beauty products and kitchen essentials, to clothing and travel accessories. If your looking to reduce the amount of plastic to buy, then this is your one-stop shop!

 

By Olivia, Frontier Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!