Monday, May 18, 2015

Say No to Plastic!

As many of you know, Younger Son and Nuora live 9 months of the year in the Perhentian Islands, as Blue Temple Conservation, working with local communities to raise awareness of marine issues and create sustainable lifestyles.

One of the tasks they regularly undertake is beach clean-ups. 
Here YS is helped by their next-door-neighbour to gather some of the many plastic bottles and bags washed up or dumped on the beautiful south sea island shore. Horrified by the amount of plastic rubbish they see they've set up their own campaign, Say No to Plastic.

What a good idea, I thought. I can do that too and encourage others as well. Then I looked around my bathroom - where I was when I had this brilliant idea. At the shampoo, hair conditioner, shower gel and even soap in plastic bottles. Then I thought about the laundry room (that's a posh term for a shed). All my washing powder and fabric conditioner comes in plastic bottles as do most other things around the house. I'd never really thought about how much plastic we use every day.

How can I cut that down?! 

I asked Younger Son who explained that he didn't mean every plastic container: that would be a ginormous if not impossible job. He meant plastic water bottles and plastic bags, the ones I put fruit in when I go to the supermarket for instance. 'Cut down on the ones you don't really need,' he said.

That's a bit more manageable. I could try and do that. I already re-use my plastic shopping carrier bags along with the non-plastic ones. (For some years we've been charged 5p a carrier bag in Wales. It took a while to remember to take bags with me but it's second nature now.) And I don't need to put my fruit and veg in bags - and I should stop buying them ready-bagged.

Estimates suggest that each year between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed, amounting to approximately one million plastic bags per minute. Further, on average, a person will use a plastic bag for only 12 minutes. 

The damage that plastic does to the oceans and the life therein is widespread and long-lasting. It wouldn't take much effort on my part to do my little bit to help. 

One other thing: YS explained that squirty soap contains micro-beads to help make it more lathery. Micro-beads are very bad for the oceans!* I've only recently swapped over to squirty soap instead of bars of soap so I'll have to revert. (Have you notice the sparsity of bars of soap in shops?)

And now for something that can be done with rubbish!
Go creative!

Could you Say No to Plastic?

* An aside: an article published last week in National Geographic says that the tiny metal particles in sun screen may harm marine creatures by damaging their defence mechanisms that protect their embryos. The micro metal particles are also used in toothpaste and cosmetics. 


SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I didn't know that about squirty soap !
'Proper' soap's still available , but mostly in very expensive luxury Italian versions ( gorgeous in the shower but useless in the kitchen ) . I must hunt down some Pear's when I'm in England ...
Please send my thanks to YS and your daughter-in-law for their splendid work .

Liz Hinds said...

Pear's, Imperial Leather and Palmolive are still available in Sainsburys but nothing like the range there used to be.

Thanks, Sonata, I will.

nick said...

I fear the plastic waste problem is already way out of control, as evidenced by those huge "plastic continents" floating around the world's oceans. Personally I try to avoid using plastic where I can, but so many products come in plastic containers, it's a losing battle. I suppose the long-term solution is some kind of plastic-substitute.

mittens said...

Some states here in the US have banned the use of plastic store bags (and in a place like California that's major)--and nearly every food store has a recycling bin for plastic bags as well--and they are reusable--if you have pets you can recycle thousands of them into stuffing for large squashy pet cushions, which most cats love (the noisy crinkly sound seems to appeal to them) and I suspect small dogs as well.
Ive even made floor cushions for myself as well, and at this point few of the plastic bags go back to the store...

what disturbs me is the styrofoam, which seems still to be everywhere and is mostly unrecycleable except at special facilities...

I dislike liquid soap just on general principles, and still use bar soap...

Katney said...

We recycle most of our plastic and have participated in Coastal Clean-up Days on the Olympic Peninsula before himself got sick. We hope to do so again one day--I'm always optimistic.

We were so glad when we found out that there is somewhere closer than 40 miles to take the plastic recycle. It would pile up until we had a carful and I could not get into the pantry.

We still forget to take the reusable bags to the store, though.