Plastic is everywhere, in our clothes, our supermarkets, our technology, our oceans and now our stomachs.
Few inventions in modern history have been so successful and so widely used, but the impact of the continued manufacture and disposal of plastic is having a detrimental and potentially irreversible effect on our planet, our wildlife, and our bodies.
Last week, Amsterdam supermarket chain Ektoplaza opened the world’s first plastic-free aisle and back in February the British Plastics Federation (not exciting but important) hosted a highly successful Marine Litter event in London, where leading experts and entrepreneurs came together to find solutions to the immense marine litter problem.
The world has a long way to go but no one can deny we are currently in the midst of a huge awakening.
Blue Planet II used its significant influence back in November to highlight the plight of the Oceans by bringing the issue directly in to our living rooms, starting a wave of awareness that has reached as far as Buckingham Palace, with the Queen banning all plastic bottles and straws from Royal Estates.
Footage such as the heartbreaking scene in which one of natures giants, the Albatross, is found dead after eating a toothpick that ruptured its stomach, made Blue Planet the most watched programme of 2017.
The series focused heavily on the damaging effect of plastic in the ocean with David Attenborough stressing that; ‘For years we thought that the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect on them. But now we know that was wrong. The oceans are under threat now as never before in human history’.
Blue planet and the public reaction to it, has inspired more BBC programmes with a focus on plastic including ‘Drowning in Plastic’ and ‘The Truth About What You Wear’, which will investigate the impact of the clothing industry on the environment.
A British diver recently filmed a shocking amount of plastic in the oceans off the coast of Bali, Indonesia…
The fight against plastic has gained international momentum across all platforms with unlikely champions like Paris Hilton, adding her voice.
Her highly entertaining ad campaign for Sodastream last year gave a grave issue a fun and accessible spin.
The ad featured Paris’s spoof new invention Nano Drops ‘5000 more hydrating than water’, which she eventually replaces with a Sodastream as a solution to the polluting effect of plastic bottles.
Plastic bags are falling away, microbeads are illegal in the UK as of January, and paper straws are popping up in all the bars and restaurants, but we still have a long way to go.
It may seem like the problem of polluting plastic is so extensive that there nothing you, as an individual, can do. But with rising awareness in all industries there are many things the average person can do to help.
The world’s insatiable appetite for coffee is resulting in landfill sights filled with disposable coffee cups.
Every year the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. Help curb the problem and look chic doing it, with a reusable cup.
Stojo cups are perfect when you’re on the go. Invented by 3 dads who bonded over a love of coffee and the environment, Stojo cups are leak-proof, perfect for hot and cold drinks, don’t build up nasty bacteria, and compactly collapsable, and only £10.
We should all be carrying a canvas bag everywhere to save needing a plastic one. Shop in style with Noble Rot’s black canvas bags embossed with slogans like ‘Sex & Drugs & Pinot Noir’, £12 – I think we can all relate. Also try AntoninPlusMargaux on Etsy with their ‘No Means No’ and ‘I Am Nobodys Baby’ bag, £12.95.
The condiment industry is the one of the biggest producers of plastic packaging. Chips are not chips without ketchup and bacon is not bacon without brown sauce.
Why not spend a lazy afternoon whipping up your own sauces and chutneys and put them in stylish Kilner jars for a fridge worthy of Nigella.
The fashion industry has made huge strides in sustainability in recent years with high street brands like Zara and H&M answering the call with sustainable ss18 ranges; and then there are brands like Lemlem and Finisterre producing amazing collections while focusing on sustainability and doing good. Read about them and see their gorgeous collections here.
Beauty is one of the last industries to jump on the sustainable bandwagon, however, there are brands that are making a difference.
High Street favourite LUSH make amazing shampoo bars that are package free (except for a reusable metal container). Try the tropical ‘Godiva’ bar that will leave your locks soft and bouncy.
Kjaer Weis is an all organic luxury beauty brand with fully sustainable and reusable packaging that is committed to making a difference.
Then there’s Margate based brand Haeckel’s with its commitment to the environment, using all natural ingredients inspired by coastal living and love of the sea.
Beauty brand Aesop creates beautiful skin, hair and body products using plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients that have a proven record of safety and efficiency; while luxury perfume brand Le Labo adopt a ‘do no harm’ attitude with their vegan perfumes made from predominantly natural ingredients and high end synthetic ingredients.
There are many plastic substitutes available when you start to look but make sure you do your research. Bamboo toothbrushes are sometimes made from questionable materials and the future impact on the environment of over using natural materials and paper will need to be looked in to.
It is estimated that unless we collectively act now, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2025.
By making small changes to everyday life like refusing straws and using a reusable coffee cup, or by being more thoughtful with your fashion and beauty choices, we might be able to reverse the negative effect of plastic pollution on the environment.