Switching out our single-use plastic
The first in our series on plastic, we've pulled together some of the top, simple things we Sailors can do to help limit our single-use plastic impact!
When it comes to being on or in the water, there are few things more frustrating than seeing plastic bottles or bags (or worse!) bobbing by. It's unsightly but importantly, highly damaging to our marine environments. As the ocean and it's ecosystems are the support system for all of us, a plastic-filled ocean does not bode well for us, either...
Plastic in many contexts is fantastic - it's strong, flexible, durable and lightweight. We need it, on and under the water. Single-use plastic, however, is not fantastic. In our seas, it is a real issue.
National Geographic reported that over 8.3million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year, over 50% of which is single-use plastics that are produced to serve one purpose, once, and are then discarded.
Such single-use items, such as plastic bags, food packaging, plastic bottles, sachets, coffee cups, cotton buds, sanitary products, coffee capsules and wet wipes are not only the most littered but are also plastics.
On average, it takes plastic about 400 years to degrade, meaning that all plastic ever produced in the history of the world to date, is still around. This means we are using plastic for just minutes, on average, for it then to take 4.5x our individual lifetimes to break down.
Let's drop the single-use stuff and shift to materials that can either be reused and recycled.
Here are our top 10 quick and easy things to do, to get you started!
1. Bring your own bottle (and coffee cup!)
Plastic bottles... *sigh*. In the UK alone, around 7.7 billion are used every year, most of which end up in landfill.
Coffee cups, having been treated with sealant to make them waterproof, aren't easily recyclable either.
So, take your own and top up!
2. Your weekly shop
Ever stacked up the single-use plastic you bring home on your weekly shop? We have and... it's alot!
All fruit and veg have their own skin to protect them as they grow, so we don't need to buy it all in bags.
Try and pick loose fruit and veg as most of the thin, crackly bags they come in aren't recycled.
Just make sure you give it all a good wash before you cook / eat, as always!
3. Plastic-free PPE
Now dubbed 'the new plastic', PPE masks are swiftly becoming the number 1 litter item on our streets and in our waterways.
Buy reusable, washable fabric masks to cut down on plastic waste and pollution. Pop them on a warm wash to freshen them up and kill any germs.
4. Keeping your teeth clean
According to National Geographic, if you laid out the toothbrushes thrown away in the U.S. alone in one year, they would wrap around the world four times!
We use bamboo ones which are readily biodegradabale, being made from the fatest growing natural material there is. (Also, they aren't made from the same bamboo that panda's eat, so no competition for ecosystems, there 🐼).
There are also now recyclable heads for our electric toothbrushes, and we recommend LiveCoCo's electric toothbrush heads which can be popped straight into the recycling once worn out!
5. Using erm... real cutlery
Picking up a plastic fork, eating one meal and then binning it for it to take 400 years to breakdown feels a bit crazy, right?!
6. Take a tote!
Most of us are now pretty good at not taking plastic bags when out shopping but worth a reminder that these things are a *nightmare*, particularly when it comes to marine life.
Alongside old fishing gear, plastic bags are still the most detrimental plastic item. Reports say that over 100,000 different ocean species are detrimentally impacted by plastic bags, with 1 in 3 leatherback turtles alone being found with plastic bags in their tummy's.
We've even made it super easy for you by producing our very own Clean Sailors tote bags, made 100% from salvaged fabric off-cuts and recycled plastic.
No thanks, single-use, we've got a tote! 💪