So. It looks like the worst of the pandemic might be over.
What a bloody shitter of a year.
Extending tentative feelers into this new world, we start to emerge from our lockdown caves. What is awaiting us on the other side?
The good news - our viciously burning climate fire had half a year to come up for air. Not enough to reverse the damage, but things seemed to slow down a little. So where do we go from here?
The bad news - as our society 'gets back to normal' the slowing in the spreading of the climate crisis flames have begun to pick back up - with a vicious new ferocity. Now is the time to implement any of the changes you may have been mulling over before lockdown. You will not have another chance.
Below I have listed a few minor changes to make immediately. If you are not already taking active steps to reduce your wastage, I would suggest that these could be the first you make. There are many more, aside from mine, available - however in the wise words of our dear, British supermarket giant "every little helps!" (ironic).
On to the list...
Over 16 billion disposable coffee cups are wasted every year. Although most of these disposables are now made of 'recyclable' or 'compostable' materials, the recycling structure in place in the UK is just not ready to facilitate a job this large. Most of the degradable cups are either lined with plastics or end up buried under landfill, not able to fully degrade due to the immense pressure and lack of oxygen supply needed. We need a better solution.
Luckily, there are some amazing brands innovating solutions to the problem. I have fallen in love with my beautiful tumbler from OHELO. Made out of durable, dependable and eco-friendly stainless steel - free of all nasties - this is a fully sustainable solution to holding any refreshments you could want! Designed to hold both hot (6 hours) and cold (12 hours) drinks at the perfect temperature and in-built with a lid that doubles as a shaker for protein shakes (I know, cool right?!) this versatile little container is an absolute must for your day bag. It comes in a fair variety of nifty colours, I like mine... it has cute birds on.
2. Toothpaste Tablets
400 million tubes of toothpaste are wasted every year in the US alone. Factor in the UK, China, Russia and some of the other giants and we have ourselves a very minty problem. We're looking at around the 1 bil mark yearly for toothpaste tube wastage.
The plastic used to make toothpaste tubes is not biodegradable and so takes at least 700 years to begin to break down. Your children's, children's, children's, children's... (etc) may have the delight of watching your old toothpaste tube turn to dust. If they're lucky enough to have survived the climate crisis. Anyway, the solution?
You can now purchase plastic free toothpaste tablets from amazing websites like Born-Eco who are fighting to promote ethical, independent sellers amongst the corporate giants. An online marketplace for all your eco goodies, I was sent these yummy toothpaste tablets to try. Vegan, gluten free, earth-friendly and with fluoride included, all you need to do is pop one in, chomp a bit and rinse. Voila! Happy mouth, happy Earth.
It's not just the paste that's the problem...
3.5 billion disposable toothbrushes are added to the pile of rubbish that is not-so-slowly filling every crack and crevice on our beautiful planet yearly. Soon we'll be living on stacks of old brushes. They'll be our trees, our currency... they're everywhere.
What can we do about it? If you insist on using a throwaway toothbrush, Born-Eco have a variety of bamboo brushes for your pegs. A bamboo handle can take a maximum of six months to compost, as opposed to a plastic toothbrush which would take upwards of 800 years to decompose.
Do I even need to go here?
There has been a crackdown on disposable plastic straws in the UK and they are now banned (f**k you McDonalds!).
8.5 billion plastic straws are wasted every year. Mind-blowing isn't it.
Solution? Get yourself one of these gems from Born-Eco! Slips handily into any little space within your day-bag or rucksack, ready to be unleashed on the mid-afternoon mojitos or a fruity smoothie. Recyclable, reusable, durable, washable. It's a no-brainer.
5. Menstrual cups (for bodies that have periods)
Nearly 2 billion non-recyclable sanitary pads or tampons are wasted every year. We can't stop the flow, but we can certainly go with it!