Ruth TNG

Simply put...

Thursday, 16 January 2020  |  Ruth TNG

I wanted to take this opportunity to start at the beginning, as not to assume everyone is Eco-minded. No-one can be knocked for this of course - plastic was first invented around the late 1800's; although it wasn't until around the 1950/1960's that is became popular and ingrained in to our daily lives. Items such as clingflim,  tupperware and toothpaste tubes are all everyday items made from plastic that we wouldn't even consider to be an issue. 

More recently it has become hugely over-used. Your well-known coffee shop cup for example; although it appears to be made from card, it has a layer of plastic inside to prevent the cup from going soggy.
There are only a small number of recycling plants across the whole of the UK that have the specialist machinery to separate the two materials in a takeaway coffee cup and recycle them. So even though you mean well putting the coffee cup in the recycling, it most likely has gone to landfill.

Over the last 10 years or so there has been a large increase in healthy fast food options such as plastic wrapped sandwiches or pasta salad in a single use container. These types of food packaging most likely won't get recycled, although if they do make it that far, they would be rejected due to not being cleaned beforehand.
A bit of perspective, if one person takes one piece of single-use plastic to work 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year, they use 240 pieces of plastic each year. This could be changed simply by taking a pre-prepared lunch from home.

If you think about what general everyday items contain a type plastic, it is quite astounding;

  • Food packaging: such as cereal bags, and cheese pouches to milk cartons and even metal tins – some are lined with plastic.
  • Personal care products: some not only come packaged in plastic, they also contain plastic in the product, namely synthetic polymers. 
  • Dental floss is another, often overlooked plastic product.
  • Synthetic material clothing: polyester, nylon, rayon and acrylic, when these materials are washed, they shed millions of microscopic
    plastic fibres, that eventually end up in our waterways. 
  • There is even plastic in baby wipes and feminine sanitary wear.
  • ​More obviously in disposable nappies - did you know, every single disposable plastic nappy every made, is still around today, even if rubbish is incinerated, small plastic micro-particles still exist. Scary!
  • Lastly, wrapping paper, cigarette butts, glue all contain plastic and even chewing gum has a plastic in it called polyvinyl acetate.

It's only recently that we have started to realise the full extent of the problem plastic is causing. A few years ago, who would have realised that tea bags had plastic in them?
We can't be blamed for this; the onus is on the manufacturers and that is why people are working towards supporting more Eco-friendly products and rejecting those that use single-use plastic and other non-environmentally friendly materials.

We have so many natural materials that can be used as a more environmentally friendly alternative, such as Stainless Steel, Glass, Platinum Silicone (made from sand), Soy Wax coated cloth, Natural fibre cloth, Wood, Bamboo, Pottery, Paper and Cardboard. I will be looking further into these Eco-friendly options another time.

If you have not made any changes as yet, start off small; ditch that plastic-wrapped work lunch and take food prepared at home, or the next time your plastic toothbrush needs renewing, consider trying our Eco-friendly bamboo brush, from Truthbrush it is a huge hit here at the office.

Next time, I will be explaining the 6 R’s of Sustainability and delving into recycling in more depth and why it isn't the answer.

Much love “Leave nothing but footprints” ...

Ruth x

 

If you wish to contact Ruth about anything relating to the journal, please do so on ruth@thenappygurus.com

 

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