I’ll be honest with you, I never knew too much about why it was so important to do our best to become plastic free, until I went to a supposed “secret beach” in Indonesia, and found that in fact the biggest secrets lay in the form of tons of plastic littered across the sand. If I squinted my eyes, the beach itself was one of the most wondrous places I’d ever been to, and yet I was disgusted to even go into the water, as chocolate bar wrappers surrounded me. Not only did it look terrible, but as I started to pick up the litter I began thinking of the vast sea life affected by our ignorance and disrespect. Instagram won’t show you the reality of the situation, but unfortunately I can confirm that the beaches in Thailand were also far from plastic free, which was such a shame.
This whole month is Plastic Free July, a month to provide you with resources and ideas to help people reduce their single-use plastic waste everyday, whether at home, at work, school, at the shops or when you want that morning coffee! Here at Treetop, we wanted to give you some facts about the importance of recycling, what single use plastic waste actually is and a few options for you to change the world! Here are some quick fire bullet points to remind those who already know and to provide pointers to educate those (like me!) who want to learn more.
Plastic Free July is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, focusing on a vision of a plastic free world. Single-use plastic is a term used to describe plastic that is used once and then thrown away, or disposed of and (we hope) recycled. Plastic items can range from the plastic straw you use for your drink (from your plastic bottle), to food packaging, plastic bags and everyday items like razors and toothbrushes. They are mass produced for demand yet we’re happy that things are slowly changing with companies becoming aware of these plastic free campaigns and the fact people want change - for example, plastic straws are banned from many establishments and being replaced by either biodegradable ones or not used at all.
The problem of plastic remaining doesn’t just start with hidden beaches in Indonesia. Plastic stays in the environment for AGES - not just looking disgusting, but threatening wildlife and spreading harmful toxins. As well as this, plastic contributes to global warming - they’re made from chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels like gas, oil and even coal. That’s right - I didn’t know this either! It’s estimated we produce 300 million tons of plastic each year, of which half of it is disposable. World-wide, between 10-13% of plastic items are actually recycled - not much eh? It’s difficult to even recycle petroleum based disposable plastic, and in order to do so new raw materials and chemicals have to be added. It’s a never ending circle of chemical pollution!
Well, I saw it first hand on that beach in Indonesia, but that’s just one of the many on our planet. Like we said before, petroleum-based plastic isn’t eco friendly and therefore it goes into a landfill, gets buried in the earth forever and continues to pollute. The plastic cannot biodegrade (decompose into a natural substance such as soil), so it decays into tiny particles after many years of just sitting in the ground. During this process of deterioration, the plastic releases toxic chemicals (the additives that were originally used to shape and harden it).
If plastic does not go into the earth, they find their way into the water system and end up in the ocean. This leads to the disastrous effects with plastic polluting the ocean (ending up floating and being eaten by sea life and/or trapping animals) and contaminating those once pretty beaches. Marine life and ecosystems have been damaged to extreme levels as a result.
Also, we hate to tell you - but we’re consuming this too. Experts are now finding that these degrading chemicals are making their way into human food and our water supply and being consumed every day by us, with toxic chemicals being found in our bloodstream. Latest research has linked these chemicals to impaired immunity, infertility and causing the occurrence of certain types of cancers. Another reason we need to stop NOW!
HOW CAN WE HELP?
With advocates spreading awareness of global warming and educating the public on just how harmful it is to the environment and ourselves, many people are cutting down their plastic use. It also helps that major businesses like Pret A Manger are going one step further, promoting their global commitment to change their plastic packaging use by 2025 - could we love Pret any more? So how can YOU make a difference? Easy, simple changes to your everyday life using products that reduce your plastic footprint, are useful, saves you money and helps keep our marine life safe. Of-course, the ultimate goal is that once again we can live completely plastic free, like we did only a few decades ago. By choosing the plastic free alternatives, we’re essentially voting for companies to adapt to our demand. To initiate any change, it’s that simple. If there’s a demand, companies will be forced to stay competitive and change, whether they like it or not, and that’s what’s going to make the biggest difference. Take a look at our plastic-free products below and let’s tackle this problem together!
Take our Coffee Cup
Did you know you could be saving a huge amount of money by using your recyclable cup in your favourite coffee shop? From 50p off at Pret to 25p off in Costa Coffee and Starbucks - you’d be saving the environment AND your pennies. What more could you want? Oh, you want to be able to take your coffee cup travelling? Well it’s ALSO collapsible, so you’ll be able to drink coffee and save the environment wherever in the world you are - you’re welcome.
BRUSH THOSE TEETH
with our Bamboo Toothbrush
We’re proud of this one. It’s pretty hard to find a Bamboo Toothbrush whose bristles aren’t made with plastic in them - but we’ve done it. Our bristles in this particular toothbrush are made with bamboo fibres so it’s truly an all round, plastic friendly purchase.
GRAB YA BAG!
You don’t want to be paying extra pennies for bags that just ruin the environment right? Just a one off purchase stops you spending unnecessary money and is a small step in becoming plastic free.
with our Bamboo Razor
A great alternative to the norm, why don’t you go plastic free with your shave?
RELAX IN THE OUTDOORS
with our Bluetooth speaker
No better way to enjoy Mother Nature, then in the great outdoors with a picnic and some great music. Our Bluetooth speaker is small, convenient and water proof so you don’t have to worry if the rain hits!
Credit: emilys.eyes.explore - A Mental Health & Travel Writer
Emily has recently joined our team at Treetop, and we highly recommend you take a look at some more of her writing through the link above!
For more re-usable & eco-friendly products, click here.