As it did for a lot of people, the Blue Planet II series made me think. If its goal was to make people aware of the state of our oceans, it certainly had an effect on me. My blinders fell off and suddenly I could see the error in my ways.
Ironically, the day after I became aware, the kids and I were going to watch Annie in London. Our bag was packed, which included a large reusable bottle of water. All went well until the end of the night when I discovered the kids have guzzled all the water in thirst after consuming sweets. We were parched and ended up buying three bottles of water. An epic fail, if you ask me.
Lesson learnt. The subsequent times we went out for adventures I ensured that each person had a large bottle of water for the trip. Thus far, it worked. Fingers crossed.
In every day life it’s possible for everyone to make small tweaks to avoid contributing to the plastic water bottle problem. However, things can go askew, e.g. when traveling. Since terror attacks are big business these days, we can’t take water, or any liquids for that matter, through airport security. Once on the other side our good intentions are doomed, plastic bottles everywhere you look. Even if you ordered a drink from a restaurant, you might have picked a budget airline which doesn’t offer drinks and you are forced to buy a drink before or during the flight.
The only solution I can see is that everyone owns a reusable bottle and brings it along empty to the airport. The airport should offer free refill stations. Fizzy and hot drinks are an entirely different matter. Baby steps, people!
For now, here are some solutions I researched.
a small recap of problems caused by plastic
Here’s a quick recap summarising the main and most alarming problems you will find with plastic. Did you know that plastic is cancerous? Due to its BPA (Bisphenol A) substance, this toxic substance can find its way into our water and food with ease. Research showed that our water systems are polluted with plastic as there have been positive results in terms of testing for BPA in humans and water. Hence, plastic has a very harmful impact on us and it’s time to take action. We can’t let ourselves unknowingly, or rather knowingly, ingest this toxic substance.
Equally important is the impact on animals and the environment. From polluting the oceans to killing millions of animals and sea creatures, plastic is a killer. What’s even worse, is that recycling rates are low and production levels are increasing. What can we do to break this vicious cycle?
do you recycle?
Step one is admitting to not recycling properly. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been very thorough with my plastic recycling and I am willing to put in the effort to do it right. The first step is to have separate bins for normal trash, plastic trash, glass and paper. When you do recycle plastic, remember to leave the lids on with the bottles. Also, a good tip is to crush them up so you have more space for your recycling. You can also place multiple bins for recycling in your home to be persistent and consistent. If in doubt, keep a reminder for yourself on the refrigerator to recycle plastic so you’ll remember to put in the correct trash bag.
Photo Credit: Green Tumble
You might even need to get involved with your community and organise a plastic pick up service. This varies from community to community. Some communities have bi-weekly plastic pick ups, some monthly. If your community does not provide such a service, then source the nearest recycling bins in your area. Store the plastic trash in a part of the house where it won’t bother you and then take it out every week or fortnight.
start with the small things – say no to plastic bags
When you go shopping, instead of purchasing plastic bags have two or three reusable bags with you. These are much more sustainable, and sturdy too. You won’t need to worry about ingredients falling through the plastic bag. Embarrassingly, this has happened to me many times. The cloth bags can also be stylish and they reduce your yearly plastic consumption. How many plastic bags do you use when you go shopping?
the coffee and tea solution
Many people are dependent on their morning coffee or tea, regularly buying the beverage on the go. I found these eCoffee cups from Traidcraft which are fair trade, biodegradable, eco-friendly, made from organic bamboo. Did you know that bamboo is one of the most sustainable and renewable resources in the world? This eCoffee cup from Traidcraft is completely free of toxins, lead, BPA, or phthalates. Perfect for taking teas or coffee on the go. Or, you can try Stojo, a collapsible, ultra-portable coffee cup which is a great solution to the paper coffee cups.
plastic mugs & plastic bottles
To reduce the use of the plastic bottle, there are numerous things you can do. First, I recommend substituting with a glass water bottle. For example, I was approached by the founders of the bkr company. Their glass bottles are reusable, eco-friendly and stylish to help people drink more water as well as protect the environment.
I also thought of the using the Genuine Thermos Brand Hydration Bottle with Meter from Thermos. It is ideal for monitoring your water intake throughout the your trip with its in-built meter, it helps you stay hydrated all day. Featuring a one-handed push button for easy drinking and a flip up loop to make it easy to carry or hook onto your bumbag or rucksack. The purple shade is very on trend with this year’s Pantone colour being named as Ultra Violet! I am also thinking about trying bobble – a BPA free water bottle that also filters tap water. bobble is a great solution to ditch disposable water bottles, every bobble is equivalent to 300 single serve water bottles!
Or, you can opt for using cans of water, more specifically, CanO Water. CanO Water is filtered through the Austrian Alps and contains essential minerals and electrolytes, with a high level of alkaline content (PH 7.9). CanO Water is resealable and has a recyclable lid too.
involve your kids
I’d also love to start involving my kids. This is where Hydro Flask comes in. They are the creators of vacuum insulated drinking bottles that will keep your hot drinks piping hot for up to 12 hours and your cold drinks icy cold for up to 24. Hydro Flask products are phthalate and BPA-free and are made from 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel so are easy to clean and won’t retain flavours. There are loads of different sizes and accessories available so the kids will be able to pick one too!
stop buying & start refilling
Do you know the feeling when it’s super hot outside and you are really thirsty? At times like these, I usually give into buying my over priced plastic bottle of water just to satisfy my thirst. However, there is a more practical solution to this. Instead of constantly buying water, why not just own a reusable bottle and keep refilling it? You need to try the Refill App. There are over 1,600 refilling stations in the UK.
solutions in the kitchen
Now, let’s move on to the plastic problem in the kitchen. This is where we get into contact with most of the plastic we bring into the house, whether it be bags, food, containers, wrappers, bottles, and much more. There might even be plastic in our tap water!
If you want to limit your impact on the environment and look after your health, consider the clever filtering system GROHE devised. Did you know that GROHE is the world’s leading provider of sanitary fittings and a global brand, dedicated to providing innovative water products? They are famed for their GROHE Water Systems, especially those in the kitchen. GROHE Water Systems with GROHE Blue and GROHE Red deliver perfect taste and 99°C straight from the tap: “Water reinvented”. So, which water system is for you? Chilled, sparkling or kettle hot – the choice is yours. If I had it my way, I would definitely go for the GROHE Blue and GROHE Red – yes, I would have both.
You can also try out the Zip Hydro Tap. The HydroTap delivers pure-tasting highly filtered chilled water – 25 times better than a water filter jug. Paired with a reusable bottle there’s no need for unsustainable shop-bought bottled water. As well as the option to also have filtered boiling and sparkling water, the HydroTap features the latest in advanced energy efficient technology. This includes air cooling technology to ensure no water is wasted and PowerPulse technology ensuring the temperature is maintained.
I recently reduced the my dependency on buying sparkling water with purchasing a Soda Stream machine. I couldn’t be happier! Finally, I don’t have to drag a six-pack of plastic water bottles to my house. I can have fresh sparkling water any time at a press of a button.
Don’t you love the fact that there are so many solutions? We can do it together!