The only thing we’ll be ditching is Micro-Plastics!

The movement towards putting an end to unnecessary plastic use is certainly gaining momentum. The wave of optimism comes in July whereby masses of people all over the world have taken a pledge to go plastic free for the month! See below for a graphic which I poached of Instagram @scriberian (and circulated amongst friends, family and co-workers) to provide tips on what actions can be taken by us all. I know we are 10 days into July but it’s still not to late join in the action.  Next time you’re about to use any single-use items ask yourself do I actually need this? Because the ocean and environment definitely doesn’t need what’s left behind!

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Today marked a great day in terms of encouraging mass movement on the issue. I’m sure many of you that follow the news will have seen that Starbucks has committed to stop using plastic straws globally by 2020 The announcement comes a week after Seattle banned plastic drinking straws and utensils. Seattle is home to the first ever Starbucks opened.

close up photography of two starbucks disposable cups
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

The move will see the company switching to using straws made from biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

With this move the company becomes the largest food and beverage company to ditch plastic straws and is a marker of the growing push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly. Changes across the United States are expected to commence in autumn whilst global phase out is said to begin in Europe next year.

McDonald’s also recently said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by 2019. The chain also said it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soft drink cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

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That’s the first bit of news! The other is that the European Union today backed plans to ban micro-plastics under it’s plastics strategy.

The European Commissions Environment Committee called for a number of measures that go beyond the Commission’s original proposals, including:

  • A ban on microplastics in cosmetics, personal care, detergents and cleaning products by 2020 and minimum requirements to tackle other sources of microplastics
  • A complete ban on oxo-degradable plastics – a source of microplastic pollution – by 2020
  • A recognition that biodegradable and compostable plastics do not prevent plastic waste in our oceans and should not be an excuse to keep using single-use plastics
  • Any financial contribution from taxing plastics should go towards preventing plastic waste generation
  • The reduction of hazardous substances in plastics to ensure that what is recycled is free from dangerous chemicals.

However, the Environment Committee failed to back measures to tackle pollution from industrially produced plastic pellets, which are melted down to make every day plastic items. It also failed to support stronger economic incentives to reduce plastic production and consumption.

The full European Parliament will vote in September on the Committee’s response to the Commission’s proposal.

Today’s vote is a step in the right direction. It is great progress as previously (much to the frustration and anger of campaigners) attempts to try to present bio-based and biodegradable plastics as a silver bullet have been put forward.  Whereby the real solutions of reduction and reuse is what needs to be the focus.  It is hugely positive that the Parliament has acknowledged this and not taken it forward as a viable solution.

 

 

Ride the Wave NOT Waste – Another look into the eco-friendly fashion industry.

Waste. Not the first thing that comes to mind when you’re about to head into the ocean to catch a few waves. I can say for certain that is not came to my friend’s mind as he was heading into the sea in Venice beach California (beautifully captured in the image below).

California is said to have some of the worlds most beautiful beaches residing on the golden coast. However, it is heart-breaking that these beaches are now amongst those in the world that are most polluted.

Anyway I digress slightly but there is a link here albeit a tenuous one.  In my last post I talked about sustainable high fashion. So sticking to the theme of fashion today I want to introduce you to a small sustainable fashion brand I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with. They use recycled plastic bottles to make clothes! They are called ‘Making Waves Clothing.’

 

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Making Waves Clothing

Making waves clothing is a clothing brand head quartered in England. The brands ethos is to help with the aim to reduce plastic in our seas and oceans, by using recycled plastic bottles in their clothing.

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For every item of clothing sold the company donates a £1 towards a charity helping to reduce plastic within our oceans. You can see me pictured wearing a t-shirt from the brand.

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What fascinates me most about Making Waves Clothing is that the garments are made from 40% plastic bottles and 60% recycled organic cotton offcuts. For anyone that didn’t know our dumped waste can be recycled into clothing.

All clothing is manufactured and certified under the Global Recycled Standard by the Control Union Certifications licence CU828402 and is also audited by the Fair Wear Foundation an international initiative working to improve workplace conditions in the textile and garment industry.​ Both of these ensure the high levels of sustainability amongst the eco-friendly fashion industry.

The company is not only there to sell products this is so much more than that. It is a movement. By producing products with recycled content the aim is to reach out the hearts and minds of people like us, to become conscious of the issues of plastics in our oceans and reduce this global issue. A simple decision of where to buy your next t-shirt could make an impact.

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It’s an honour to be working with the brand on my Miss Earth Journey. As a brand ambassador my friends, family and followers can get 10% of orders using the code 4mishapxMW10.

Please do check them out! ​

​Not only will you be getting high quality clothing products, but you’ll be supporting the oceans whilst you wear it.

 

The Ocean CleanUp

In my last couple of posts I’ve talked about how and to what extent our oceans have and continue to be polluted.  Whilst the damage is occurring there are several initiatives out there that are trying clear the mess up or limit the damage at the very least.

One of causes I have chosen to support as a Miss Earth UK finalist is ‘The Ocean CleanUp’. Relatively young the not-for-profit was founded in 2013. Headquartered in the Netherlands with facilities in California the charities reach and ambition is global. With the aim to develop technologies aimed at clearing up the world’s oceans of plastics.

‘For society to progress, we should not only move forward but also clean up after ourselves.’ Boyan Slat CEO & Founder – The Ocean CleanUp

The Ocean Cleanup is designing and developing the first feasible method to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

The Ocean CleanupBoyan Slat and the 120 meter tow test unit of the first cleanup system in April 2018 (Image courtesy of The Ocean Cleanup)

Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the ocean. A significant percentage of this plastic drifts into large systems of circulating ocean currents, also known as gyres. Once trapped in a gyre, the plastic will break down into microplastics and become increasingly easier to mistake for food by sea life. I recently read that microplastic pollution on beaches could be affecting the sex of baby turtles. Almost a quarter of the fish consumed contain plastics a study found this through analysing fish sold in markets in Indonesia and California.

Going after the pollutant with vessels and nets would be costly, time-consuming, labour-intensive and lead to vast amounts of carbon emissions and by-catch. That is why The Ocean Cleanup is developing a passive system, moving with the currents – just like the plastic – to catch it. More information about the technology can be found on the website.

To help this one of three worthy causes I’m supporting please donate here.

 

We don’t need plastic and neither do our oceans!

Did I mention in my last post that we have only produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since the 1950! Ok so let me put this into context  it has been reported that the UK’s supermarkets alone (in the present day) produce 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging a year.

The issue with plastic is that we have come to rely on it where we don’t even need it. It’s just not necessary. Take any supermarket using packaging for fruit or veg which we end up removing as soon as we get home.

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Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Whatever your age, gender, profession, religion or political persuasion, one thing we can all agree on is that plastic in the ocean is a bad thing. And sadly this is where masses of it is now ending up.

We’ve heard encouraging things from the government on efforts in trying to make changes but with every minute that passes another rubbish trucks worth of plastic is entering our oceans, so time really isn’t on our side.

The upside is that we can makes changes that will have a positive impact from now.

Here are some things that we can do about it!

1.       Refuse – say no to plastic. You can change your behaviours for example by saying no to using plastic straws. Or do we really need to use plastic cutlery?

2.       Reduce –  by carrying a reusable bag with you when you go shopping.

3.       Reuse – by carrying a reusable bottle, coffee mug, container.

4.       Repurpose – my mother uses plastic bottles and milk gallons to water the plants in the garden. And my neighbour has caught on! Here’s an opportunity to get creative people!

5.       Recycle – if all the above is not possible there are recycling facilities everywhere! Ensure that your waste is separated first.

Note that RECYLE is last on the list of possible actions. In order to protect our Oceans we need to substantially reduce the amount of plastic being produced in the first place. The simplest solution is to not give people the opportunity to dispose of the plastic to begin with right? In theory yes, in practice no…

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

It is really promising that recent polls have suggested that consumers are warming to the idea of refillable and reusable packaging – which would result in a serious reduction in plastic packaging production.

But more needs doing by the source of production. Environmental NGO’s such as Greenpeace have been campaigning for the government to hold businesses to accountable for the rubbish that they produce. Businesses and retailers seriously need to cut down on the plastic they’re producing.

The bottom line is, that as it stands plastic is everywhere. Whilst it’s almost impossible to avoid, the matter of fact is that there is action you can take to reduce the throwaway plastic you use in your daily life.

Please help me help our oceans to donate click here

#EndOceanPlastics.

 

 

We need to keep our ocean’s clean

I don’t think I’ve met anyone that didn’t at least hear a mention of the epic speech that Sir David Attenborough delivered at the National Television Awards at the beginning of the year (over 14 million of us watched in the UK alone).

It’s almost like he catapulted ocean conservation into the realm of things that are sexy to talk about! His speech was captivating and the Blue Planet II Series (which was awarded)so very brutally informative of the catastrophic impacts that human behaviours are having on the ocean.

Our oceans are at a crisis point. The impact we as humans are having on our oceans all over the planet is devastating. If this can be summarised into the main causes it would be the following.

  1. Climate Change
  2. Plastic Pollution
  3. Overfishing

The Ocean and Climate Change
As ‘carbon sinks’ our oceans absorb huge amount of carbon dioxide, preventing it from reaching the air. However, global warming is causing increases in water temperatures. Coupled with higher concentrations of carbon dioxide which makes oceans more acidic, these factors are already having an impact on our oceans.

Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable with the algae that live on it being destroyed to a lack of oxygen which can lead to the eventual death of coral. If global warming remains on its upward path, it has been forecasted that by 2050 only 5% of Australia’s Great Barrier will exist (source WWF).

Plastic Pollution

Where do I start. I anticipate a lot more posts about this in the coming weeks. But in short WE NEED TO STOP! and we need to stop now! Plastic pollutes our ocean. It kills marine animals and birds. Some of you may have seen the news a couple of weeks ago, having reported that a Whale had died in Thailand having swallowed over 80 plastic bags which had been dumped in the ocean.

Since in the 1950’s we have managed to produce a whopping 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic and it’s expected we are going to quadruple this my 2050 if our current behaviours don’t change. The impact of plastics goes much further than our household bins. It’s going to our oceans and natural environment.

Overfishing

Admittedly not a issue I knew much about but I came across a couple of really good Ted Talk lessons the other day which are certainly worth watch ‘Will the ocean ever run out of fish’.  In a nutshell overfishing is happening all over the world. We need to understand that the removal of fish from the ocean at it’s current pace does not allow for replenishment in time, resulting in any given species becoming extinct or underpopulated in that given area.

Again it anticipated that by 2050, there will be more plastic and rubbish in the world’s oceans than fish.

Can you imagine yourself surfing, diving or snorkeling in the sea with plastic. Because this is where we are heading. If not us, then this is what future generations will be left with, if we don’t act now.

If this hasn’t convinced you I don’t what will. You can donate to help protect our environment by clicking here.

IMG_5801Image of me enjoying the waters whilst on holiday in Croatia last summer.