Just how much plastic can I save anyway?
Sometimes, we’re told that a product is bad for the environment, but we aren’t
really told why, or just how much better the alternative is. So I’ve picked a few
simple swaps from around the shop and done the boring maths part for you!
These guys aren’t exaggerating with their name. Each pod is super concentrated so you drop them into 750ml of water at home (ideally straight into an old cleaned out spray bottle) and you’re ready to go! Available in pretty much every cleaning product you'll need; they offer kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, anti-bac and more. Not only is their product 100% plastic free, but they are also reducing carbon emissions by not delivering the water to you! In fact, by providing the concentrated form of these cleaning products, one truck of ocean savers can transport the same amount as 12 trucks of your typical brand. That’s a huge reduction in fossil fuel usage, on top of providing a plastic free product.
The pods themselves are made from a water soluble, biodegradable film that completely dissolves in water without generating any micro or nano plastics (these are the really bad bits of plastic that we can’t filter out, and end up polluting our seas and the fish within them). No greenwashing here! So now you might be asking yourself, "how many plastic containers could I save by switching to Ocean Savers?". Let’s say that you use floor cleaner, anti-bac, glass cleaner and a bathroom cleaner, and you swap all of these. Maybe you use 4 bottles of anti-bac a year, 3 bottles of bathroom cleaner and floor cleaner, and 1 glass cleaner. So altogether, your saving 11 bottles a year (that will be recycled once or twice, maybe, before ending up in landfill). Then maybe you tell your friends and family about this super easy swap. Now you’ve converted 5 others, and you’ve helped to save 66 bottles a year. That’s not bad, is it?
Have you seen the beautiful Huski coffee cups in the corner of the Sero shop? They come in a variety of colours (my favourite is pink!) and they’re not just aesthetically pleasing, using a reusable cup can make a huge difference! How often do you grab a takeaway coffee? For someone who purchases a takeaway coffee twice a week, this swap could save 104 single use, non-recyclable coffee cups heading to landfill (while they look like cardboard standard take away coffee cups can not be recycled). Not only is opting for a reusable alternative more sustainable but lots of shops now offer a money off incentive for bringing in your own cup, including Tredegar House’s own Brewhouse! If you get 25p off per visit, that adds up to £26 over the year (which is more than the cost of your reusable coffee cup!)
If you read my post last week about greenwashing, ‘compostable’ coffee cups
are a big culprit. It’s always best to bring your own, and they look better too!
On average women use 22 single use period products each month - that's around 11,000 in a lifetime! If you switch to either a menstrual cup or reusable pads, you would be saving 264 single use pads and tampons heading to landfill each year. Due to the plastic content in these products, they never disappear and are one of the main culprits for plastic pollution globally. This is perhaps unsurprising when you think of the plastic that comes with each of these products, walk through the unwrapping process in your head and count how many pieces of single use plastic are used. It’s quite a lot, isn’t it? And it's not just the plastic, the chemicals compounds associated with single use period products known as dioxins are what are known as POP's (persistent organic pollutants). POP's negatively impact human health and the environment, and as they are persistent (they won't disappear) they travel along currents or by wind and affect huge distances. These are present in some of the most popular UK brands!
So not only is this a good choice for the planet, both in terms of plastic waste
and sustainability, but also a good choice for you. With proper care, both reusable pads and menstrual cups can last for years.
Did you know that every time you wash up, little pieces of microplastic break from the green side of your sponge and down the drain? Where do all drains lead? The ocean! So not only are you unknowingly shedding microplastics but as it’s recommended that you change your sponge from every month to every two weeks (depending on usage) these sponges are regularly heading straight to landfill. Fortunately, these sponges are washable and therefore, reusable! They will last far longer than your regular sponge, and look much nicer too! If you do as they say and switch out your washing up sponge after two weeks, this swap would save you from using 26 sponges a year!
How often do you or your children have crisps with your lunch? 5 days a week? That’s 260 bags a year, per person, plus the big multipack bag they’re packaged in to begin with (that’s an extra 43 pieces of plastic). So that’s 303 single use bags per person, per year. While terracycle is a great idea for the bags already produced, remember that plastic can only be recycled once or twice before ending up back in landfill. Reducing plastic use is the best step we can take! Basically prevention not clean up!
At Sero, we stock the delicious Just Crisps - and when the tub is empty, we return it to them so they can refill it with more crisps! Keep them in an airtight container when you purchase them and they’ll be nice and crunchy for your week of packed lunches. This swap, for a family four (assuming each member has the classic British lunch selection of sandwich, crisps and a piece of fruit) would save 1212 bags from landfill.
These are just five example swaps that you can make to help the planet. Not everybody needs menstrual products, eats crisps at lunchtime or drinks coffee but plenty of people do. If you made all 5 swaps, you alone would save 303 crisp packets, 26 sponges, 264 tampons/pads, 104 coffee cups and 11 cleaning bottles each year. That’s 708 pieces of plastic. So, next time somebody tells you that you’re too small to make a difference, tell them that!