I think many of us shed a happy tear along with Mother Nature on 9th January as the government (finally) announced the ban on the manufacturing of micro beads. For anyone that has absolutely no idea what I am talking about, microbeads are the tiny bits of plastic that are added to some toothpaste, face washes, body scrubs and exfoliators.
These seemingly harmless looking beads, wash down the plughole and eventually enter the Ocean, causing great harm to wildlife. For those of us that eat fish, they eventually end up in our food chain too. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic enter the Ocean every year and clog up these beautiful underwater worlds, that are the habitat for thousands and thousands of plants and wildlife.
Greenpeace has worked incredibly hard on this campaign, but it doesn’t just stop at microbeads. Plastic is all around us, the use of straws in coffee houses, fast food shops and attached to children’s drinks is just the tip of and ever increasing iceberg.
But what can we do about it? Well, as the mother of a ten year old that is obsessed with The Blue Planet and nature programmes, that has turned vegetarian (like me) because of his passion for animal welfare, that moves worm’s from the pavement to the grass on the way to school and picks up other peoples litter, I have to nurture that passion for a better world that is within him. This is our children’s world, their children’s world and we HAVE to do what we can to make it the best that we can. Sad pictures of turtles in the sea with plastic can holders around their neck and straws attached to their noses are becoming all too frequent. How many times have you visited a beach and seen plastic bottles bobbing up and down in the sea? We have to make a change.
Thankfully, many cosmetics companies have already made the change to more natural forms of exfoliates such as the use of sugars, nut shells and salt, but there is so much more that we can do. Costa Coffee has recently announced that as part of their ongoing commitment to reducing waste they are removing plastic straws from their stores and launching a non-plastic alternative later this year, which is incredible. Supermarket Iceland has also taken the step to remove plastic straws from all its own label products and by 2023 will have removed all plastic packaging from all its own brand products and switch to pulp trays and paper bags. At home we can use re-usable straws, we can purchase travel coffee cups that we can get refilled in our local coffee shop, we can stop using plastic carrier bags and start using paper or canvas ones. We can recycle, we can reduce packaging, we can take a moment to think about all the unnecessary plastics and packaging we use and take the simple steps to do our bit.
We only have one world and wouldn’t it be amazing if we could make it a better place? Make the change, don’t leave it to others to do, recycling is a simple and easy thing that all of use can do every single day, soon it will become a habit and before you know it, the world will be a brighter place. If we don’t make these changes now, what legacy are we leaving our children?
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject, please leave me a comment below.