“The ocean is the largest ecosystem on Earth, and it is the planet’s life support system” – Marine Conservation Institute. It too is under threat from overuse and misuse by human activity. Current negotiations s at the UN are trying to agree a treaty that would protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 – although it looks as if financial interests in making further profits from the oceans will water down any agreement.
According to UNESCO, plastic waste makes up 80% of all marine pollution and around 8 to 10 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year – and in the last 10 years we have produced more plastic than in the last century! Cutting back on the plastic we use, and ideally aiming for zero plastic, we can be part of the solution.
Another recycled Counting Down action : Go out for a vegan picnic. Sandwiches are the basis of a picnic and most bread is vegan. Vegan options for spreads include plant based butter/ pesto/ mayonnaise/ tapenade/mustard. Add fillings such as vegan cheese (nut-based cheeses are good for protein), hummus, mushroom pate. Add slices of vegetable such as red pepper, radishes, grilled aubergine or courgette, nasturtium leaves, cress or rocket or add chutney/relish. Or try a banana hot dog roll? Pack sandwiches in greaseproof paper or fabric wraps. Pack fruit and pieces of vegetables that can be eaten with fingers and again see if you can avoid plastic packaging. Fill flasks with either hot or cold drinks. Pack some vegan cakes – rock buns, muffins etc – or a bar of chocolate to finish.
If we are inspired to sign petitions, such as the Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty, call for an end to the use of fossil fuels, then we must be willing in our daily lives to cut back – and ultimately cut out – reliance on fossil fuels. We need to be reducing our gas consumption, our use of petrol, not flying, not buying things made of or wrapped in plastic. We must walk the talk.
You see it in some cafés – for a cool drink, fill a jug with water and add strips of cucumber/ slices of lemon or orange/ sprigs of mint/ slices of root ginger/ even melon rinds. Keep the jug in the fridge – it will stand a few refills before the additions loose their flavour. (No sugar, and no bottles to recycle).
The bins at St Margaret’s fair contrasted with the bins on Sheen Common, our local green space. These were overflowing with discarded picnic waste – plastic wrappers, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, plastic bags. Some items could have been taken home and recycled. Better still is to make picnics that involve no waste – sandwiches wrapped in beeswax clothes or packed in lunch boxes. Water or squash in refill bottles. Fruit loose in a cotton bag. Slices of cake and biscuits packed in a tin.
Small plastic packets for crisps and individually wrapped biscuits, sweets and ice creams and many other snacks proliferate and can often be seen as wind blown litter. Why not use the impetus of Plastic Free July to make a break and stop buying these products. Look for chocolate bars wrapped in paper and freshly served ice creams in cones. Prepare snacks in advance putting dried fruits and biscuits into reusable containers. Take a banana – they come with inbuilt packaging!
Zero waste and plastic free are two main objectives in our daily living so I am really pleased to,find that. The RSPB’s fatty nibbles for birds now comes in all paper rather than plastic packing! Card and paper I will recycle with an easier conscience than plastics. And by buying the largest size I am minimising the total packaging footprint.
Having just used the last of some sticky tape, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you can now by zero plastic Sellotape which is made from cellulose film and naturally based glue. The cellulose film is derived from wood pulp, sourced from PEFC certified sustainable forests. The tape and its packaging is biodegradable and can be composted or recycled with paper items.