Today is World Oceans Day, and thanks to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, (if you haven’t watched it, where the hell have you been?) most of you are aware of the devastating effect plastic has had on our oceans and marine life.
A lorry full of the stuff is dumped in the sea every minute, where it can end up anywhere in the world. This means killing baby turtles, choking whales and even getting consumed by the fish we will then eat! Yuck!
HOWEVER, it’s not all doom and gloom with regard to plastic, and without looking too hard I’ve got together five different initiatives that are standing up in the hope that others will follow suit, and tackle this plasticky problem!
1 Bagelman’s biodegradable coffee cups
Did you know that even when you recycle a cardboard coffee cup, it usually just gets sent to landfill, or dumped in the ocean? This is due to the fact it is lined with a plastic substance called polyacetylene, which is difficult and time consuming to separate from the cardboard.
Bagelman, a Brighton and Hove based group of bagel cafes, has come up with a plant based solution to this problem. Their cups are made with a PLA that makes the cup 100% biodegradable. In just 12 weeks the cup will be composted compared to the 30 years of its plastic counterpart.
Anthony Prior, Bagelman’s CEO explains, “Coffee is a major part of the business. All our coffee beans are ethical and better than fair trade as they are sourced directly from the farmers who get a better return on their hard work. This helps them to cope with the many challenges they face, including the effects of climate change. It made sense for us to complete the circle by serving ethical coffee in ethical cups. So that’s what we’ve done.”
In addition to making their cups biodegradable, they offer a discount for bringing your own cup. Hats off to Bagelman in tackling plastic, hopefully more companies will follow the initiative.
2 Ovingdean’s Plastic Free Coastline Award
The UK based marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage have launched a campaign to encourage communities to reduce the use of single-use plastics and provide greener alternatives and reduce plastic pollution. Ovingdean is fully committed to the campaign, and has joined in to fight against plastic pollution, and hope to win the Plastic Free Coastline Award.
Jess Bavinton, Ovingdean’s Plastic Free leader encourages other communities to try and become plastic free by making small changes. “Such changes could be as small as cutting out plastic straws, replacing disposable containers with reusable or compostable ones, or even becoming a water bottle refill station for passing walkers and cyclists,” she says.
Ovingdean is even throwing its own green festival to shed light on plastic pollution and how to tackle it in a day of fun. There will be food, music, stalls and they will be joined by the likes of RSPB, Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Brighton Bee Society, so get yourself down to Ovingdean on Saturday 23rd of June and educate yourself on plastic!
3 Michelle’s Gorgeous Wraps – a single use plastic alternative
West Sussex based Michelle Woodhouse became sick and tired of seeing how much cling film and single use plastic she was throwing away every week, so she decided to make a waxy alternative.
Michelle’s Beeswax Food Wraps can be used to wrap around nearly all food (aside from raw meat and pineapple) to keep fresh in the fridge or packed lunches. The wraps come in all manner of shapes and patterns and are coated in wax from a local West Sussex bee keeper.
Not only can they be used over and over again if cared for properly, they’re an excellent alternative to single use plastic that’s choking our oceans, and frankly, we’re buzzing about it!
4 Brighton’s Pret a Manger selected to trial bottle return
Pret wants to trial a bottle deposit return scheme, and what better place to do it than Brighton? In his blog, Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee said: “We’ve chosen Brighton because we have three busy shops there and we know the local people are highly attuned to the environment. If it is successful we could extend the scheme across the country during the autumn of 2018.”
The company will add 10p on to the price of every plastic bottle, which you will get back if you return it. Clive said that if it was successful the scheme could be rolled out across the country in the autumn. “The aim is to understand how many bottles are returned and to see if it encourages more customers to opt for a reusable bottle.” Go Brighton!
5 Brighton Dolphin Project
How exciting has it been to see dolphins off our coast?! But did you know that The Brighton Dolphin Project aims to inspire and engage the local community to learn about the incredible marine wildlife off the Sussex coast, and the measures we can take to protect it.
Given the fact there is a mass of plastic three times the size on France in the Pacific Ocean, it’s great to be reminded that stopping the plastic madness will help the marine life too.
There are many things you can do to help too, support the businesses and movements above, or sign up to a beach clean near you on HERE.
ALSO – GO NISSAN
Inspired by the hard work of Beach Guardian in Cornwall, where Nissan vehicles were used to drag really tough stuff out of the sea and sand, Nissan is now inviting teams across Europe to nominate hard to reach places that need clearing. If you want to highlight an area you know that needs clearing of plastic: use the free ‘What3Words’ photo app to send an image of the beach plastic they’ve found along with its precise location to Nissan GB at firstname.lastname@example.org. This allows them to GPS track the location and reach those tough places!
Happy World Oceans Day, and remember:
“We don’t inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”