SUSTAINABLE SWAPS: DO YOUR BIT FOR OUR PLANET
Less than a fifth of plastic gets recycled globally. There’s no doubt about it, we all need to do something before plastic really does ruin our incredible planet. Some will argue that it’s too late to make a change, but we can’t just assume that’s the case, without at least trying.
We’ve got to a stage where we rely on plastic, but we need to make some sustainable swaps. It’s become something that we mindlessly pick up in a supermarket to hold our food and drinks, going to coffee shops, picking up a new straw with every drink on a night out and so on. These are the things that with just a little more attention and care we can stop. In the most recent National Geographic magazine, an article said “Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by it. Some are harmed visibly—strangled by abandoned fishing nets or discarded six-pack rings. Many more are probably harmed invisibly.” Unlike climate change, the problem with ocean plastic is less complicated, as we know what the cause is. It’s us. HUMANS. This is something we CAN do something about.
A lot of the sustainable swaps list below will focus on plastic, but some will venture outside or that zone, listing some of my favourite retailers for ethically friendly and sustainable fashion.
THE MORNING PICK-ME-UP
My Keep Cup has to be one of the best gifts Rob ever bought me. I use it every day that I go to London for my morning matcha latte and an evening cup of tea. There are lots of other brands doing similar things, but I’m a big fan of the Keep Cup. It looks chic, it doesn’t leak and they come in different sizes to suit what you’re after.
Not only does a reusable water bottle save you lots of money and if you buy a good one it’ll keep your water cool, but it’s also saving our planet! I use S’well water bottles, which you can buy here in lot’s of fancy designs.
Straws are one of the biggest issues, especially over in the states. Firstly, let’s face it, unlike keeping hydrated with water, there isn’t ever a time where you HAVE to use a straw. But I get it, we like straws. They make the drink feel more fun. If you’re going to use one, use a bamboo, glass metal or rubber alternative. These glass ones from Halm are pretty fancy, and I love these bamboo ones from Bamboo Roots.
ONE FOR THE LADIES
It’s time we make some changes to the way we deal with our periods, and these sustainable swaps are here to help. Think of all the plastic around tampons, not to mention all of the other materials being used for something that is thrown straight into landfill. It’s awesome to see so many reusable cups on the market now. I’ve been using the lily cup, which works really well for me, but Moon Cup are supposed to be great too. Also, there are now such things as reusable period pants… and they actually look great! Head over to SheThinx to find out more.
SUPPORT CONSCIOUS FASHION
Ethical and sustainable fashion is everywhere now… if you’re willing to look for it. The fashion market is so saturated with cheap brands that it’s hard to see anything else. I’m not perfect when it comes to this. Though you won’t get me shopping at the likes of Primark, I do still shop in high stores like Zara and H&M. I’m starting to do my bit more and more when it comes to my fashion choices though. With H&M leading the way on the high street, promising to use 100% recycled and sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and so many other brands doing their bit, I really think that if we start to consume in a more educated way, we can make a big shift in the industry. Here are some of my favourite brands:
FAE Swim – For bikinis
WeAreNativ – For swimwear
Reformation – For on-trend dresses and co-ords
Reve En Vert – For sustainable luxury fashion
Matt & Nat – For bags
Wild Wood – For sunnies
Wholesome Culture – For cute slogan tees
H&M – For their conscious collection
Girlfriend Collective – For activewear
People Tree – For cute tees
Vintage and second hand goods are not only unique, but once again they have the feel good factor, as you’re recycling someone else’s pre-loved items. There’s an awesome shop where I live in Stamford called Arch Label Agency, who sell pre-loved designer clothes and it’s full of amazing bargains!
Try switching to a bamboo toothbrush or an electric toothbrush that will last you a lot longer. You can find bamboo toothbrushes via We Are Bristle.
MAKE UP REMOVER & CLEANSING
One of my favourite recent sustainable swaps! Rather than using single-use face wipes, most of which contain plastic, try using a cleanser or make up remover with a muslin cloth. Two great ones that I use are The Body Shop’s Chamomile Cleansing Butter and Neal’s Yard Frankincense cleanser.
MICROFIBRES FROM WASHING
A lot of plastic pollution comes from things that we don’t even think about, like all of the microfibres that come out of our clothes ever time we wash them. Buy yourself a Guppyfriend, was your clothes in it and once you’ve taken your clothes out of the bag, remove the left over fibres and dispose of them into the recycling.
This is still something that so many people either don’t do at all, or just don’t do properly. I think in the UK we need a law where you get fined for not recycling properly. A few simple things are to check the packaging before buying something in plastic to check it can be recycled and to wash out any food containers before recycling them. Not all areas of the UK have separate bins for different recycled materials, but most towns will have a recycling bank nearby, so you can dispose of anything there.
THE OCEAN CLEAN UP
The Ocean Clean Up was founded by a Dutch 18 year old in his home town in 2013. It now has 70+ people working on new technologies to help clean up our oceans. Of course non-profit organizations like this require funding and the help of people like you and I. Even if it’s just a little, you can donate here.
And why not do your own beach clean up. Next time your on holiday, spend an hour or two walking along the beach (which will be dreamy anyway), but with the added feel-good-factor of picking up any litter that you see on your way.
If you have some more suggestions as to how Imperfect Matter readers can make sustainable swaps, please do comment below. All I ask is that we keep it friendly. I know there are many passionate people out there, which is amazing, so let’s put that passion to good use.
Love, Cat x
All images courtesy of Rosie Ann Butcher.