For this post I got inspired by my girl friend who discovered a lot of interesting things while having a little walk in our neighbourhood. She likes to go down to the Thames river bank enjoys the views over London, fresh air and the sound of the waves. However, on this occasion she made some shocking pictures of stranded rubbish that was swept onto the little bank we have only 2 minutes next to our home. I was surprised to see so much stuff. I know that the Thames is not the cleanest river of all and you can usually see that the water is not really clean, but the amount of plastic and rubbish in this river is just ridiculous. I think the pictures say it all.
By the way the red basked on the left was not even damaged and we have now in our storage cupboard.
What does a coconut have to do in the Thames?
This little duck seems to have escaped the bathtub and was looking for a bigger adventures.
The most concerning thing for me is that all the plastic rubbish will be swept out onto the sea and over many, many years will make its way into our food chain and will ultimately end up in our bodies. Therefore, we decided to go down to the river bank again on our next day off and collect all this rubbish and put it where it belongs – in the bin. Anyone joining?
The year is already in full progress. New Years resolutions are still on the way, but there is still so much more to be done. While thinking about the year ahead and this blog growing bigger every day, my thoughts came across again on some environmental issues that I would like to share with you. It actually all started with seeing the food waste bin being put into a Tesco plastic bag in my flatshare. This is really something I don’t understand and shows me that people either don’t know how to recycle or they simply don’t care. But maybe it is a bit of both.
This brings me tot he point that I would like to help share my thoughts on these things with other and maybe inspire the one or the other to change at least one habit into something more eco-friendly, sustainable and healthier. As I anyway have to go shopping today, I would like to note down some tips and tricks on how to make shopping or more precise food shopping a little bit more environmental friendly while not loosing out on all the fun – it really depends if food shopping is fun for you, but it really can be!
1. Try to walk, cycle or use public transport when going shopping as it saves a lot of carbon dioxide and at the end it is healthier.
gone shopping by Denis Kudryashov
2. As you know you are going shopping, think ahead and take some cotton or other reusable bags with you, so that you can leave the plastic bags in the shop. It makes a big difference to the environment, but it only means a small change for you. By the way, most non-plastic carrier bags are much more comfortable for the hands than it’s plastic counterpart.
bag by Andrew Kulemin
3. When buying fresh food, start buying local produce. Most fresh foods these days have the country of origin on the packaging. This is a great help to reduce the carbon food print of your food and will give you more nutritious food as it probably has not travelled as long as imported produce. Additionally, it helps your local economy and supports farmers in your own country.
4. Buy as many fresh product from the organic range you will find in most supermarkets these days. It is proven that this produce is much healthier and can have more nutrients. Yes, it comes with a bigger price tag, but at the end it is our health were are playing with and is a longer life not much more worth than a few pounds here and there.
Organic Produce by Paula Thomas
5. Buy as many products as possible in environmental packaging. This means less plastic and more paper or glass. Glass is the only packaging material that can be reused and recycled without loosing any of it’s unique characteristics. It also does not leak any unwanted chemicals into your food and drink. Many foods are available in glass, but might be on the lower or high shelves in the supermarket. If you cannot find it just asked a shop assistant for the glass packaged option.
6. Leave unwanted packaging in the shop, so you don’t have to throw it away at home and this will assist in making the shops look at their packaging. Imagine every customer would leave only one item of packaging in the shop when buying something – the cost for the disposal for the shops would rise tremendously and they would find better ways to reduce the waste. The consumer has the power.
Do not litter by Neilstha Firman
7. Stop buying bottled water, especially when it is in plastic. Did you know that bottled water is up to 1900% more expensive than tap water? This is a great cost saver! And, by the way it is a proven fact that plastic bottled water leaks chemicals into your water that can harm your body in the long term. Therefore, look for alternatives. If you do not like the taste or odour of your tap water buy a good water filter system that will get you the best and healthiest water you can drink. For more info on bottled water, see my previous post: Are you still drinking plastic bottled water?
Electric blue bottle by Adrian Rayfield
I hope you found this post inspiring and maybe change one little thing on your next shopping tour. I am off to the shop now!
Here we go! After an absence of about 9 days from blogging due to life happening, I finally managed to write my next blog post. I am really behind with my 365 project, but I will catch up during my holidays in October when I will be off to Germany for 2 weeks and can spend all the time I want for blogging and other things that sometimes don’t fit into a busy schedule.
It was a great day and it was just great to be out with my baby and discover some new areas that I did not manage to see in the past 6 years in London. After some extensive shop hopping we were looking to get a bottle of water as a refreshment and went into Marks & Spencer. In my opinion, Marks & Spencer stands for the more environmental kind of super market with a lot of good ideas to minimise the impact on the environment. However, it was very difficult to find some glass bottled water. We found all kinds of plastic bottled water from all different brands, but nothing really bottled in glass. We asked a very friendly customer service agent who gave us a really astonishing look when we were asking for water in glass bottles. But he managed to find us the only water in a glass bottle that was in the lower corner of the last row on the bottom shelve, which was San Pellegrino.
To my shock it was the only glass bottles water. I was really under the impression that are more companies that still fill their beverages into glass bottles. Having been glad to find at least one brand of mineral water in a glass bottle, we enjoyed the healthy refreshing water and continued our walk.
However, the next challenge was coming up on the horizon. Recycling. It took us several streets to find a recycling bin that would take glass bottles. We did not really want to use any available bin. Anyway, there are not many bins around in London when you compare it some other major metropolis in Europe, but there is a relatively small amount of recycling bins in London as well. Still much to do when we really want to make a difference.
I really hope that in future we will have more people asking for glass bottles water and make retailers change their product offer, because at the end we as customers have a great power with our buying decisions.
I will also have a look in a German supermarket when I am back home and will try the same thing, os watch this space for a comparison!
Over the past month, I developed an interest for the challenges that are surrounding the big subject of water. Inspired by the documentary movie Tapped that not only shows some very astonishing facts about tap water, but also gives you an inside into the industry that stands behind plastic bottled water and their practises in the US.
Tapped is a movie that really made me think, especially when they show you that some of the plastic containers used to store water can leak chemicals into the water that we are drinking. Most of the research until 2009, the year the movie was shot, only focused on plastics containing the chemical bisphenol-a (BPA). These were found to leak substances into the drinking water and the water industry would not even take these plastic containers off the market.
However, PET bottles that are most commonly used for bottled water seemed to be safe and no health concern. This might have changed as a recent study at the University Frankfurt in Germany shows:
They discovered estrogen active substances in most plastic bottled waters, but not in glass bottled waters. These substances might have a negative impact on sperm quality and quantity, interruption of fat metabolism, increased appearance of diabetes 1 and 2 as well as increased risk of cancer. However, more research will be needed to establish which compounds in the plastic are leaking. Unfortunately, the manufacturers are not contributing at the moment and the compounds of the plastic bottles are still an industry secret.
This all adds up to the already bad press about plastic bottles and their carbon footprint. Here are some sites you might want to check out about it:
Overall, this was quiet an eye opener for me and I will certainly try to avoid plastic bottled water, change to glass bottled water if on the road or just use reusable bottles and fill up from the tap. Please check out friendsofglass for more info why glass is a great alternative to plastic. Additionally, you can find some interesting examples of reusable bottles here:
I am sure you can find an alternative that suits your needs. Watch this space for info on tap water….coming soon!