The world is becoming rife with plastic. We are all now all too familiar with images of beautiful animals who are in distress, injured or have died due to the excess waste filling our oceans and landfills.
We are also polluting the planet with so many other toxins from both industry and from our own homes.
I believe we can all make a big difference together, just by making small changes.
Although I have always made a conscious effort to save, re-use and recycle, now I have started making further changes to both my personal life, and with the products I am creating as Ali Chappell-Bates Art.
You can read more about how I package products here, and what you can do to help me reduce plastic packaging.
Changes to my personal life habits.
I'd like to share some of the changes I have made at home!
I am by no means an eco-warrior and have many faults, but I am still proud to share the small changes I have started to make, and hope to make many more. Many solutions to one problem may still result in the use of plastic or other less favourable materials, so it is sometimes difficult to make the best decisions and also be able to afford them financially.
Please note, any photographs of products that follow are just examples. I do not make any endorsements or recommendations, I am simply sharing my personal experiences with you...
I have recently stopped using plastic toothbrushes in exchange for bamboo ones with charcoal-infused bristles. I've seen some very pretty (and tempting) rainbow bristled versions around, but doing some research, I decided that these still contained plastic and so didn't really solve the problem.
I have always saved plastic toothbrushes after they are spent anyway, and re-used them for art projects, or for cleaning those hard to reach areas around the taps!
Whilst on the subject of cleaning, who knows how many pieces of kitchen roll I've used over time. Every time a tiny spill has been made or something needs wiping. I'm not sure when I stopped using fabric cloths and started recklessly using disposable paper towels. I always compost them, but it is still simply a waste.
So, I have switched back to cleaning floor spills and surfaces with cloths and towels, and cleaning them when they are dirty... it's a no-brainer.
However, I do need to replenish my poly-based cloths with plant-based fabric cloths when they are finally spent, and hey, guess what? These blue and white patterned cloths can be recycled with the other plastics! Who would have known?
I decided to invest in a metal Safety Razor. Now they look a bit scary at first, but it saves a fortune in disposables and is relatively easy to use with some quick practice.
I recently read that that much like toothbrushes, disposable razors end up all over the planet and most simply don't break down. I saw a photo on social media of a long-beaked wading bird who had its beak wedged between the twin blades of a disposable razor and had died with it's mouth jammed shut. Heartbreaking.
Actually I think they look pretty good too...
Don't be fooled by all the masculine branding - my one came in a box that said 'for real men' :) The refills cost hardly anything, and are very easy to change.
You may or may not know about these little beauties. I couldn't believe it when I first read about them, and I still can't see why they are not filling the supermarkets. Actually, I can see why... because they would put the washing powder companies out of business.
Just pop this Eco Egg in the washing machine with your clothes, and there is NO NEED TO USE WASHING POWDER ever again! Mind blowing. Shame they are plastic, but they are recyclable and do last for years before needing a replacement.
Another recent photograph that was shared on social media sticks to my mind, of a beautiful seahorse in the sea with it's tail wrapped around a cotton bud (Q-tip). It was so striking to me.
I have found plenty of online sellers with very affordable wooden versions. So that's me switched.
The last example I am showing you are facial washing pads. Every time I have removed makeup from my face I've always used a cotton wool pad and thrown it away.
Now I have these little facial pads, I can cleanse my face about four times (they are a good size) before I throw them in the wash (they take up no room). You can see they have been used a few times now, but they are still going strong...
So... I hope I've inspired you with a few simple ideas and suggestions.
Sometimes it's just a matter of being more aware of the waste that we make every day, and how we can change our habits in order to reduce it.