Image from: wastelessthinking.com
For the purpose of this article we’re going to assume that you are a nice human being and recycle the things that you can. Hopefully you at least attempt to be conscious of what you use and what how you dispose of it.
At this point, it’s fair to assume that everyone knows how, as a race, humans are heavily polluting this planet. Plastic pollution in the ocean, especially in the ocean, is getting to a point of no return. It follows on from some kind of, out of sight, out of mind rule. If we can’t see it from our nice sea view window, then does it really exist? Yes. The answer is yes. But everyone likes to play pretend, especially with an issue that feels like it’s too huge to tackle. If you haven’t heard of garbage island, you must look and see for yourself. Animals are getting caught up in our mess, quite literally, and many of them are paying the ultimate price. But is this just the beginning? We should be looking at the wider picture, and and the little things we can do to help this international disaster, that everyone, including myself sometimes, like to forget is happening.
Image from: quora.com
Plastic bottle recycling, along with paper and all the others, has received more and more attention in the media over recent years due to the fact that people are becoming more and more aware of the impact our recycling habits are having on the earth we live on. Plastic’s, in particular, are a huge problem.
Here are some stats to think about from recycling-guide.org:
- 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.
- On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish.
- As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted.
- If all cans in the UK were recycled, we would need 14 million fewer dustbins.
- £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year.
- A glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again.
- A glass that is thrown away and ends up in landfills will never decompose.
- 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK, that’s about 15 million bottles per day.
- The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing about 4% each year.
- Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
That last one is something that really sticks with me. How many of us can really conceive of how long 500 years is? To try and help wrap your head around that, 500 years ago Henry VIII was in charge, happily beheading his wives; Michael Angelo was likely creating some of his beautiful paintings.(onthisday.com) That feels like a REALLY long time ago, and yet every day we use plastics that will exist on this earth so much longer than I will, and that’s even while we are doing our best to avoid them!
Plastics are literally everywhere you go, and it’s almost as difficult as being vegan to try and avoid them, especially if you’re on a budget. In recent months/years, there has been a huge improvement in companies that offer products without plastic, that are naturally and organically sourced and come guilt free…until it comes to opening your wallet! According to ‘The Zero Waster’ there are a number of zero waste supermarkets opening this year, especially in the bigger cities. This is brilliant because they wouldn’t be popping up if there wasn’t a demand for it, but it is just so inexplicable that this even has to be a new trend. Why can’t we expect our supermarkets to have a low plastics policy?
We all go for a weekly shop, so next time you’re wondering around trying not to think about how hungry you are, try to count how many items are being sold without some kind of plastic wrap. Cardboard boxes come with plastic bags inside, cans of soup come wrapped in plastic so we know we can buy four at a time, vegetables come in plastic bags, or if they are displayed loosely, they are more expensive and you are offered a plastic bag to take them to the till, where you are offered another plastic bag to take them home in. It is just so excessive.
Image from: mysupermarkets.co.uk
Food, however, is not the worst of the lot. When I order things from Asos, for example, I receive a plastic bag, with each of my items subsequently wrapped in plastic bags. This plastic is not recycled, or recyclable. It just goes into my bin, destined to sit on this earth for years after I have left it. All I wanted was a nice skirt that would go with my shoes! Even things like face wash are becoming deadly for our oceans. Micro-beads began to be used a lot in exfoliating face washers because they’re great for the job. However, companies didn’t realise that these little tiny beads would cause the deaths of thousands of fish because they get caught in their gills and they can’t ‘breathe’. Either they didn’t know, or they did but they chose to ignore it in favour of a putting a new product on the market. Thousands upon thousands of people use face scrubs that have been designed with micro-beads inside,.Yet there have been products which use rice in the same capacity as the micro-beads, and these biodegrade when you wash them down your sink.
Image from: animalsautralia.org
The UK and the US are nowhere near where they should be in terms of recycling, which was discussed in my Trump themed post. Some countries in northern Europe are even importing waste from other countries to keep their recycling plants open. Yet in the UK, people complain that is too difficult. And our government doesn’t even seem to be that concerned about it. Theresa May has been repeatedly criticised for her lack of interest in environmental issues, and although it is typical of a conservative party member to be disinterested in making a more green government, Urgos believes that these issues are supranational. That is to say that they sit above national/domestic politics and require a better understanding of the bigger picture. Up until recently, the UK has been sending its plastic bottles and other plastic recyclables to China to be disposed of there, but now China has said that we have sent too much and have out a ban on millions of tonnes of plastic waste. (theguardian.com) This is going to have a huge impact on how we process our recycling, and will probably end in a lot of that material being poured into a landfill where it will sit until forever, or pretty close anyway, which was discussed in my article about Trump and the environment.
Image from: joc.com
It is because of this that Ürgos feels it’s extremely important for smaller companies to start the ball rolling and do their best to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We have already spoken about how Ürgos has created a kettle that is as economical with water and electricity as possible. Yet, we are still trying to do more. We are still in the design phase of our company and is seriously exploring the possibility of creating the kettle from recycled plastic.
At this stage, we can’t make any promises on this front because we don’t know how feasible it will be for us. It will depend on what the product looks like once we have our prototype, and we can decide what our product needs to be sustainable and still provide the best customer experience possible.
We are still in the design phase of our product, but we believe in it and hopefully you will believe in it too. If you ant to follow how we develop subscribe to our newsletter!