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10 Easy Steps to Cutting Your Plastic Waste this Summer

10 Easy Steps to Cutting Your Plastic Waste this Summer
12 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year and only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled (Friendsoftheearth.uk). 
 
Blue Planet II recently highlighted the terrible effect this is having on our oceans and the marine life which inhabits them. New statistics are also emerging all the time that underline the severity of the problem that plastic poses to the earth and the issue has been propelled into the mainstream media spotlight giving it much needed awareness. 
 

Are you aware just how much plastic you use on a daily basis? 

Plastic gets everywhere. Despite the damage current levels are doing to the environment, oceans and even food chains, global investment in plastic production is set to increase by $180bn in the next 10 years. This is why it's so important that we, as consumers, all do our best to reduce our own plastic use to decrease the demand for production. 
 
We've reached out to some of the most awesome plastic-free campaigners across the globe to help us put together 10 easy steps to reduce your plastic use in Summer 2018. 
 
Here's the list of 10 steps you can take to you can win your own fight against plastic and do your bit to preserve the planet this summer:
 

1. Ditch Plastic Straws

Straws - Alkaline Water Filter
 
Summer is prime straw season. Smoothies, milkshakes, cocktails - consumption of all of these peaks in the sunshine. The only drawback about these tasty drinks is that they all come with a straw.
 
Plastic straws are made from polypropylene and polystyrene which means that, unless they are recycled, they take hundreds of years to decompose.
 
Fortunately, many organisations have already took the step of banning plastic straws or placing them behind the counter. 
 
The use of metal straws is also on the rise which is encouraging and innovative products like FinalStraw are sure to see plastic straw use plummet! 
 

2. Re-Think Cotton Buds

Cotton Buds - Alkaline Water Filter
 
You might use them everyday when come out of the shower to clean your ears, but do you just throw them straight in the bin? Or even worse flush them down the toilet?! The seemingly innocuous cotton bud, is causing long term and sometimes fatal damage to marine life after it's been flushed away. 
 
Plastic cotton buds are the number one item of plastic, sewage-related debris found on our beaches and rivers, according to the 2016 Marine Conservation Society's Great British Beach Clean.
 
Such is the extent of the problem that Scotland has recently announced plans to become the first country in the UK to ban plastic cotton bud production. Some brands like Johnson & Johnson have already stopped producing buds with plastic handles. 
 
Opt for paper alternatives. 
 

3. Get a Reusable Coffee Cup

Coffee Cup - Filtered Water

Paper cups? Yes, those takeaway cups you ask for in your favourite coffee shop are only paper on the outer layer. They're plastic on the inside. You might be familiar with this given it's recent exposure on the news due to Government discussions about introducing a 25p levy on their use. 
 
In the UK, we throw away 2.5bn coffee cups every year - enough to circle the world 5 times! Almost none are recycled and 500,000 end up as litter on our streets every day. 
 
Purchase a reusable coffee cup and carry it with you. Pret A Manger will give you a 50p discount for bringing your own cup!
 

4. Check Your Teabags

Teabags & Alkaline Water 
I bet when you clicked this article you didn't expect to find out that even your cuppa doesn't escape the plastic epidemic. When we say plastic gets everywhere, we mean everywhere. Hidden in the most unexpected places, like teabags. 
 
Some of the largest tea brands in the UK use polypropylene, a sealing plastic, to fasten their bags together. Which means many of the 60 billion cups of tea enjoyed every year in the UK incur needless plastic use. 
 
This is also has an area that has been exposed in the media recently, which led PG Tips to announce they will stop using sealing plastic and replace it with a biodegradable alternative. 
 
For alternatives, source eco-friendly brands - not Tetley & Twinings!
 

5. Change your Toothbrush

Toothbrush - alkaline water filter
 
It is recommended that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
 
While the bristles may fray, the plastic will be perfectly fine and yet it will end up in waste bin anyway. Think about how many toothbrushes are thrown away every year.
 
In the US, it is estimated somewhere between 850 million-1 billion toothbrushes are used per year. 
 
Alternatives: Bamboo or charcoal toothbrushes should do the trick!
 

6. Ditch Single-Use Bottles - for good!

Plastic Bottles Alkaline Water Filter
 
This is the big one. The scourge of the current plastic crisis, ruining oceans, beaches and landscapes across the globe - single use plastic bottles have got to go! 76% of the UK Population drank bottled water in 2017 (Mintel), that highlights the scale of plastic bottle use in the UK - and that's only for water! 
 
Amanda Keetley, Director of Less Plastic considers plastic bottles as the biggest culprit in plastic waste today: 
"If I was to prioritise exactly which item has the biggest impact, it would be ditching plastic bottles from your life. Bottles, fragments of bottles and lids are the items we find most frequently on beaches near our home, and in this country it is one of the most pointless plastics because tap water or filtered water is so readily available."
Take the convenience out of plastic bottled water today by getting yourself a durable, reusable water bottle that will make it easy for you to stay hydrated on the go without the need for single-use bottles. 
 

7. Chew Over Your Gum 

Gum - Alkaline Water
 
This one might come as a little surprise to some of you, but yes, even chewing gum has plastic in it.
 
Almost all brands of chewing gum are made with polyvinyl acetate (a type of plastic). If the label lists “gum base” as an ingredient, it may contain “petroleum, lanolin, glycerin, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate, petroleum wax, stearic acid, or latex,” according to the Vegetarian Resource Group
 
Alternatives: Natural chewing gum brands like Xylichew, Spry Gym and Green Tree Gum. 
 

8. Avoid Plastic Bottled Hand Soap 

HandSoap - Alkaline Water Filter
 
It seems like dispensable hand soap is the fashionable way to wash your hands these days. For many intents and purposes it is, cool scents and no need for the share the germs that gather on bars of soap right? Well, not really.
 
While it may be necessary in public toilets, it's not exactly a necessity in our bathrooms at home. This is the perfect example of a product that is causing us to needlessly consume disposable plastic.
 
In 2017, more than 269 million Americans used liquid hand soap. Think about all those plastic bottles. 
 
For the germaphobes among you, a bar of soap can always be rinsed with warm water whereas the push button on a liquid soap bottle, not so easy. 
 
Alternatives: Eco-friendly bar soaps. 
 

9. Buy Loose Fruit & Veg

Summer is also the season for lots of fresh fruit, but if we're not careful we can easily accumulate needless plastic waste every time we top up the fruit bowl. 

This is a very simple step but one that can often be easily overlooked. How often do you buy fruit and veg that is wrapped in clear plastic bags? 

Nutritionist Nichola Ludlam-Raine ranks this in her list of 5 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use: 

Bananas are a classic example; buy them loose and you immediately cut down on the plastic that you take home with you. 

10. Carry a Reusable Bag

Bag Water filter

Since the 5p charge for single use plastic bags came into place across the UK, usage has dropped by 85% in some places. Some places have even stopped offering single use bags as an option too.

However, it can still be easy to find yourself in a shop buying more items than you can handle. That's why it's a great idea to fold up a reusable bag and carry it with you every day, that way you'll never have to buy a plastic bag... or worry about dropping half of your things on the way home! 

 

 

 

 
 

The 24,520 Chemicals Inside Your Plastic Bottle

The 24,520 Chemicals Inside Your Plastic Bottle

Take a look around wherever you are right now and you're likely to see a plastic bottle. Consumption of plastic bottles is soaring. The variety of waters, never mind drinks in general, is exhaustive. Aside from a smartphone, the next most likely item to find in someone's hand as they navigate through their day - in the office, on the train or in the gym - is a plastic bottle.

Plastic generally comes in seven forms and you may be familiar with the number system that appears on bottles.

1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): This is the most common form of plastic used to produce single-use drinks bottles.

2 - High Density Polythylene (HDPE): HDPE is what plastic bags and shampoo bottles are made of.

3 - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Most typically used for clear take-out food containers and cling film.

4 - Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE):  Present in things like hot beverage cups and film applications in bags

5 - Polypropylene (PP) - found in food containers like ketchup, yogurt etc.

6 - Polystyrene (PS) - Most commonly found in egg cartons, disposable cups and bike helmets

7 - Other (O) - A general catch-all category for other forms of plastic

What's the Problem?

The problem with plastic is that it's full of chemicals. While these chemicals are necessary for production, they can leach into the contents which are held within the plastic. And if you're refilling your bottle with water to keep you hydrated throughout the day, chemicals and bacteria can gather. This is what causes that nasty odour to emanate from your bottle...

via GIPHY We've All Been There

German researchers uncovered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a study of 18 bottled water brands that could affect development and reproduction. EDC's are man-made compounds that interfere with hormone signaling and can have an adverse impact on human health. In this study, researchers at Goethe University in Frankfurt found an incredible 24,520 suspect chemicals inside these 18 bottled water brands.

The primary concerns from the findings are the presence of antiestrogens and antiandrogens. These were found in the majority of bottled water products, and interfere with the production of estrogen and testosterone respectively, hence why they can have an impact on development and reproduction.

What is BPA and Why Is It So Bad?

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has become renowned as the plastic chemical that everyone must avoid. Bottles which are made with BPA were part of a study conducted by Treadmill Reviews, who tested water bottles after each was used by an athlete for one week. The highest number of bacteria found within the bottles after one week of use was over 900,000 colony forming units per square cm. Now, I know that might not mean a lot to us non-scientists but to give it some perspective, that is more bacteria than the average toilet seat! 

BPA's negative reputation is exacerbated by links to chronic disease and cancer. According to the Environment Research & Policy Centre, which reviewed 130 studies on the topic, BPA has been linked to breast and uterine cancer, as well as increased risk of miscarriage and decreased testosterone levels. 

The Bottom Line... 

The list of reasons not to use plastic bottles is nearly as long as the list of chemicals inside of them... Ok, maybe not but there's a few. Consistent use of plastic bottles is needlessly expensive both financially and environmentally. Not only that, but the list of chemicals and risk of bacteria growth make it an unwise choice in health terms as well. The best choice from a health, financial and environmental perspective is to ditch the plastic bottles for a safer, more durable reusable bottle and use a water filter to access the quality of drinking water you deserve. 

via GIPHY

The Plastic Crisis: Solutions

The Plastic Crisis: Solutions

In January, we posted a blog update on The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water, which looked at the growth of the market for bottled water in recent years and its implications for the planet. In just 9 months, the extent of the environmental ramifications is becoming an increasing concern with new statistics being published on a regular basis which highlight a wider plastic crisis that extends beyond single-use bottles alone.

New Statistics

Environmental campaigners have recently forecast that the plastic crisis should now be considered as serious a threat as climate change. The Guardian have also recently published new research on the severity of plastic bottle consumption which further underlines concerning levels of growth. Around 480 billion plastic bottles were bought across the globe in 2016. Less than half of these were properly recycled and only 7% of used to make new bottles. This means that most PET plastic bottles are ending up in landfills and oceans causing huge damage to the environment.

New Brands

The figures published by The Guardian are not specific to only bottled water, however the bottled water market shows no signs of slowing down. As consumption has spiked over the past 15 years, bottled water has become an increasingly attractive business prospect. This has seen a massive range of bottled water brands be added to the market, and with every new brand comes an increase in plastic production and usage.  Sales of bottled water are 100 times higher than they were in 1980 and it remains the fastest growing drinks market in the world.  The saturation - pardon the pun - of the water market doesn’t only extend to mineral or sparkling water brands. The past few years have also seen unprecedented growth of water with super powers; Vitamin Water, Smartwater, Blk Water, FAT Water, Virtue Energy Water, Omega Enhanced Water and Protein Water. That list doesn’t even scratch the bottled water market surface, and now that water has overtaken soda sales in some countries, it's popularity is sure to continue. 

More Waste

To take one brand as an example, Glaceau Smartwater which is owned by Coca-Cola. Smartwater alone is now worth an estimated £22m with Coca-Cola committing to a £15m expansion of its factory. Such is the power of Coca-Cola that it produces 56,000 bottles of its chosen water product every single hour.

So how do we stop the environmental onslaught of plastic bottles? That's the question environmentalists are currently tackling. One of the most simple solutions for tackling the recycling aspect of it is to introduce deposit return schemes, as the Scottish Government proposed last week. Initiatives like these are already in place in 35 countries and are successful in improving recycling rates for plastic bottles. For example, in Norway, where deposit return schemes have been in place since 1999, 96% of all plastic bottles are returned through this system. 

 Impact of Bottled Water on Environment

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Why Water Filters are the Solution

When it comes to bottled water, solutions appear pretty simple. A high standard of countertop water filter can give you all the qualities of bottled mineral water without the need for single-use bottles. Combined with a reusable bottle this can substantially reduce your plastic footprint. You can even find out exactly how much you can reduce your environmental impact through ditching bottled water by using our Save The Earth Calculator.

The Best Part...

You're already helping! Kinetic Water set out to take 1 million plastic bottles off the shelves through use of our filter by 2019. With your amazing support, we've already smashed that target in 2017! Real progress in solving the plastic crisis can be made on a mass scale but starts with individuals taking action and deciding to think about how their choices as a consumer impact the environment. The collective effect of this shift in people's mindset will lead to the change in plastic consumption that is needed to deal with the environmental threat that it currently poses. This seems to be just the tip of iceberg in terms of plastic pollution, we are only discovering the extent of the problem while trying to pinpoint solutions. A water filter can be one of the primary tools in the fightback against plastic pollution given it's ability to reduce the need for PET plastic bottles for drinking water. Join us in the fight against the plastic crisis: Phox Water's Alkaline Water Filter.

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