Hey everyone, thanks for checking in on my journey again!
I hope you’ve all been doing well – has anyone tried making some plastic-free changes in the bathroom or kitchen yet? If you have, please tell me how you’ve been getting on, I’d love to know ☺ – and also feel free to share any tips you have too!
I do have to admit that I’ve not been so active this month due to it being exam season at uni, so this might be a little bit of a shorter post ☹. It has actually been really sad because Denmark is opening up again, and some great climate-focused events have taken place… but I was stuck inside writing essays! However, I’m finished now so I’m looking forward to attending different events and connecting with more environmentally conscious people around the city (and hopefully meeting some members of Plastic Free Aarhus in real life, finally!)☺.
EU’s Single Use Plastic Directive
As I have not been as active this month, I thought I would focus this post on the very exciting EU Single Use Plastic Directive, which is officially coming into law on 3rd July 2021!
Photo Credit: JENNIFER LAVERS/UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA
This directive focuses specifically on marine-based litter, in short, the kind of trash that gets washed out to sea and that we eventually find on our beaches. This will ban many single use plastics such as cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, and sticks for balloons. It will also apply to cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic. Furthermore, producers of fishing gear containing plastics will be required to cover the costs of waste collection from port reception facilities and its transport and treatment.
This is really great news! You might have seen some changes in the stores lately, for example in Denmark we have not been able to buy single-use plastic cups for a few months, with paper or harder reusable plastic alternatives being offered. I think this will be soooo beneficial in reducing the amount of plastic waste found in the EU and hopefully globally, because it stops it right at the source.
In my last post I wrote about conscious consumption and actively cutting down on plastic purchases, and that’s of course great. Those who want to make active changes, however, there are many people who aren’t so aware (or passionate!) when it comes to making these choices. This will make it much easier for everyone to be environmentally friendly – because there isn’t an unfriendly option available anymore! Let’s keep our fingers crossed that other countries will follow suit in the future, especially as more and more sustainable alternatives are being developed, there really is no need to continue using pointless plastic.
I also really like the idea of making industries pay for the pollution they cause. Did you know that just twenty firms produce 55% of the world’s plastic pollution?!
That is just crazy! For me, it can sometimes feel very frustrating to know that I, and so many others, are trying our hardest to make changes, but it feels like swimming against an impossible tide when big corporations produce so much waste ☹. However, I hope that if we start to hit these companies where it hurts (in the wallet), they can be encouraged to be more conscious and make changes away from plastic
Plastic Free Picnic – Sustainability on the go
As it’s now summer and we have been blessed with some absolutely gorgeous weather, picnic season is well and truly upon us. There’s really nothing more enjoyable than taking your favourite foods, finding a beautiful and peaceful setting and enjoying a meal surrounded by nature! However, transporting food around isn’t always the most plastic-free activity. My childhood picnics were always a flurry of cling film, a mountain of tinfoil, and of course food wrappers from chocolate bars and packets of crisps (that’s ‘chips’ to the rest of you, but don’t even get me started on why you’re wrong… 😉).
Being part of #MakeAPledge really made me think about it – so I started to think about making a ‘plastic free picnic’. A lot of the plastic-free ‘kitchen’ items I mentioned in my last blog post, such as the beeswax wrap and Tupperware containers, also come in really handy for this!
However, these are just a few specific items I have really been enjoying using in the last month or so:
Reusable bottle – this one I would say is an absolutely essential item in anyone’s plastic-free arsenal. I made the switch to reusable bottles around three years ago, and the difference it has made is incredible. I really didn’t realise how many disposable plastic bottles I was going through before, and also how totally unnecessary it was to be spending money on bottled water, when I could just get it out of the tap for free! The bottle I have now is metal, which is great for keeping my water cool too – so I don’t even miss buying a cold plastic bottle from the fridge!
Vacuum flask (for drinks) – I’ve always been a fan of vacuum flasks for taking hot drinks places, mainly for the reason that you can actually make your coffee the way you like it haha! However, it really got me thinking about the amount of take-away coffee cups I haven’t used because of it. The lid makes a perfect cup, but you can also take extra enamel/metal/reusable hard plastic cups with you.
Vacuum flask (for food) – I got this as a gift for my birthday back in March, and it is quickly becoming my favourite item! It’s just a vacuum flask, but one made specifically for food, so it has a large opening. So far I’ve used it for a range of dishes such as pasta, soup, dahl and chilli sin carne, and it is honestly amazing. It keeps food warm for at least 8 hours, which is really quite impressive. The lid also doubles up as a bowl, which is very convenient! This one is from a Danish brand called ‘Aya & Ida’, but I’m sure you can find a local manufacturer in your country too.
Bamboo cutlery – This set of cutlery has been a lifesaver on a number of occasions. I usually carry it in my backpack and there have been so many times when it’s come in handy! If you’re ordering take-away food when you’re out you can ask them to hold the plastic cutlery because you have your own 😎 (or I suppose, it will be a biodegradable alternative after 3rd July… however, this still takes energy to produce, so a reusable option is always the best choice!). This set also comes with a bamboo straw, which is excellent as I really don’t get on well with the new paper straws, plus, it feels kinda boujee pulling out your own personal straw at a bar 😅.
Reusable hard plastic cups – as I said earlier, single-use thin plastic cups have been phased out in Denmark, and this is one of the replacement options. These are lightweight and easy to transport, and also waaaaaaay better value for money than their single-use predecessors. I honestly don’t know why we ever invented the tiny, flimsy versions in the first place, these are far superior!
I know I’ve called this ‘plastic-free picnic’, however, these items can really be used in any situation where you’re on the go. For example, I regularly take lunch to work with me in my food flask and use my bamboo cutlery to eat it ☺. I think the most ‘difficult’ part of doing a picnic or lunch out this way is that it requires a little bit of planning ahead. I do have to say, this only really works if you will be making food at home first – which means preparing things in advance.
If you’re buying from a store, it’s significantly harder to be plastic-free at the moment (but let’s hope that will change very soon!).
A quick update on ‘pant’
Regarding the ‘pant’ situation in my last blog post, the Sustainability team at Aarhus University have forwarded on the suggestion to the person in charge of waste collection around campus. So, it seems like it will be taken into consideration, but I’ve not got a concrete response yet. However, I’m hoping this is a step in the right direction and keeping my fingers crossed that they will implement it! I’ll keep you all posted as soon as I know more☺.
I wanted to leave you with one last tip this time – and that is to put sustainable items on your wish-list for birthdays or any other gift-giving occasions you celebrate. This is great for two reasons: the first is that you will be the recipient of a new awesome sustainable item – which will make your sustainability journey easier, and the second (and more important) reason is that this is a great, subtle way to engage others around you and make them think about sustainable options for their own lives too.
Thanks for reading, keep up the awesome work and together we can make the wold a more sustainable place to live!