Today (the 19th of June) is National Refill Day, and we’re SO here for it. It’s an awesome movement set up by Refill, who are campaigning to “make plastic pollution a thing of the past” by making water bottle refill stations more readily available. Read on to find out how Refill can help, and how you can cut out the plastic that pops up where you least expect it…
According to the Economist, a survey has shown that ¾ of the British population think that single-use plastic should be regarded as a socially unacceptable accessory.
…so why did I manage to pick up 10 times this handful on my way home today?
Reports in April covering the huge 25% hit that Boston Tea Party saw after banning single-use cups comes as an upsetting surprise, then. If ¾ of the population is assumed to be ¾ of the customer base, then where’s the support? 0.25% of coffee cups are recycled (Source: House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee), so please bite the bullet and commit to carrying one around with you. 1 in 5 people visit a coffee shop every day, so it can’t be too hard to implement it into the daily routine! If a handbag holds you back, then why not look into getting a collapsible cup made by Stojo? The power to stop plastic pollution, tucked neatly into your pocket. Not only are we as a population not sticking to our guns, these opinions are hardly reflected in laws that govern the production of such plastic – and how can we expect them to be when they believe the economy is against it?
The first step is to show corporations that the demand simply isn’t there, and the Refill app can really help with that. There’s motivation on two levels: 1. You can monitor the impact you’re having by keeping a bottle out of landfill each time you refill, and 2. Every time you refill, Refill receive 13p to help fund conservation campaigns.
The second step is to stop being so passive in our approaches to conservation and hit ‘em where it hurts. Write, march, post, do whatever it takes to change even one person’s mind. People used to say that going vegan wouldn’t make a difference, but the proof is in the pudding: demand for meat and dairy is falling, and so are the companies that produce it.
There’s been a lull in support since the Extinction Rebellion protests ended, but why not organise your own activism? Check out Facebook or MeetUp to find some like-minded people, and get planning – there are some awesome NGOs that you could raise money for like PlasticOceans, or you could take to the streets, or you could look up how your local MP voted on the “Latte Levy” and write them a letter from the comfort of your own home.
Using a refillable water bottle is an awesome start, but plastic crops up in the least likely places. It’s hard to be anywhere near perfect in a consumer society that’s against us from the start, but we wanted to give you a few heads-ups to help you do your best. Did you know that the following contain plastic?
– Tea bags – 96% are sealed with synthetic resin, so look into buying loose leaves or get hooked on the deliciously compostable TeaPigs bags.
– Tinned food and canned drinks – they’re almost always lined with resin to stop corrosion, so they’re not always the better option. Try fresh or dried in future (especially if you can get it from a plastic-free refill shop) – nothing says “I’ve got my life together” like remembering to soak your chickpeas overnight!
– Sun cream – it’s obvious it’s in the bottle, but did you know that it can contain microbeads? Stick to Shade from now on.
– Chewing gum – most ‘gum bases’ contain polyethylene, so why not take the jaw tension out on Chewsy?
– Wrapping paper – add the sparkle with EcoGlitterFun, not shiny paper!
– Clothing – as if ‘fast fashion’ wasn’t already disastrous enough, now we know that microplastics reach the ocean every time we wash something made with synthetic fibres. It’d be counterproductive to scrap your whole wardrobe, but thankfully GuppyFriend are here to save the day with their filtering washing bags.
You can find even more ideas for reusable swaps here!
Let us know if there are any sneaky sources we’ve missed, and tell us how we can support you if you’re planning any activism!