Over the next year I plan to arm you with 365 green tips that will help us all to reduce our negative impact on the world. Each Friday I will post 7 ideas in a post called Weekly Green Tips with a different theme each week. Some tips won't apply to you but I am sure you'll be able to do some of the others. On our own it is difficult to see if the changes we implement actually make a difference but when undertaken by hundred and thousands of us small changes build up into big, positive change. So please, do visit the blog every Friday and see what you can do to help make the world a better place.
Week 1 - 7 Disposable items we don't need
The world now seems full of disposable items (far more than my list) yet their convenience comes with a price. Once you've chucked it in the bin out of sight is easily out of mind but please, stop and think where it goes. Landfill sites are rapidly filling up and whilst incineration may reduce things to ash, this ash can be toxic and the burning of rubbish can give off greenhouse gases. Better, surely, to switch to reusable items:
1. Tissues - especially mini packsDitch paper tissues for ever and use good old handkerchiefs. They'll easily slip in with your bed linen wash and save so much paper and packaging being chucked away.
2. Disposable RazorsOver 2 billion razors are thrown away every year and I cannot even imagine what that amount looks likes but I know it's a lot. Switch instead to an electric razor (these are now available with solar chargers) or razors with replaceable blades. Or grow a beard!
3. Bottled waterSince when did bottled water become such an apparent necessity? Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles in 2015 yet only 23 percent of these were recycled leaving 38 billion water bottles ending up in landfill. San Francisco has been the first city to ban bottled water in it's public buildings and hopefully other cities will follow suit. For more facts and figures visit Ban The Bottle then the stop buying water in plastic bottles and get a refillable one filled with tap water.
4. Coffee capsulesOne shot coffee capsules/pods are relatively new on the scene yet in 2014 9.8 billion of these difficult to recycle composite plastic cups were produced and only a very small percentage of them were recycled. There are plans to make them from recyclable material by 2020 but in the meantime why not switch back to instant or filtered coffee, the latter being fully compostable.
5. Tampons and Sanitary TowelsThe average woman uses nearly 10,000 tampons/towels in her life so multiply that up to all woman and you reach some shocking levels of waste. However you can buy washable pads and reusable products such as mooncups.
6. Wet WipesFirst made for babies, now you seem to be able to get a wipe to wipe everything from your face to the toilet. One wipe and on to the bin (or worse still down the toilet where they cause huge problems at sewage treatment plants). Is a washable cloth really so difficult to use? Billions of baby bottoms survived quite well before the invention of wet wipes so lets bid these wipes farewell.
7. Plastic cupsHow many of you use use the drinks machine at work and then just chuck that once used plastic cup in the bin where I bet you it doesn't get recycled. You can take your own mug or glass in and let's see the end of plastic throw-away drinks cups.
These are just a handful of disposable products that we could ditch. Have you more items you could add to this list with what you could use instead?