LAST SPRING, WE INADVERTENTLY FOUND OURSELVES DOING AN IMPROMPTU BEACH CLEAN
Over three days, we filled eight huge bin-bags with plastic waste from one beautiful Sicilian beach. At least half of it was plastic drinks bottles - from all over the world - some of which looked decades old. To say this made and impact on us, is an understatement.
Yes, you can get Coca-Cola in cans. But The Coca-Cola company is the world’s biggest plastic polluter (followed by Pepsi Co and Nestlé) which is unsurprising, given the world drinks a million bottles a minute. Production is set to increase by a crazy billion bottles a year. Just what the ocean needs :-(
So far, Coca Cola’s response to the plastic crisis - and their part in it- falls waaaaay short. So this is one of the rare moments on this website where I’m going to be a bit of a bully, and tell you to (please) try and step away from the bad guy and get your cola fix elsewhere.
Karma Cola is where it’s at. They have been named the one of the world’s most ethical companies two years in a row, and were awarded the World’s Fairest Trader, by the Fairtrade Foundation. You really can’t say fairer than that.
There’s a lot to like about this brand, beyond how nice those pops of colour look on my kitchen shelf.
Lemonaid is a brand on a mission to do good in the world.
Not content with supporting farmers with a commitment to Fairtrade and organic ingredients, money from every bottle purchased supports local initiatives in developing countries, working to improve social, economic and ecological structures.
We need more of this in the world, don’t we.
What I particularly like about Rocks, is that they haven’t tried to dodge the sugar tax by adding artificial sweeteners.
That sneaky move by the big brands feels more likely to be about protecting their bottom line than protecting our health.
Rocks squash, which is just squished fruit (and sugar, obvs) comes in glass bottles, can be found in most supermarkets, and it tastes as it should - i.e. of actual fruit! Add it to fizzy water for a fake Tango.
Also, look out for Belvoir and own brand ‘cordials’ (AKA posh squash).
milk & more DELIVERS JUICES
It’s not just the plastic bottles I’m trying to avoid, those Tetra Paks aren’t much better. Which was making it hard to track down juice as part of an easy weekly shop. There are a few glass-bottled juice brands you can find in independent delis (look out for Duskin & Biona), but I wanted something more reliable.
Milk & More is, without a doubt, the simplest way to get plastic-free juice. If you order the normal juices that come in milk bottles, the empties will get collected and re-used. The perfect circular solution.
They also have fancier juices and delicious smoothie - also in glass bottles - but these need to go out with your regular recycling.
FRESHLY SQUEEZED JUICE
Not for everyone, or for every day, but nothing beats a freshly squeezed juice, right?
Before I found Milk and More, we invested in a home juicer, and still do this most weekends using juicing oranges we order as part of our weekly fruit & veg box.
Out of interest, I bought as many oranges as I could for the equivalent price of a bottle of (fancy-ish) freshly squeezed juice, and it worked out almost the same.
You can spend loads on a juicer, but I’ve found this one does the job perfectly well.
charcoal water PURIFIER
Somewhere along the line, someone convinced us we should shun our perfectly good tap water and start buying it from far-flung places - in plastic bottles. It’s the ultimate Emperor’s New Clothes story, explained brilliantly here by the awesome Story of Stuff.
It can take time to shake off that level of corporate nonsense, so, to bridge the gap, this simple solution might do the trick.
Charcoal acts like a sponge, soaking up any impurities (moot point) in our water. Many claim it also improves the taste. These filters are made from bamboo charcoal (for added eco points) and come in a re-usable cotton bag.
I discovered this out of ‘necessity’ during the crazy hot summer last year, when we had a house full of builders, demanding constant cold fizzy drinks to keep them going (I’m aware how ridiculous this sounds, btw).
It was far too expensive to buy loads of glass-bottled fizzy water, and there was no way I was going to buy the amount of plastic bottles needed to keep them hydrated.
So in a fit of nostalgia, I invested in a Soda Stream.
The builders have long gone, but this remains a work-horse in our kitchen (and amuses me every time, with the farty ‘ENOUGH GAS’ noise it makes). It’s not cheap, but I think it’s paid for itself already.
Given the Trash Plastic logo is a straw, and given the iconic status of straws as the demon of the ocean plastic problem, it would be weird not to mention them somewhere on Trash Plastic.
There is good news. In October 2018 The European Parliament voted to ban straws (and other single use items like cutlery) by 2021. Until then, we could just say no, no? But, if you have kiddos (my excuse) here are a few to try:
Stainless-steel straws, in two sizes (thin ones for normal drinks, thick ones for smoothies). I like these.
Paper straws, which I keep for when I’m dealing with a house-full of additional small humans (AKA play-dates).
Stroodles! Yup, straws, made of noodles! Love these - just don’t use them in hot drinks!
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