Thursday, May 31, 2018

Plenty more trash in the sea

We use the phrase "plenty more fish in the sea" to console someone on a missed opportunity. In coming years there'll be more plastic than fish in the oceans. We may need to update the expression for our polluted world.

How did it get to this?

How did we get enough plastic in ocean to outnumber all the fish? The numbers tell the story. Globally we buy a million plastic bottles a minute. Each year we use 5 trillion plastic bags and millions of tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean. The average Australian generates 107 kg of plastic pollution a year. Only 14% of this is recycled. The rest ends up in landfill or the ocean where it takes around 100 years to degrade.

In 2016, a yoghurt container from the '76 Olympics washed up on a beach in France. Closer to home, Gold Coast man Jim Hinds picks rubbish out of the waterways. He averages about 10,000 items per month.

So this year's World Environment Day theme is Beat Plastic Pollution.

Why does this matter?

100,000 sea creatures are killed by plastics each year. Birds that eat floating plastic, thinking it's food, have been found dead with hundred of pieces of plastic filling their stomach. It is also a problem for humans as we eat the fish that eat the tiny pieces of plastic.

What can we do?

Here in Australia we have an initiative called Plastic Free July. For one month, or for the year, you can pledge to avoid the 4 main types of disposable plastic - bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups. We can upgrade to re-usable containers, and use the sites Responsible Cafes and Trashless Takeaway to identify business that accept reusable containers. Some even give discounts.

Our consumer behaviour can help businesses be more responsible, and policy can help support these changes. Here in Queensland we're phasing out single-use plastic bags and later this year we'll start a container deposit system for plastic drink bottles - along with bottles and cans.

This can also be chance for community groups (churches, scouts, sports clubs) to collect containers as a fundraiser while also improving the environment.

Hopefully we can keep plastic out of the ocean, out of our fish and out of our bodies.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Trashless Takeaway

We enjoy great food, but it's disappointing when it comes in a white foam container - or other non-recyclable plastic that will end up in the bin.

Australians generate 107 kg of plastic waste per person - and only 14% gets recycled. The rest goes to landfill or ends up in the ocean.

Trashless Takeaway shows you the shops that accept reusable containers for takeaway food. You may even get a discount.

Trashless Takeaway map of food outlets that accept reusable containers

Ways to help trashless take off:
  • Support the places that are help reduce plastic pollution
  • Add #trashlesstakeaway to your photo of your trashless meal
  • Ask your favourite place if they accept reusable containers
  • Add them to the map if they they do

Apart from saving the planet, this can be healthier, cheaper and yummier. Business can also save money and get more exposure.

Find out more about The Plastic Problem - and the solution.

PS. For coffee shops, there's a similar site called Responsible Cafes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cup Rescue now underway

Paper coffee cups. How do we recycle them? 7-Eleven have launched Cup Rescue and aim to recycle 70 million cups each year.

What to do

At selected 7-Eleven stores you can return your paper coffee cups, the lids, and slurpee cups into these handy tubes to be recycled by Simply Cups.

How to recycle paper coffee cups at your workplace or at 7-eleven

Where is it?

Enter your postcode to see if your local store participates. If it doesn't have one, ask 7-Eleven to put one there.

Start your own

You can also contact Simply Cups and register to have a coffee cup collection at your workplace, school or event to save cups from landfill.

The Simply Cups website track how many cups are collected. As I write this, they've done more than 930,000 cups. From only 250 sites, that's quite amazing.

Be the best

Of course the best thing to do is to use a reusable cup (see which cafes give you a discount for that). But the next best thing is to recycle the paper cups - especially at the office where there are so many.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sale this weekend - LED bulbs

This Saturday Aldi (in Australia) are having an amazing sale on LED lights - which are super efficient. How efficient? Their conversion chart shows just how much less power these bulbs use to give the same light. Huge savings.

comparison chart of power for LED and halogen lights

So much do these amazing pieces of technology cost? Not much.

LED bulbs are $2.99 (to replace a standard bulb)

Aldi's LED bulbs to replace normal bulbs

Dimmable LED bulbs are a bit more - $6.99.

LEDs downlights to replace halogens are just $4.99.

Aldi's LED bulbs to replace halogen downlights

If you're wondering how that compares to the energy the old bulbs are using, check out my Super Easy Energy Calculator.

A 60W bulb for 4 hours a night costs $24 per year in power - just for that one light. It's a great deal to slash that cost for just a few dollars. And the planet wins too.

Is there any reason not to change?

Aldi's sale starts Saturday while stocks last - so be quick.

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