After the final episode of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II shocked fans last December, the tragic truth of plastic pollution in our oceans has well and truly hit home. We need to reduce plastic use and we need to do it now!
Since then, Theresa May’s government has introduced a 25 year plan that aims to reduce plastic use and eliminate all avoidable waste by 2042, and many big name businesses including numerous supermarkets, coffee shops chains and beauty brands, have pledged to do their bit to use less.
We’ve banned the plastic microbeads that were found in cosmetic products such as exfoliating gels and shower gels, ditched plastic bags in supermarkets and bought reusable coffee cups for our morning caffeine fix (and were rewarded with discounts in the likes of Costa, Starbucks and Pret).
However, with the worry that by 2050 there’ll be more plastic in the ocean than fish, more still needs to be done. So how can you do your bit on a daily basis?
HOW TO MAKE YOUR WORKOUT PLASTIC FREE
When we’re working out, we’re aiming to make ourselves healthier, right? Well why make a couple of small changes to reduce plastic and help make our environment a little healthier at the same time too?
Avoid plastic water bottles
The simplest place to start is with your water bottle. Invest in a reusable bottle – that’s BPA free – to get you through your workouts instead of buying your water in a disposable plastic bottle on your way to the gym. Not only is this better for the environment, it’ll be a lot better for your purse too!
How and why?
A new scheme to encourage people to recycle bottles (and cans) is soon to be introduced in England. You’ll have to pay a small deposit when you buy drinks in bottles and cans – which yes, you’ll get back if you return the container but it will make the convenient (or simply lazy) habit of buying bottled water a little more expensive.
So what can you do if you want water when you’re on the go? Well, lucky bunnies in London (and very soon many other places in the UK) can take advantage of new trial initiative Refill. As part of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s efforts to tackle single-use plastic waste, many shops and businesses across the city, including Costa, Leon, Bills and even Premier Inn, have signed up to offer free tap water ‘refills’ to members of the public.
Ditch plastic bags
Get yourself a cotton or mesh bag for your sweaty kit, as using one of these will easily reduce plastic use. You can then throw it straight in the wash with your dirty laundry when you get home. Keep your gym bag fresh and your conscience clean!
How and why?
Stats have shown that more than nine billion fewer plastic bags have been used since the 5p charge was introduced. That’s a whopping 83 per cent reduction, so why should it stop at just our shopping?!
Wear eco-friendly workout kit
Yes it may be tempting to buy cheaper gym kit – it gets sweaty, so why waste money investing in expensive pieces? However, it’s not just pricey brands that are now environmentally conscious. There are lots of high street and affordable brands doing their bit to reduce plastic and help the planet too. Many using recycled plastic bottles to make the yarns that create their products.
How and why?
Activewear brand Sundried gives a new lease of life to plastic bottles, recycling them and turning them into brand spanking new gym wear, while H&M’s new Conscious collection of stylish but sustainable sportswear is predominantly made using recycled polyester and elastane. Hong Kong sportswear label Rumi X also creates gorgeous designs out of recycled plastic, as well as – oddly – recycled coffee grinds!
Avoid straws with shakes and smoothies
Grabbing a protein shake or smoothie post gym? Many gyms and cafes have already stopped giving out straws, but if you are offered one, be conscious of its effects and say no.
How and why?
It is thought that Britain uses around 8.5 billion straws a year and while they can be recycled, most plastic straws are too small and lightweight to make it through mechanical recycling machines. Straws find their way onto beaches, are blown into the ocean by the wind, or find their way into the sea through plugholes and drains – and because they’re not biodegradable, they’re extremely dangerous for marine life.