A couple of weeks ago I found myself deeply affected after watching the Guardian video below. It sent shockwaves through me to think about the affect of the plastics we've used for our entire lifetimes. Every toothbrush you've ever used, is still out there in some form. These facts have been on my mind ever since, and although I've always considered myself to be a conscious consumer, I realise there is so much more I should be doing.
After researching ways that I could really improve, and continue to work towards a more sustainable model I wanted to share with you some of the main points that I think could really help our future.
Look at what you already have and use it as much as you can, for everything that is not used: share/recycle/donate
There are a lot of conflicting ideas about where to start, but essentially it boils down to consumption, and how we use/reuse, buy and dispose of items. We all have jam jars, cloth bags, and cutlery at home, we just have to remember to take it out (and none of it has to be Pinterest-ing looking!).
Amazingly a cotton bag needs to be used around 131 times before it is better for the environment than a single-use plastic bag. You can take your reusable containers with you if you are expecting to get takeaway food – you just need something the right size that will be light enough to carry around. I've started to do this, and it's immensely satisfying!
Contrary to what is being advertised, you don't have to change all of your plastics for metal/bamboo or other alternatives. Every material has a carbon footprint, and so using what you already have at your disposable is always the better option than creating demand for more.
2) WASH RESPONSIBLY / USE NATURAL FIBRES
Something new to me that I discovered was that microfibres in fleeces and synthetic materials enter our water systems each time they are washed. Try to buy natural materials, and avoid over washing any existing synthetics you have. Wash on lower temperatures and air dry when possible. You can usually give something another wear before it needs a wash too.
3) GIFT/ GIVE RESPONSIBLY
Avoid tat, novelty items, and freebies you know you or others never use. Usually with cheap items, corners have been cut somewhere – it could have been the wellbeing of the people producing the product, animals, the planet, or all three.
If like me you get lots of catalogues/leaflets and junk mail through your door that you never look at unsubscribe immediately and make sure you get taken off mailing lists that send out catalogues regularly - if you prefer opt for email updates instead.
5) DAILY REMINDERS
Follow zero-waste influencers on your social media platforms. They will give you tips on how to reduce your footprint and remind you daily of small things you can do to keep you on track. Some suggestions below:
Going Zero Waste - Kathryn Kellogg
The Zero Waster - Sarah Lewis
We try to reuse packaging as much as possible, so you might find your QÄSA QÄSA order comes in a repurposed box or filled with bubble wrap/paper thats been re-used from an order we've received. Our products are also free of single use plastic.
We use recycled materials, and offcuts to make our products. Our Blantyre Jars reuse wine bottles from restaurants, and scrap paper from schools to make the boxes.
PLASTIC FREE POLICY IN EAST AFRICA
Tanzania has pledged to become a plastic bag free zone. East African countries are championing the plastic bag ban and are working hard to reduce single use plastics. Tanzania will join more than 60 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single-use plastic bags, including China, France, Kenya, Rwanda and Italy.