The 22nd April is Earth Day 2018 when an estimated one billion people around the globe will take action to show support for environmental protection. This day has been an important date for environmental awareness for more than 40 years, with different themes each year. This year the theme is #EndPlasticPollution.
Here at ILNI we care about the environment and want to share some of the ways we think we can make Earth Day 2018 part of the bigger change we want to see in the world.
Finding out more about the problems with plastic and the effects it has on our environment is important. We use multiple plastic items daily and throw them away without a lot of thought as to where they end up. This growing pile of waste is something we should all feel concerned about. Plastic waste enters our waterways and it poisons and injures marine life. This plastic also disrupts our hormones, litters our beaches and landscapes, clogs our waterways and overflows our landfills. By learning more about the problem, we can start to be part of the solution.
We can begin by learning more about which plastics we can recycle. The Plastics By the Numbers website is a good resource for finding out more about which plastic is recyclable and which isn’t.
Watch and Learn
There are hundreds of great documentaries and talks about the impact of plastic on our environment. Our pick of two that are worth taking a few minutes to watch are:
This is a short and easy to watch video that outlines the problem we have with plastic.
Be challenged and inspired by Lauren Singer telling her personal story about why she decided to live a zero waste life. She includes her ideas on how the use of plastic can be eradicated.
Rethink Our Habits.
Earth Day 2018 is a great chance to rethink some of our plastic habits. Our top three habits to rethink this Earth Day are:
- Avoiding the temptation to buy ‘fast fashion’; cheaply made clothes that we wear a few times and then add to the waste pile. A better option is investing in clothes that are made of natural fibres, cotton, linen and wool that will eventually break down in the environment.
- Asking yourself ‘do I need it?’ ‘Can I use something else?’ If we can begin to consume only what we really need, we can cut down on the plastic waste. Do you really need to use a straw? How about that disposable coffee cup? And, can you bring your own water rather than buying another plastic bottle full of water?
- Reuse More Items. Start with some simple changes like bringing reusable shopping bags to the store instead of using the plastic bags provided, using a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones and throwing them out, and donating old clothes, toys, furniture, or electronics, rather than throwing them away.
Try Something New.
We like the idea of making Earth Day 2018 a catalyst for trying something new and we love these three companies who offer new alternatives for everyday items:
Edible tableware made from wheat bran was a brainwave of Jerzy Wysocki coming from his family’s background in traditional milling. He now produces tableware and cutlery made from natural and edible wheat bran.
Replacing items we use every day with plastic-free alternatives just became easier thanks to this innovative company; they make bamboo computer keyboards as well as phone cases and flash disks among many other items, all made from sustainable bamboo.
This Madrid-based clothing line takes plastic waste collected by 200 fishing boats in the Mediterranean, crushes it into flakes, and then creates polyester fibres – which in turn become fashionable jackets, backpacks, and more.
There are lots of ways to take action on Earth Day. Here are some of the ideas we came up with.
1. Remove plastic.
If you feel ambitions why not start a beach or river clean up in your local community. Or, on a smaller scale, get some friends together and take a walk with rubbish bags collecting trash as you go
2. Support the work of organizations that are focused on removing plastic from the environment.
Here are three examples of organizations that are putting a lot of effort into counteracting the plastic pollution problem.
The Surfrider Foundation is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches -that provide us so much enjoyment.
5 Gyres Institute engages communities and corporate partners to reduce the plastic pollution around the world through exploration, scientific research, education and action.
Take 3 is an initiative that encourages people to leave the world’s beaches cleaner by taking an extra three pieces of rubbish with them when they leave. #take3forthesea
3. Spread the #EndPlasticPollution message.
Start a conversation with friends and family about reducing plastic in your life.
4. Challenge yourself to try a plastic free day.
Plastic-Free Tuesday: is a website that challenges followers to partake in one day a week with no plastic consumption and no plastic waste.
For one day they strive to avoid buying anything that is made of plastic or contains plastic. So, no bananas wrapped in plastic, no plastic bags, no takeaway coffee in plastic cups, and so on.
This is Just the Beginning
The benefits of #EndPlasticPollution are countless and go far beyond one Earth Day. We all want a healthy planet and it is going to take more than one day to rectify the current health of our world. But, we hope Earth Day 2018 will encourage more of us to think twice about plastic and our planet. Which, we think, is a good step in the right direction.