Four years ago, I can remember our drains getting clogged outside my apartment in North Dublin. There was a huge mess leading the whole way down our neighbourhood due to what turned out to be baby wipes. Apparently thousands of them being flushed down the toilet over weeks and weeks by all the tenants of my block meant that the drain got clogged up and well, you don’t need me to tell you the rest. For me at the time, being more environmentally friendly meant looking at how I (and my neighbours) dispose of baby wipes.
You see, baby wipes (and make-up wipes) don’t easily disintegrate. They’re not like toilet paper but rather are designed to be tougher and are full of various ingredients to keep them strong. Naturally, they need to go in the bin rather than the toilet. That was a lesson I learned the hard way that day and I’ve since sworn off wipes and replaced with alternative cleansing options ever since.
Likewise, I use to be a plastic hoarder. I’d allow the amount of plastic bottles in my life to build up without a care for the fact that they needed to be recycled versus going in the bin where they’d inevitably end up in landfill. You see, 50% of plastic that’s used in the world gets used once and thrown away. The rest? Well, items like plastic bags can be used over and over again at the supermarket. Take-away boxes today can become tomorrow’s lunch boxes and so on. Meanwhile, there are more and more alternatives to one-use plastic popping up.
Just the other day, I felt immense guilt at the fact that I use so many coffee capsules in my Nespresso machine. The coffee tastes so great and I feel like I’m in a fancy cafe when I close my eyes and settle in for that sweet fix. Until a month ago, I didn’t realise that the capsules weren’t actually recyclable in terms of standard recycling bins. Strolling by the Nespresso stand in Dundrum, I was thrilled to get a bag from them that could be filled with old capsules. They then get brought into a Nespresso store or stand to be recycled within the company. It’s a win win and the guilt of chucking them in the bin is no more.
Speaking of coffees, the amount of reusable coffee cup options is increasing all around Ireland. Starbucks, Butlers and The Happy Pear are just some of the shops that sell a reusable option which offers discount each time you come back and get your coffee there. Melanie May wrote it perfectly in this post here.
At companies like Lush, the products are over 40% naked throughout the year. This percentage has increased this Christmas with the introduction of naked shower gels, body conditioners and the staple soaps, bath bombs and much more. This means that products aren’t coated in plastic. As a company, this is something Lush is super passionate about and working on for the future.
Being more conscious of what we’re using, how we’re using it and considering where it’s going to end up will mean that we’re playing a bigger part in protecting our environment. Other small ways we can make a larger impact are the following:
*Reusing your water bottle. Did you know that it takes more water to make plastic? So technically if you’re buying 1 litre of water, you’ve actually used 2 litres as it took 1 litre to make that plastic.
*As mentioned above, reusing take away boxes for the next day’s lunch and investing in a reusable coffee cup can make a difference. Or better yet, save on the pockets and go for a coffee at home.
Recycling is free! Companies like Inglot now allow you to bring in your old make-up containers to recycle meaning they get used in house and don’t end up elsewhere.
What tips do you have to make the world feel more environmentally conscious?