Waking up this morning and hearing that fungi could be the key to winning the war on plastic made me think that despite being a huge problem and very much in the news we haven’t acknowledged the severity of the problem in any recent Blogs. Scientists at Kew Gardens have found that it may be possible to harness the natural properties of fungi to break down plastic in weeks rather than years. The work is still in its early stages and will take 5-10 years to develop so we need to keep looking at ways of dealing with the problem now.
Plastic is really useful and we use it every day as it is cheap, strong and versatile but what happens when we throw it away is causing a big problem for our planet and affecting wildlife, their habitats as well as human beings.
Plastics are manmade and can be produced from natural materials like coal and oil and is used in many things we use daily from clothing to crisp packets and bottles to buckets – even the new £5 and £10 notes are made from plastic ! The main problem is that most of it isn’t biodegradeable and doesn’t rot like food or paper meaning it can hang around in the environment for hundreds of years. Another problem is about 40% of plastic produced is only single use – every day it is estimated that 7 million coffee cups are thrown away and only 1 in 400 are recycled.
Around 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our seas – most of which has escaped from land and may have been blown from ships or beaches or carried in from rivers or even flushed down the toilet. Experts have estimated that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will weigh more than the fish living in there. Animals can get trapped in bags and food packaging and it is frequently mistaken for food which they cannot digest leaving their stomachs full and no room for nutritional foodstuff. Every year over 100,00 sea mammals are killed by plastic and currents carry the waste bringing it together to form garbage patches known as “trash islands”. Our business is run from Brighton so we are very aware of the problems on our beaches and are proud of the Pier to Per Beach Clean initiative every month run as a silent disco with volunteers being supplied with headsets to provide entertainment while they work.
The Governmentr are fully committed to reduce all plastic waste over the next 25 years. We now have to pay for plastic carriers in supermarkets resulting in a dramatic reduction in their use. Supermarkets are also being urged to reduce packaging (start plastic free aisles) or make it easier to recycle and cafes and restaurants are asked to only hand out straws if specifically asked for. Some Countries are charging extra for goods in plastic bottles but will reimburse bottle deposit when empties are returned to the store and Scotland has banned plastic stemmed cotton buds. Microbeads once found in things like toothpaste, face wash and body scrub are now banned. Zero waste stores are gradually opening around the country and this is something we may see more of in the future.
Realistically what small changes can we make in our lives to help improve this worrying situation ? We have listed below the most basic things we can change in our day to day lives but do visit one of the many websites to investigate more major changes you could consider in your lifestyle :
- Be responsible with your litter – dispose of it responsibly and try to ensure it will not blow away. Attempt to inspire others to think about their actions which may affect the community and ultimately our planet.
- Consider participating in a local clean up session – every piece of litter removed from beaches reduces the risk to marine life.
- Use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, straws and shopping bags.
- Minimise use of disposable cutlery and use plastic free lunch box.
- Consider use of biodegradable toothbrush (Can be purchased from Natures Healthbox)
- Why not try using hand soap and shampoo soap also stocked by Natures Healthbox.
- Avoid purchasing products wrapped in plastic – take your own container and buy fresh unwrapped bread from a local baker (much nicer !)
The Staff at Natures Healthbox are committed to revisiting ways in which we can be more kind to our Planet and as part of this are seeking to stock more products to help in this venture. We are proud that the premises we rent for our Business have been assessed and rated as Excellent . This means it has been designed with a high regard for the environment and includes solar panel heated water, a wind turbine, use of low energy lamps, use of local materials and much more. You can read more about this on :
We can’t let this opportunity pass to promote our range of Ecoffee Cups which reduce the wastage of single use cups, made with natural, sustainable bamboo fibre they are dishwasher safe and there is no plastic after taste. Please have a look at the amazing range of contemporary pattern and make it one of your new fashion accessories !!