On Earth Day we see if it’s actually possible to live without plastic

Delphine Chui gives it a go

plastic free

I’ve always considered myself a mindful person when it comes to the environment. I’m vegetarian, I try to be conscious of the origins of my food, I take public transport as much as possible and I’m an avid recycler.

But, if I’m being honest, I’ve never delved into what actually happens to my rubbish or recycling after I chuck it into the respective bins.

So, I took on a challenge to live without plastic for a week and the statistics and realities of what I learnt was shocking. And, although I may never be ‘zero waste,’ I can certainly put a dent in how much I’m contributing to landfill and that’s a start, isn’t it? Here’s what I learnt…

No one is recycling enough

As a nation, we only recycle 14% of recyclable plastic. And around 50% of the plastic we do recycle is never actually recycled because it’s not been properly disposed of. I admit I never looked at my local council’s recycling policy before this week so was guilty of putting things like plastic bags in my green lid wheelie bin (rather than at a specific plastic bag collection bin) and being completely confused about what I should do with bubblewrap (which can jam recycling machines if not put in the right place.)

Our coffee consumption is getting out of control

Think about how much coffee you drink every day. Now, think about how many cups you chuck in the bin. Yeah, I quickly realised that it all adds up, with 7 million coffee cups thrown away in the UK every day – which adds up to 25,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste every year, to be exact. So, I got a bamboo forever cup instead since bamboo is the world’s most sustainable crop. And, it’s worth noting that coffee shops don’t even bat an eyelid when you hand it over for them to fill.

London consumes the largest amount of plastic bottled water in the UK

I’m guilty of it. I constantly buy multipacks of bottled water to bring me to work every day. I liked the convenience of it but considering that by 2050, there will be more plastic bottles in the oceans than fish, we really need to fix this. Plastic bottles make up 10% of all litter in the Thames, with ¾ of the fish inside consuming it, and considering how much I care about animals, these stats really hit home for me.

You can’t really recycle plastic bags

It takes the average plastic shopping bag 100 years to decompose and that’s only if it’s exposed to sunlight and air (which landfill rubbish often isn’t) so that plastic bag you chucked in the bin last week will probably outlast us all. So, now I have a ‘dirty’ tote bag that I put shoes in, a ‘fresh food’ tote bag for any fruit and veg and a ‘dry’ tote bag for everything else.

The sea floor is pretty much plastic

Considering 12.2 million tonnes of plastic litter enter the marine environment each year, it’s no wonder that 94% of the plastic rubbish that enters the ocean ends up on the sea floor. It’s not realistic for me to think I’ll never buy another plastic bottle of water again but I can make sure I only bin it in a recycling bin and never in one that’s overflowing (as these will just end up blowing away)

Plastic is seriously unhealthy for you

Chemicals like BPA and phthalates are used to make plastics and resins and when plastic is heated up (which can happen if your plastic bottle is in the sun for example), these chemicals can leech into the contents. And, since they’re known endocrine disruptors, they can cause a whole load of health issues so I’ve traded in for a glass and stainless steel as they’re both natural elements so are free from chemicals and wholly recyclable.

Plastic cutlery and straws aren’t ever recycled

I’m normally the first person to choose a plastic fork rather than a metal one. But, as it’s too small to recycle, it just adds to our ever-growing landfill. There is, however, a way around it. If you store it in a plastic takeaway container and recycle the whole thing, that works – but otherwise, just choose metal cutlery or invest in a stainless steel foldable spork! And, after finding out that the UK and US use almost 550 million straws a day – most of which end up in the ocean or take 200 years to break down into toxic particles – I’m all about refusing the straw, or using reusable stainless steel, glass and bamboo straws (I got mine from eco straws.) 

What I bought to start my no plastic life

BKR glass bottle, £30

Pukka bamboo coffee cup, £8.99

Cleeve Outdoors stainless steel folding spork, £2.49

Wasara compostable tableware, from £12.99 – 

Alphabet big canvas tote bag, £22

Stasher reusable silicone food bags, £11.99 

Le Parfait Familia Wins Terrine jars, from £5.25, 

Bobble Insulate Stainless Steel bottle, £24, 

Who Gives A Crap 100% Recycled Toilet Paper, £24 for 24

Nature and My bamboo toothbrush, £7.99 

Odylique 2-in-1 shampoo, £12

All Naturals soap, £4.99

Myroo facial cloth and cleanser, £27

Friction Free Shaving razor, from £5

Kjaer Weis make-up, from £20

Woobamboo! biodegradable silk floss, from £4.15

The verdict?

Heartbroken by what I learnt we’re doing to the environment and wildlife (as well as to ourselves), I finally saw just how unnecessary so much of my disposable plastic use was so, not to sound like a poster but really, it’ amazing how much a difference we can all make by refusing, reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling everything we can.

The post On Earth Day we see if it’s actually possible to live without plastic appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Do It for Mother Earth: How Working From Home Can Help You Help the Planet

Need another reason to work from home?

Do it for the planet.

According to a study published by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, 10 million cars — or approximately the entire New York State workforce — would leave the road each year if every U.S. worker who could and wanted to telecommute actually did.

“There is no single solution that offers as large of a potential environmental impact and reduction in greenhouse gases than having people work at home,” says Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. “It is the biggest part of our burden on the planet.”

Pro Tip

By becoming even a half-time remote worker, you’ll gain back an average of 11 days a year that would have otherwise been spent commuting.

By cutting their commutes, the current U.S. work-from-from population keeps the equivalent of 600,000 cars off the road each year.

How much could dropping your commute do to save our planet?

Figure Out How Much Pollution Your Commute Contributes

Your actual contributions can vary based on a number of factors, including your commute time and driving conditions, but you can get a general idea of your personal output with this tool from the Environmental Protection Agency, which calculates your vehicle’s average mileage and CO2 output.

To figure out how much CO2 your commute produces annually:

  • Determine the number of miles you travel to and from work each day. For example, let’s say you drive 20 miles each way to work for a total of 40 miles.
  • Multiply that number by the number of days you drive to the office for the total number of miles you drive each year. Let’s assume you head to the office five days a week and get two weeks off for vacation: 40 x 250 = 10,000 miles
  • Multiply that number by your car’s CO2 output for your total. If your car produces 261 grams (or 0.575407 pounds) of CO2 per mile, then your commute results in 10,000 x .575407 = 5,754 pounds, or 2.877 tons of carbon annually.

Earth Day Tips to Help Remote Workers

Even if working from home isn’t always an option, every day you cut your commute can help, according to Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at Flexjobs.

“When you’re able to work from home even one day a week, you’re reducing your commute by 20%,” Reynolds says. “Sometimes people think it’s all or nothing, but it can be some kind of compromise.”

Pay Attention to the Thermostat

In addition to cutting the commute, remote work can help reduce the environmental cost associated with working in office buildings, according to Reynolds.

“Energy consumption goes down across the board when you’re able to stop using office space,” she says. “When people work from home, they have more control over their environment — I know a lot of remote workers who pay very close attention to their thermostats.”

By opting to dress in layers or use fans around the house, you can control the comfort level of your space without wasting resources on heating and cooling, Reynolds notes.

Bonus: You can retire that office sweater you wore in your aggressively air-conditioned cubicle.

Pro Tip

Energy consumption goes down across the board when you’re able to stop using office space.

Choose Essential Office Equipment

In addition to the building, an office’s high-volume equipment often requires additional energy to operate and cool, according to Reynolds. Most remote workers can get by on a less equipment, which saves energy and money.

“If you are largely in a role that doesn’t require a lot of extra office equipment, you can get by on pretty much a laptop,” Reynolds says, adding that less equipment also means less of it ending up in landfills.

Reduce Use of Office Supplies

When you use your own office supplies, your cost-cutting tactics can also help the earth. Think: How many sticky notes do you use in the office vs. when you work from home?

“When you’re at home and you are the one responsible, you’re a little more hesitant to print something you don’t really have to,” Reynolds says. “Individual choice and individual consumption is a key piece of the environmental benefits of remote work.”

That’s a win for your employer, you and the environment.

Happy Earth Day!

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer for The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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BBC slam Netflix for ‘ripping off Planet Earth and stealing Sir David Attenborough’

THE BBC have slammed Netflix for ‘ripping off Planet Earth and stealing Sir David Attenborough’, it has been reported.

Bosses at the Beeb are unhappy with Netflix series Our Planet, which is narrated by the same broadcaster as the channel’s award-winning nature programmes.

Sir David Attenborough has teamed up with Netflix
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Attenborough, 92, will voice all eight episodes of Our Planet, filmed over four years with a 600-strong crew.

Show insiders have insisted that the programme is not a copy of the BBC’s annual Natural History Unit productions – such as Planet Earth.

The Netflix series has been made by NHU chief Alastair Fothergill, who has a long-standing relationship with Sir David.

A source told The Mirror: “They’ve nicked the filming techniques, the stories, even the title from us, not to mention the presenter.

The BBC are said to be angry that Netflix have ‘ripped off Planet Earth’
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“And it’s been made by an ex-BBC producer who still makes natural history programmes for the BBC. There is nothing in any way original about this series.

“The only difference is they used 600 crew for work we’d have done with around 60.

“Sir David will always be part of the BBC. This is not the end of the ­relationship with him. We’ve just lent him to Netflix.”

Attenborough’s new BBC show Dynasties starts tomorrow

Our Planet is due to be released to Netflix subscribers in April next year.

Although Attenborough has worked with other broadcasters in the past, including Sky, the shows have always been different to his work with the BBC.

Meanwhile, the star’s latest BBC series, Dynasties, is due to launch tomorrow night.


He will also return to the Beeb next year with Seven Worlds – an exploration of the different continents.

As if that wasn’t enough, 2020 will see Fothergill and Attenborough work together for the BBC with the production of Perfect Planet.

Frozen Planet II is also due in 2021.


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