You may or may not have seen that a couple of weeks ago I took to the island of Tenerife with Reef and Surfriders Europe. As a team, we embraced all things living “Beach Freely”. Fun, surf and beach clean ups was the name of the game. It was a super fun trip but with a sobering sustainability twist on it. Check out my VLOG below to see what we got up to and how you can help to protect our planet long term.
All the feels
I certainly had ALL the feels post trip. I left in absolute awe of what Surfriders Europe do for the environment. I was also deeply saddened by the ocean pollution we saw. The problem is very real, and very much needs to be addressed now before it’s too late. BUT we absolutely have the ability to make it better. Instead of trying to solve the problems already present we can start with the solution.
What I love about Surfriders Europe is that they are working with the solution rather than just fixing what has already happened. From their beach cleans they quantify results to see what the worst offending waste is. This gives them leverage to use for lobbying against governments for bigger actions, like banning single use plastic.
I was astounded at what our just 1 hour of beach cleaning found:
- 35 cups
- 20 cans
- 201 fag butt
- 58 papers
- 7 fag packets
- 20 plastic bottles
- 47 lids
- 73 cotton buds
- 2 straws
Sustainability measures can sometimes seem overwhelming. Often (myself included) we find that we don’t quite know where to start. We’re all on our own sustainability journeys. We live in a society that still has very unsustainable ways of living. But we can absolutely help by pulling together and doing what we can to help. Check out the Surfriders Europe website to see how you can get involved with their ocean initiatives here.
Below I’ve outlined just a few sustainability swaps I’ve learned along the way from beach clean initiatives like what we did with Reef and Surfriders Europe in Tenerife. Remember a small change in habit (even if you just focus on one small difference at a time) will make a huge difference. This is by no means an exhaustive list but ways that can help you reset your habits.
Simple Sustainability Swaps – How can we help?
“One of the biggest problems is plastic bottles. Every year, plastic bottles are found in the top 10 items of marine litter found on beaches and rivers banks. Over a million marine animals die every year because of plastic pollution, impacting around 690 marine species. Putting an end to the consumption of plastic bottles is also an opportunity to preserve biodiversity, ecosystems and your health!” Surfriders Europe, 2018
- Saying no to single use plastic bottles wherever possible. Just one reusable bottle is enough to replace the 110 bottles of water consumer per person per year in Europe.
- Use reusable canisters, I like to use my Swell bottle for cold drinks and Keep Cup for hot. I take them wherever I go.
- Absolutely refuse (particularly) very small plastic bottles – you’re buying predominantly plastic!
- Where you have no option than to buy a plastic bottle, buy bigger bottles – more water, better use of plastic.
- If you have to buy bottles buy the ones with the cap attached – so you have less likelihood of loosing the cap or it becoming separated in the waste process.
- Recycle bottles where possible – but the prevention is always better than the cure. Recycling only goes part of the way to help.
- When traveling use refillable toiletry bottles – vs buying the small bottles at the airport – you’ll save money and the world!
We found SEVENTY THREE cotton buds in one hour of beach cleaning. Can you imagine how many are in the ocean?
- Do not flush them down the toilet – they end up in our oceans
- Use cotton buds sparingly – and where possible the paper kind. Better still get a reusable or biodegradable bamboo ones! The same goes for your toothbrush and tooth picks!
Straws & Plastic Bags
Refuse straws in your drinks, you can buy reusable metal ones if you feel like you really want one. and use tote bags instead of plastic bags. Where you can refuse to buy food in packaging and order online from supermarkets where they tend to deliver in crates vs plastic bags.
Carrying your own cutlery around – think about how many times you eat out, and how many of those times you use and dispose of plastic cutlery. Carry around reusable cutlery – usually way nicer to eat with anyway!
Of course recycling is better than disposal for the environment, but we need to minimise the use in the first place. Recycling can only go so far. Often a lot of the waste we put into our recycling can’t actually be recycled. Check the packaging and it will detail if it’s recyclable or not. Also something I didn’t know they were so strict on is cleaning your recycling. Dirty recycling is automatically disregarded as waste.
Check out the Surfriders Europe website to see where their next clean ups are taking place and for more information. Do your own 2 minute clean ups around you (doesn’t always have to be at the beach!). Be more mindful in your own sustainability practices, then help educate those around you. Together we can help to save our beautiful world and the wildlife and nature we are privileged enough to live alongside of.
Have you got any more top tips for sustainability swaps? I’d love to hear them! We can do this if we work together. I hope this has gone someway of helping in what is obviously a huge environmental issue for all of us. The time to act is now.
Sending love, peace & happiness for the world!