A to Z on Eco Living - Part 1
A is for Air quality
There are more and more headlines about the deadly and unhealthy effects of poor quality air on global cities. A couple of months ago it was Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand, before that it was cities in India and Pakistan, and only this week there have been reports of government warnings to stay indoors in Mexico City.
High levels of pollution from cars, industry, and waste disposal are made worse by changes to normal weather conditions meaning less rain (the water usually helps to dissipate the pollution particles), creating a public health crisis which will have massive effects in the future. Walking around New Delhi for one day when I visited back in February was the equivalent of smoking ten cigarettes.
While this is less of an issue in the UK, the world does not operate on closed borders based on nation-states, and pollution in one place is going to affect the whole system eventually. Increased use of public transport systems, being a conscious consumer and buying local where we are able to can make a positive impact. Whilst capitalism has many faults, one way to encourage companies to make a change and reduce their pollution is by hitting them in the pocket - making ethical switches and choosing companies that do not pollute.
B is for Beach clean-up
Holidaying in Thailand, on the island of Koh Jum, I was struck by the community spirit and the dedication to keeping the island beautiful and clean. What struck me most was the level of education about the threat of plastic compared to other places I have visited. From my host, Valerie, at Oonlee Bungalows, who told me about communication between many resort owners to try to make the island more sustainable, to my seeing school children doing their weekly beach clean whilst on a walk.
This sight made me aware of Trash Hero, a charity with most of its bases in South East Asia, but also with chapters globally. They organise weekly clean ups at most of their centres, and also help to educate about plastic use. They also have bases away from beaches, and help clean streets and waterways of major cities. They always welcome volunteers so if you are visiting any of the places they are based, check out the local Facebook group and see if you can head along!
The other option is individual action. Whenever I’m on the beach or out and about, I’ll pick up any bits of waste I can see and dispose of them properly. One tip for this - try to keep some gloves handy or at the least some antibacterial wash! You don’t always know where other people’s waste has been!
C is for Consumerism
I wrote a blog about sustainable consumerism here. Being mindful of our consumption is a step towards improving the environment.
D is for Drinks bottles
The reduction in plastic bag use across Europe means that plastic drinks bottles are now the number one cause of plastic pollution in European waterways, according to this recent article.
Most businesses are happy to give you a refill, and licensed premises are legally obliged to offer ‘free potable water’, so carry a refillable bottle where ever you go! If you find plain water a little bland (I love it), add some cucumber, mint, or lemon to your bottle at the start of the day. It’ll continue to give out flavour for a few refills at least and adds a lovely bit of flavour to your drink. For more inspiration on what you can add to your water, not only for great taste but also for health benefits, check out Suzi's Instagram posts on detox water!
Cucumber, lime and mint detox water for healthy hair and glowing skin.
Suzi Keegan - @healthwithsuzi_
E is for Example
As in ‘setting an…’. Whilst a lot of people come around to eco-living through reading about problems with pollution, a lot more are worried about the environment but don’t necessarily know what steps to take to make a difference.
By going to the effort of making simple changes in your life you will influence others too. I have lost track of the number of friends who have asked about metal straws or bags, or drinks bottles, or reusable coffee cups from seeing me getting mine out. Likewise, I picked up on the idea of zero waste shopping from seeing a friend doing the same! Small things can snowball and become avalanches!
F is for Fish
Marine life is badly affected by the presence of plastic in the oceans. This includes debris which can impale, inhibit and trap fish and other sea animals, as well as being consumed by them causing internal damage. It can also include micro-plastics which are formed by the degradation of larger plastic items in the ocean. These are found in the stomachs of fish and may also have health implications for human consumers of seafood.
A plastic band restricts the growth of a blue-striped grunt fish in the Caribbean Sea.
Karen Doody/Stocktrek Images
G is for Green
It’s so incredible to see how ‘Green’ living is becoming more mainstream. Derided as a fringe movement in previous decades, people are coming round to understanding the importance of looking after our planet. The challenges of climate change and plastic pollution are two of the main reasons for that, and in public discourse it now seems to me that it is more of a fringe view to think that these two issues are not important.
The two of them are not unrelated. Overproduction and inadequate disposal of waste are both things that can be challenged and overcome through individual action globally. Continued education and pressure on governments and businesses can help to reverse the damage that has been done. Live green, live clean!
I is for Informing others
Leading by example is one of my preferred ways of educating about climate change but it helps to be able to explain yourself when people ask you about it. Research online and find out about the challenges the world is facing, about the sheer scale of the challenge that we are facing, and then let people know! The more people who know and understand the problems the world is facing, the more will make the positive changes that we are talking about!
J is for Jars
Jars are great! Glass is recyclable, reusable, durable, and doesn’t leach harmful chemicals into your food or drink. We keep and re-use jars for storage and for re-purposing. We also take them for recycling if it’s not something we feel we can use. You can use them for your zero-waste shopping, or take them along and donate them so others can!
K is for Kalleco
That’s us! We are committed to continuing to provide alternatives to single use plastics. Subscribe and keep coming back for more eco-tips in our blogs, and to see when we release new products!
L is for Landfills
We have spoken a lot in previous blogs about the damage plastic is doing to the oceans, but landfills are one of the least efficient ways of disposing of plastic. Many have severely anaerobic environments so that even ‘biodegradable’ plastic will not break down. Plastic bottles take up to 450 years to break down, and as plastics do start to decompose in landfills, microplastics and harmful chemicals can leach into the water basin, affecting all life in the environment.
Be mindful of your plastic use and where you feel you have no alternative do your best to ensure it is disposed of properly. This is going to be a problem for years to come so we need to stop making it worse now!
M is for Metal straws
Single use plastics are so wasteful. Straws are one of the biggest culprits, and that’s why metal straws were the first product that Kalleco started to provide. The damage that straws can do to animals has been well documented, with the images of marine life damaged and killed by plastic straws in the sea. Our metal straws are easy to clean and long lasting, making them an excellent alternative to plastic for both individuals and businesses. With upcoming bans on single-use plastics coming in, they allow you to continue to enjoy your cold, thick drinks whilst keeping makeup intact and protecting your teeth. Plastic or metal? It’s a no-brainer...
Metal straws now sold wholesale