Seeing litter lying on the streets, in the oceans or any other place you can imagine isn’t a very nice look. Litter pollution is having a negative impact on the economy, our health and sadly, our environment.
For all those reasons as just mentioned above, I enjoy using the waste around me to create or rather, give a new life to materials so that they can be reused with a new purpose and meaning rather than be left sitting in a landfill for thousands of years.
“One mans trash is another mans treasure.” – Famous quote.
After seeing some of the materials being thrown away because some people no longer give them value, I see so much truth in the famous quote “One mans trash is another mans treasure.” From old wooden ladders to wine corks, I see now there is value in collecting these materials (for free) and turning them into something completely new!
I have only started upcycling old materials from October. The idea has been with me for the last 18 months while I did a bit of backpacking but as soon as I landed back home in October, I have started gathering any free materials I can to create new pieces of whatever I can think to create. So far, here is a list of the materials people have kindly given to me or I have collected with some pictures showing of the pieces I have created;
Old butchers table
Chest of drawers
Old wooden ladders due to be thrown
Ladders now upcycled with a new purpose
Old and worn out 1960’s chest of drawers
Feeling fresh after some new handles and paintwork
There is probably more on the list but they are the materials that spring to mind right now. But all of these materials have been put to great use; free cardboard has been used to package some of the products I sell and materials such as broken bamboo stick have been used to create the products that I sell!
Upcycled bottletop coasters
Upcycled wine cork coasters
Upcycled bottletop coasters
5 months in and I can say that so far I have had a lot of fun; this is also an area completely new to me and I am still learning as I go along but the whole purpose of starting RestoreRevolution is to make a reasonable amount of income that will allow me to do something creative while giving me the freedom to raise awareness on a subject which I am concerned about…that subject is the environment.
If you have a interest in nature, the environment or even handmade crafts including furniture that involve creativity then check out the shop and also like the page with all things RestoreRevolution! You can also get ideas for any upcycle ideas you might be thinking about!
Whether you know about it or don’t, whatever your beliefs are on climate change; the truth is that the climate is changing which is impacting our limited resources, economy, our health and just about everything else you can think imagine.
What is climate change?
Climate change is a change in weather patterns or when the Earths’ average temperature changes. Peoples outlook on climate change can vary depending on education, religion, wealth, profession, location and other various differentials.
Here is a short video giving a simple outlook on what climate change is to give you a better understanding.
Should we care about climate change?
YES. The simple answer is Yes. Climate change has impact on everything around us whether your passion is surfboarding or investing in the stock markets. Shifts in weather patterns have huge impacts on our daily lives and there is no bigger economic disaster than natural disasters. Not only that but when we see frequent droughts, floors or hurricanes, it puts our lives in danger.
What the professionals are saying…
97% of Environmental scientists believe that climate change is affected by human behaviour and it is for that reason that 195 nations came together in Paris to sign the Paris agreement which aims to reduce global warming to well below 2 degrees.
Because of that, climate change will be an issue you will hear more of in the newspaper, on radio & TV and probably see some of your favourite celebs tweeting or talking about.
More and more people are becoming aware of the impacts an individual has on the environment thanks to Netflix documentaries such as Cowspiracy, Before the Flood, Dirty money and others along with books from ‘Naomi Klein: This changes everything’ or even just by listening to global superstars such as Leonardo Di Caprio while he dedicated his Oscar speech to climate action.
This week, I want to show you many simple ways you can have a go at helping the environment. Having a go at this doesn’t mean you have to do it for the rest of your life. Instead why not just have a go for 1 month (28 days) and see how you feel after. So many people have opinions on matters when most of the time their opinions are formed based on being mis-informed, lack of information or sadly, other peoples experiences. Why not form your own opinion and give ALL of these a go so that the next time the subject comes up in conversation, you can actually say your opinions based on your experience. Who knows, you could actually improve your health, fitness, bank balance, knowledge and overall happiness just by giving these a go for one month.
Here is the list of things to give a go and next week I will write how doing these can benefit the environment and give you a better understanding on climate change.
When you want to go somewhere within 2 miles of location. Walk. DO NOT DRIVE.
Eat plant-based foods.
Eat everything! Well, everything that doesn’t contain any animal products in.
Purchase no plastic bags or plastic bottles.
When you go to the supermarkets, take alternate bags and plan in advance by taking old bottles out with you.
Limit your showers to 1 minute.
Public transport anywhere possible
Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.
You may already be doing some of these which is great! Now give the rest a go and see how you feel! It is so easy to come up with the reasons why you can’t or won’t take part in something but instead, open yourself up and say why not? You are not fixing yourself into anything that is going to be lifelong unless you want it to be and like I said at the start, you could see improvements in health, money and productivity in both a personal and professional self.
None of us like the sight of litter. Litter spoils the look of where we live but that’s not the only reason for picking up litter. There are a number of benefits from picking up litter that you may not have considered before so here are some great reasons to get involved.
Areas where higher levels of litter are present are shown to attract crimes. An area that is not kept clean will give criminals the idea that they will have an easier time committing crimes in an area that is not well looked after. For that reason, it makes sense to keep your neighbourhood clean.
Litter = more litter
People feel they can litter if there is other litter around or see other people littering. For example, if you see a group of people smoking and the first person throws their cigarette butt on the floor then chances are the rest will follow suit. The same works the other way too. People will be less likely to litter if they are in an area with little amount of litter or are surrounded by people who make a conscious effort to discard waste properly.
Send a message
We can all send different messages to people who see us picking litter. If an older person sees somebody younger litter picking or vice versa then that can really help inspire others to get involved to make a real difference. One message resonates and that is to take pride in the place you call home.
I have said it often but every year over 100,000 marine animals are affected by litter pollution. Imagine how much higher that number is when you include animals on land too. Wild animals and domesticated animals are trapped in discarded litter every day around the world so if wildlife is a passion or animals in general then why not get out into nature and collect just one bag of litter! Doing this will help protect the wildlife in your area making sure they are still there in years to come.
Create a community
At first it can seem quite embarrassing, picking up litter. Once you remove yourself from the situation and stop caring what people think them you will soon see that people actually appreciate what you are doing. Why not inspire people to get involved and see if they would like to join you in making a difference. Doing this can be great because it creates a community where people can become friends allowing people to socialise and develop skills that can benefit in both a personal and professional environment.
What bet way to get in to shape than cleaning your local neighbourhood? Not only will it give you more pride in the place that you live or help you get to know your neighbours but because of the walking, lifting and range of movements involved, it also means that spending just 1 hour a week litter is great for your physical health.
Thumbs up to people trying to make a difference.
Saying all that, imagine if you transformed an area with high crime, low community spirit and high obesity rate to the exact opposite just by picking up a few pieces of litter. It seems unbelievable but give it a go and see just how much you can benefit yourself as well as others around you.
Is there anything more inspiring than transformation photos on Instagram? Photos showing a person who was at a low in their life and then one day they decide that enough is enough and so they take control. Then we see a completely new picture, a picture showing what all the hard work and determination has produced. A positive, inspirational and productive person.
I have decided to do the exact same…
…but for litter.
If the Instagram hashtag can inspire more people on a daily basis that we can all control our health and fitness by simply showing people the difference we can make then hopefully, that same hashtag will inspire people to take charge and help protect the environment.
We literally walk past litter on a daily basis. For some of us, it is probably becoming a scene that we are all to familiar with so have grown accustom to it. What will it take for people to see the sad consequences of communities contaminated with litter and the problems it poses? Is it seeing a cat with their head trapped in a can? Maybe it could be seeing a Swan swallowing a plastic bottle cap? Well, if it’s none of those then maybe it could be seeing a young child pick up a plastic bag that was once holding a bag of cocaine and swallowing that…
They may seem like potentially unlikely scenarios but today while I was cleaning this particular area, I saw that all of these scenarios were very likely possible…
On the surface, we see the littered cans and empty crisp packets but when we take just a second and look a little closer, the concern is much worse. To think that so many of these packets were found here along with the cigarette packets and discarded beer cans really is putting a persons life at risk. A cocktail of all these drugs is only an accident waiting to happen, especially next to a canal.
In the space of an 1 hour, it was great to see what a difference was made. An area now free of rubbish (for now anyway) where animals are less likely to be harmed by others ignorance.
Anyway, here are some more of the photos from the first #TransformationTuesday and I hope this can inspire you to even pick up once piece of litter today, tomorrow or forever to help make this planet just a little bit cleaner.
After also nearly falling in the canal (twice!), I also helped out as best I could to clean the bottles so that there were little chance of the animals getting their hands (or beaks rather!) on any materials that shouldn’t really be there.
Clearly, the after pictures look much better than what was here before. It would be great to see that the area is still kept clean next week but if not, then I will be back again until the area is litter free..
Even if you only pick up one piece a day, you are still making a massive difference so give it a go. Help be a part of the solution.
Sir David Attenborough. A national treasure. An inspiration worldwide. A name that will live on long after he’s gone due to his life long passion with nature and dedicating his life to promoting the need for an environment that is clean, sustainable and spectacularly diverse. Is it surprising that his speech during the NTA awards was the only speech to receive a standing ovation from celebrities and move the entire nation to tears?
When you see a man of 91 years old give a speech that captures every person regardless of age, race, religion, gender or other groups, we can clearly see this is something we all care about so we really need to stop and ask…
What can I do to help?
After all, pollution isn’t something that anybody wants; I have never met a person who has been in favour of an ocean full of plastics or streets littered with crushed cans. Here are 5 easy steps that we can all start from today to save us money but more importantly, help protect the planet.
1. Be conscious of the difference we can make and change consumption habits.
One of the biggest differences and easiest ways we can help the planet as consumers is simply by stopping and not purchasing plastic bottles.
+ You will save money not having to keep purchase a new bottle. Simply keep refilling your long lasting bottle.
+ You will be healthier. (If you drink your water from a steel water bottle like this then you will not be consuming micro plastics like most people sadly do when they drink from plastic bottles).
+ You will be helping to stop the rise in the use of plastic. Right now, plastic use is growing at a rate of around 4% every year in Western Europe. An increase is definitely not benefiting the climate due to the amount of oil it takes to make plastic (which we only use for around 12 minutes on average).
+ You will feel better. By drinking from one sustainable bottle shows an increase in productivity, awareness and happiness.
Ripped clothes, empty coffee cans or unwanted shoes. Rather than allowing them to be thrown away or collect dust in a wardrobe, why not try see if you can do something creativewith these materials? Or better yet, see if anybody elsecan do something creativewith these unwanted materials.
I enjoy taking unwanted materials from broken chairs to wine corks to anything else I can get my hands on then handmaking gifts that will give these materials a new purpose, helping to keep the cycle going rather than have even more materials end up in landfill or even worse, the ocean. Be creative and have fun with it!
This literally sounds barbaric. How can changing your toothbrush help the planet? Right now, the majority of people use plastic brushes to brush their teeth. Not only is this badfor your healthbut it could also be harming the environment with the amount of oil it takes to produce billions of unnecessarybrushes every year along with the microplastics going down the sink.
Saying that, why just stop at your toothbrush? If you can find any eco-friendly alternativesto plastic products, then give it a go as it will giveyour possessions much more worth which will give yourself more value. The only reason I say toothbrush is because when you brush every morning and night (well I hope so) then you will be starting your dayand ending your day in a positiveway by reminding yourselfwhat an amazingdifference to the environment you are making.
4. See the differenceyou can makeby becoming a Volunteer.
Most people will say “I don’t litter so I am not part of the problem” and their right. If nobody littered, then we would have a clean environment which would save the UK government hundreds of millions every year. The sad fact is, billions of items are littered around the world and that means they get in water ways, rivers, streams, streets and every other place you can imagine. This has a greater impact that people may realise.
While I am not saying that you must spend every second of every minute picking up littered items, you can still make a difference by getting involved when you have some free time. Even if you pickedup one item a day, over a year that is 364 materials that are less harm to animals all over the world. Maybe you could make a fun activity from volunteering; I spoke to one woman who picks litter with her children. Not only is this a way of spending time with her children but she also told me “it helps me stay active and teach the children the importance of a clean environment”. Parents reading this may think ‘picking litter with my children, that could be dangerous… no way!’. Well, if you are living in the UK, you can actually apply to be a volunteer in your own time and you will receive a complementary pack (shown below) which will allow you to pick litter safely. You can also log your hours, what you have found and feedback for helping to make your local area cleaner and safer.
What you get in your Welcome Pack
Red Bags which you can leave at any public bin for collection.
If you do not live in Lancashire, then you can easily apply online by sending an email to your local council or searching “volunteer litter picker (YOUR TOWN/CITY)”.
It has been proven in a study that people litter less in areas which are free of litter. What would be a better way of getting to know people in your community than all coming together to help clean your neighbourhood?
5. Save money by not purchasing bags from supermarkets.
There is now a minimum charge 5p on plastic bags in the UK in certain stores; rather than hand over a minimum of 5p to companies who are the major culprits for plastic pollution in the first place, take your time to invest in a bag that can not only be used in your day to day life but can also be used to store your groceries in. Plastic bags are so unnecessary, yet they are one of the biggest dangers in the ocean (more dangerous than those Great White Sharks we are warned about! Read about the dangers of plastic bags here).
I think these bags are good as they are strong, light and just much more practical than a plastic bag which really is just making us walking billboards for 12 minutes! (plastic bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes, how crazy is that to think they will be here hundreds of years after we are gone!). Due to amount of harm plastic bags are having, It really is no surprise that more and more companies are avoiding plastering their logos on plastic bags anymore.
As many people have said, “These are not unreasonable steps. They may only be small steps but if people make that effort to help the environment then in just a short amount of time, we will see a huge difference”.
Share this postandlike the page so that you can encourage others to get involved.
The UK fixed penalty fine for a littered cigarette butt is £75. It seems many people are taking their chance when around 200 million cigarettes are discarded daily in the UK alone.
Cigarette litter accounts for one in every five items collected on clean ups across the world ranking it number 1 on the most littered items list. Because of that, we really need to wonder, why is it happening and what can we do to stop cigarette litter completely.
Whether you smoke or not, nobody really enjoys cigarettes. Otherwise, we would probably take the time to put them in the ashtrays of our cars rather than throwing them out the window while driving or maybe we would place them in our pockets until we reach the next bin so that we can dispose of them properly. But why would we want to do that when we know they would ruin our clothes or make our clean cars smell bad? It makes more sense to throw them on the floor and make them somebody else’s problem doesn’t it?
Cigarette litter is a huge threat to the environment; not just in terms of wildlife mistaking the butts for food and dying but also because cigarettes which have not been properly put out are the result of thousands of forests fires every year which are putting people, animals, livelihoods and everything in its path in serious danger.
The average cigarette weighs around 1 gram, that means the finished end weighs no more than .2 of a gram; when you consider this fact, it’s hardly surprising to think that billions of cigarette butts are making their way into our oceans, stream and rivers. This isn’t good for our health when you consider those toxins are coming through the taps we turn on. To think you tell your children the dangers of smoking when really they could be drinking the toxins every time we turn the tap on is rather worrying.
There needs to be a serious change in the way we see cigarette litter. Clearly a £75 fine is not enough as people are still taking the chance daily as they know the probability of being cause is low.
While governments propose tax increase to help cure the cost of cleaning up litter, here are some effective initiatives that have been put in place to reduce cigarette litter which I think are more sustainable;
Cigarette pit falls
Here, one company has started promoting cigarette reduction by creating bins which people and companies can place bins in common littered areas where people passing can throw their cigarettes? Seems ideal! You can still throw your cigarettes on the floor, but you are actually throwing them to be recycled rather than harming the environment, and you don’t even have to go out of your way!
Rewarding people who collect cigarette litter
Would you be likely to give up some of your time if you could receive money for picking up littered cigarette ends? Many people across the world do this for free because they have a passion for outdoors and would like future generations to have the chance to see the outdoors like we can but other people would prefer a physical reward for their time.
That’s why Wellington City councillers in New Zealand introduced a scheme where people can collect littered cigarette butts, take them to a place to be weighed where they will cashed in people to do as they wish with their earnings.
From what I have read here, the scheme came about to reduce the amount of beggars in the inner city which seems quite unethical as it is a way of brushing a serious problem under the carpet. Saying that, I still like the concept and believe that corporations as well as other governments allowing this could create similar schemes to encourage a reduction in cigarette litter.
Cigarette poll bins
Now this is my personal favourite. One clever company, BallotBin, have creatively made bins which have been designed as polls where people vote by placing their discarded cigarette butts. For me, I think this is a very clever of not only getting people to see the amount of cigarette butts that are discarded but it is also a clever way of stopping people to actually finish their cigarette and dispose of the butt in a fun way; hopefully next time that person who needs to discard their cigarette butt will do so correctly.
This week I have not created any particular item from cigarette butts however I have been in contact with my local MP who forwarded my message on to the Director of Environment and Leisure in my local town of Blackburn with Darwen; it is my aim to create bins that will promote cigarette litter by also asking people questions where people vote with their cigarette butts; I will intend to make these bins from littered aluminium cans rather than using new materials. I don’t want to make these though until I have places where I know they will be put to use; the director told me via e-mail that they will discuss my plans with the recycling officer and come back to me shortly so I look forward to that.
Anyway, the next time you go to throw your butt on the floor, take 30 seconds to walk to the bin because chances are, there will be one close by.
Over the next 5 weeks I am re-using the litter I pick to create new items that will give purpose to somebody and hopefully preventing that same plastic from ending up as litter once again.
Last week I used littered plastic bags which you can read about here. The focus this week is on re-using plastic bottle caps. Something small but when you consider its purpose, chances are a littered bottle cap equals a littered plastic bottle as it serves no use anymore. You may probably still say that a plastic bottle is only small and insignificant but when we stop to consider that it takes 400-1000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose then that soon adds up over just a persons’ lifetime!
According to a guardian report in June 2017, A million plastic bottles are purchased around the world every minute. Those millions of barrels of oil being wasted to produce these dangerous plastic bottles every year could be put to better use such as fuelling cars, communities or better yet, being left in the ground so that we are actually helping to reduce sea temperatures from rising and meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Rather than using sustainable alternatives, unfortunately production in plastic bottles has increased and is expected to increase even further in the coming years which can only foresee a sad future whether it’s for you, me, an animal on the endangered list or some small town that is prone to droughts or floods.
If those Polar bears in the Arctic are to stand any chance of survival, then change must happen while we still have time.
Here are two simple but effective steps you can take that will help towards a sustainable future, one where Polar bears are no longer endangered;
Deposit Return Scheme
Countries all over the world have introduced plastic bottle return schemes and given the success of the scheme, it is now time for the UK to get implement that same scheme so that there is a reduction in the amount of bottles ending up in our oceans, streets and beaches.
Not only will you be helping the environment, but you will also be giving yourself the chance to get cash back for your bottles. Think about all those drinks you had over the Christmas period and the money you could save! For the Polar Bears, take 30 seconds and sign the petition at Greenpeace below to show that you would like a plastic bottle deposit scheme in the UK.
Making the change from using plastic bottles to suddenly never using them again can seem like a hard thing to do. An easier start for yourself may be focusing on just one change to a more sustainable bottle. For example, the next time you do your shopping, instead of purchasing the drink you like in the plastic bottle, try and find the same or similar drink but in a more sustainable packaging like cardboard or paper. If you can’t find an alternative, then you really need to ask if that drink is value for money considering what it is doing to the environment.
They may seem like very simple steps but with more and more people making those small changes and supporting change really does help to create a sustainable future.
As I said at the start, this week I have been focusing on using plastic bottle caps that have been littered to create something that promotes for a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. I had a lot of fun trying to make a bunch of different things with the bottle caps and if you have children, grandchildren or even pupils then you could really make some fun projects while also teaching the importance of keeping our environment clean.
It wouldn’t be a blog if I didn’t somehow create a coaster. Check out my other coasters made from litter here!
Littered plastic bottle caps transformed into a unique drink coaster.
If you like what I do then take your time to give my page a like to stay up to date with other ways we can reduce litter. Also, if you like my creations then check out my shop to see a whole range of handmade gifts that have been made from littered materials!
Week 1 – Plastic containers
Week 2 – Plastic Bags
Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)
Week 4 – Cigarette butts – This will be scheduled for the 21/01/2018.