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Plastic bag or Jellyfish?

Plastic bag or Jellyfish? This is a constant question for Turtles swimming in Oceans across the world due to the amount of plastic bags being littered every year globally.

According to a study led by Queensland University, 52% of Turtles worldwide have consumed plastic or other human rubbish. Of the 7 species of Turtles, 6 of those species have found a place on the endangered list. Wouldn’t it be a shame if future generations couldn’t see those Turtles in open waters, where they belong?

 

Instagram: @j.r.j.w swimming free diving with an Hawksbill Turtle on Christmas Day. Thank you for letting me use this video Jacob.

Plastic bags are just one of the many problems that marine life face in the oceans due to of the amount of time it takes for materials to degrade but also because it can easily be mistaken for food. It’s for that reason that this week I am using littered plastic bags to re-create something that we can re-use rather than throw away.

jellyfish 5 

Take the picture above as an example. A Turtle could easily mistake the plastic bag for a Jellysish. Floating, same size and similar in look, it’s easy to see why plastic bags, balloons and other similar materials are helping to put Turtles on the endangered list.

 

What can we do?

Thankfully, Governments, Businesses and consumers are becoming aware of this problem and action is being taken to reduce the amount of plastic bags we use every single year.

Businesses are beginning to make the transition to no longer offer plastic bags as a way of packaging; instead ethical businesses are pushing for a cleaner and more sustainable environment by offering paper bags, cotton bags and some even using eco-friendly bags which are made from natural starches and vegetable waste. Check out this post to see 6 creative alternatives to plastic bags. (Number 2 is my favourite!)

Governments around the world are becoming aware of the cost involved to clean up litter. In 2015, the UK government implemented a law where any business employing over 250 people are required to charge a minimum of 5p for any single-use plastic carrier bag. The proceeds from the single-use plastic bag sales are not taxed, instead companies are expected to invest the proceeds to worthy causes. This is definitely a start as some of the top retailers such as Tesco reported a drop in the amount of single-use carrier bags being sold. Read all about why there is a plastic bag charge here. 

Businesses and Governments are not making these changes because they believe it is the right thing to do, they are making these changes thanks to a growing concern from consumers who want to see businesses and governments acting ethically for the interest of sustainability as well as environmental organisations like Greenpeace putting pressure on Governments and Businesses to act ethically .

 

Week 2: Trash to Treasure (Re-using littered plastic bags)

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.

This weeks material I had to use was littered plastic bags.

To be honest, I found it quite difficult creating something completely different with the plastic bags. At the end of the day, it’s a plastic bag; what am I suppose to create other than a bag!

I started by fusing different layers of plastic bags together with wax paper in between to prevent the plastic melting and emitting fumes. It took a while to do this and to say it’s a first go, I am happy with the results and here are just a few of the results which give you an idea what we all can do with littered plastic bags rather than allowing them to end up in our oceans or on our streets.

 

upcycled plastic bags with small upcycled coin pouches
An idea what we can do with littered plastic; 3 small wallet/purses and a larger bag to protect belonging at the beach or by the pool.
upcycled plastic bag
The larger pouch gives plenty of room to protect belongings.

As you can see, I have created something a little bit different here. For people that enjoy going to the beach, camping or relaxing by the pool on holiday then the larger bags would be perfect as the plastic is strong and would prevent water coming through yet it is also light for practical use and can easily be rolled up for easy storage.

As this is is a first go, I am really pleased with the results and just like with the littered plastic containers I used last week, I will be using these again in the future.

 

Anyway, let me know what you think and please let me know some other practical items I could create which may be of benefit to you so that we can reduce the amount of litter we see on our streets and in our oceans.

 

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags 

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)

plastic bottle caps

 

Week 4 – cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium

 

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Week 1: Trash to Treasure (Re-using Plastic)

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.

 

plastic containers
Plastic containers that I collected for re-use

 

Why do we need change?

  • Plastic is not sustainable as it takes hundreds of years for just a single plastic bottle to degrade.
  • Microplastic can be found in the fish we buy, the bottles of water we drink and the taps we turn on; again, this is not good for our health.
  • Plastics are made from fossil fuels; 195 counties came together and agreed they will do everything to stop global temperatures rising. (You can read the key parts of the Paris Agreement here)

There are many reasons why we should be making the transition from plastic to sustainable materials but here are just a few images showing the impact plastic is having on our environment from all over the world.

 

 

Fortunately, more and more people are making that change and helping the environment. Thanks to social media and the power of the internet, we are becoming more aware of the problems we face but from that, we are also being shown creative ways that we can reduce these problems.

re using plastic soda bottles
An artist is creatively re-using littered plastic bottles to create strong furniture.

 

Earlier this week, a friend sent me this video showing an artist collecting plastic soft drink bottles and re-using the plastic bottles to create structurally strong furniture. This is obviously only a start and them same bottles could be used for many practical reasons.

 

 

So, here are the containers that I collected last week. Different plastics have different properties meaning they various melting points and behave differently; these particular ones are HDPE plastic with a melting point around 160degrees celcius. Once you reach the melting point, the plastic becomes almost putty like and gives off no fumes. This is the first time I have used the plastics so I am still getting to terms with using it but I can definitely see some great uses rather than letting the plastics end up as litter.

products created from hdpe
Not perfect but for a first attempt, you can see the different items we can create using littered plastic.
leftover hdpe
Any left over plastic can be used again rather than throwing it away.

 

During the week, with the plastic I collected, I created 3 juggling balls, 2 coasters and 2 tent pegs. Though they are not perfect, you can see that these are completely different from what they were originally.  By re-using these plastics, we can save money from having to purchase the same items in shops; take tent pegs for example, instead of purchasing new ones you could simply make your own as they are just as strong.

I will come back to this again and use HDPE to create other practical items that will be just as good as something you can purchase in a shop (I need some strong moulds though as the plastic does change during the cooling period).

 

Anyway, let me know what you think and please let me know some other practical items I could create which may be of benefit to you so that we can reduce the amount of litter we see on our streets and in our oceans.

 

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags (I have pushed the plastic bottle caps back a week because I still need more for the idea I have; there are lots of plastic bottle caps out there on the street but I need more!! Sunday, I will be re-using littered plastic bags)

plastic bags.jpg

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps

Week 4 – cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium

 

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Don’t be a tosser.

Around 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year. When you consider the impact it’s having on the environment, we need to ask, why? how? and who?

Litter is becoming a growing problem due to a number of different factors such as a growing population, technological advancement and a change in consumer patterns along with many other demographically challenging issues such as economic wealth, education and weather patterns. It seems there use to be a time where if something you owned was broken, you would fix it. Now a days it seems there has been a shift in mentality where for some, it’s just as easy to throw the item away and buy a new one.

We haven’t just changed the way we buy clothes or the way we use our phones. A change in the way we consume food has also helped with the litter problem. Since 2014, fast food outlets in England alone have increased by 4,000. Chances are, if you live near a takeaway then you will have witnessed plastic forks, cardboard pizza boxes or plastic bags floating about the streets. This isn’t to say the people shopping there are littering, litter could be happening from the weather sweeping the materials from the bins because they are just overfull with rubbish.

Compared with generations older than myself, I think that our lifestyles have also changed. We are much busier now, we snack more and with that, purchase more products. All of these purchases that we do not necessarily need carry unwanted tags, extra buttons or fancy packaging which really do not do the environment any favours at all. It would be interesting to see if you could remove all those unnecessary additions to have the products at a cheaper price. That would surely benefit both the business and consumer wouldn’t it?

litter lot 1
A lighter; you could have one lighter and keep refilling that but people see it just as easy to buy a new one. Sadly, producing even more unnecessary plastic.

Saying that, how do we know about those new burgers at KFC, upcoming music festival or new takeaway that’s opened down the road? Advertising. We can all relate to the paper menus coming through the letterbox or the flyers we have taken from the person stood in town. Do these advertising methods even work in terms of sales because it seems all the flyers just end up in the next bin. Truth is, it will help much more if you add a ‘NO JUNK MAIL‘ to your door or letter box and say ‘NO’ if you don’t want one (it will save you time and stress from having to keep getting rid of them). Hopefully that way, businesses will get the message that wasting paper just isn’t worth their money too.

Every Sunday, I take just a little bit of time out my day to pick up some litter in my local area. Every little bit counts after all. Today, while walking, I was wondering to myself, “Could this litter just end up as litter again?” The answer is obviously yes, there is no guarantee that even if I recycle the materials properly, they could easily fall out of a lorry or wherever and end up in the ocean which is obviously what I do not want…

My focus today was to collect as many plastic containers as my arms would let me. Instead of disposing of these items properly, I will use the materials and give them a completely new purpose; that way, somebody can enjoy a product which offers value.

Here are a list of 5 common littered materials that I find on my walks and over the next 5 weeks, I will be using the materials and creating something completely different to help us think about litter differently.

Week 1 – Plastic Containers

plastic containers

Week 2 – Bottlecaps

Week 3 – Plastic Bags

Week 4 – Cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium cans.

 

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#Litterati

Introducing Litterati, an innovative mobile app developed to create a litter free world.

 

Social media is an ever growing platform and with a growing population… so is litter! Litterati is a community that’s working together to clean the planet, one bit of litter at a time. It’s a really unique way of making the litter problem known because so many people are now connected to social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

With over 200,000 posts on Instagram, it’s clear to see that the person who created the app is making a massive difference thanks to individuals coming together and sharing their data on litter.

bench litter

Why is the app so important?

Personally, this app is so important for three reasons.

  • Motivation – most people that are trying to solve the litter problem probably feel as if it’s a never ending battle but this app creates a community where people can be inspired, motivated while also sharing stories with other people who are interested in making a difference. (Just check out #Litterati on Instagram to see the difference people are making around the world!)
  • Most common littered items – Although you can not create an exact image of the person who is littering, we can become more aware of places that are being most littered by geo-tagging and also tagging which items are picked up, e.g. straws, McDonalds cups, beer cans, cigarettes etc.) This is really useful because it allows services which work with litter to strategically plan for a reduction in litter whether that be placing public bins in littered hot spots or having signs to deter people from littering.
  • Business Inspiration – Litterati allows us to see some of the most littered materials wherever you want which can help to inspire businesses to create alternatives which will help reduce the most littered items. Plastic straws are one of the most littered products on the app, did you know we can now get biodegradable paper straws! Imagine if companies like Mcdonalds Incorporated that; they could make a huge impact across the world.

litterati 2

How the app started

Litterati all started thanks to a person called Jeff Kitschner. In fact, he says he was inspired by his daughter when he was walking on the hills of San Francisco Bay with her and she noticed a piece of litter. Looking puzzled, she.stopped to tell her Dad that the litter doesn’t belong there. This wasn’t the first time Jeff stumbled across Litter but when his daughter told him, it made him aware of how big of a problem litter is.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, when children become involved in problems, it’s then when people start to take notice.

 

stall 1

Todays Blog is only short because I have been busy doing my first stall today selling handmade items which I have collected from picking litter, businesses as well as friends and family members saving materials they would normally throw out. The stall went well and it turns out that people really like recycled gifts that have a story behind them (after all, it’s helping to keep our streets clean).

All of us can make a massive difference in the way we see litter so I’m going to leave three challenges which are really easy to do;

  1. Download the litterati app and for just one week, take a picture of one piece of litter (do more if you want!) and post it on instagram or just the app with the hashtag #Litterati.
  2. Share this post. Let people know that they can make a massive difference by being a part of a community that wants to create a sustainable environment.
  3. Ask one person what they think about Litter.  This is definitely the easiest to do. Whether you have a break at work or your waiting for I’m a celeb to come on, ask just one person (anybody you want) what they think of litter.

I’m pretty sure that everybody is in the same boat and would love to see a clean environment. Anyway, Let me know what you think of Litterati and have a look to see which areas are most commonly littered where you live, you’ll be surprised how many people are using this app!

 

 

Change.

Have you ever witnessed a Swan purchasing a bottle of Lambrini or a Blue Tongue Lizard purchasing a plastic pipe?

Have you ever witnessed a Swan purchasing a bottle of Lambrini or a Blue Tongue Lizard purchasing a plastic pipe? The answer to those questions is probably no so my next question is… Why is there so much litter lying around?

clean up

On a Sunday morning in December, the last thing you want to do is go out into the cold weather and pick up Litter that other people have left on the floor. Luckily though, and I use that term loosely, I don’t have to walk very far to fill this bag with waste collected along a canal path. (No more than 500 metres which is rather worrying.)

It’s worrying for a few different reasons;

ANIMALS ARE BEING HARMED.

blue tongue lizard
A Blue Tongue Lizard trapped inside plastic piping in Australia before a person has to set it free while working with a friend on behalf of Greenpeace Australia.

It’s impossible to put an exact figure on just how many Animals are affected by litter every year across the world but we have all seen videos of Sea Turtles with straws stuck up their nostrils or Dolphins trapped in nets unable to set themselves free. Everybody can relate to Animals and it’s sad to consider that millions of Animals die globally due to consuming the waste thinking it is food or getting trapped.

It’s a danger to people

pigeon dead

These photos that I take along with other people are not taken in remote places where other people can not get to, they are taken in places where everybody is free to roam and it’s worrying that a child could be out one day playing with a dead pigeon or falling over and cutting themselves on broken glass. Does it not make sense to give children a clean environment to play where you know they will be safe?

 

What can we do?

plastic

Nobody wants to be the reason that a species goes extinct. After all,  Sir David Attenborough would be out of work and we would all miss the Blue planet documentaries!

Right now, 50% of all the worlds plastic goes into items that are only used once! If people can make the change from single use plastic in just a few of the items they use then that is a massive impact we will have on the environment. Here are three changes which I have made and it’s actually healthier, saves money and still makes a huge difference on the envrionment.

 

  1. Say NO to single use plastic straws

mcds.jpg

Why? 

  • Sea Turtles do not deserve to be swimming with these in their nostrils. Imagine the pain.
  • Millions of plastic straws are discarded every day. Toxins from plastic go in waterways contaminating water quality.

 

2) Invest in a re-usable bottle. 

bottleplastic bottle

Why?

  • You save money from constantly having to purchase new water plastic water bottles. This website says that 25% of bottled water is sourced from the tap!
  • It’s healthier; many bottled drink contain toxin which is not natural for your body. If you drink from a material which is much stronger and less likely to carry these toxins then that can only be a plus! The bottle I use above here.
  • Plastic is just not sustainable so going through plastic bottles like there is no tomorrow is going to result in… a bad tomorrow for somebody or something.

 

3) Change starts with you

Talk about litter because most people are in the same boat but many people just feel they don’t know how they can help or where to even start! If you like this post then share it with your friends and family because litter is affecting everybody.

Is there any point?

According to the Litter Strategy published in April 2017, over £750m has been spent cleaning up street litter in the UK in just a single year. To put that number into perspective here are some of the budget plans for 2017;

  • £100m to place more GPs in accident and emergency departments for next winter
  • New funding totalling £20m to support the campaign against violence against women and girls
  • £540m to support the growth of electric cars, including more charging points
  • £40m teacher training fund for underperforming schools in England. Worth £1,000 per teacher

 

 

litter 2

 

Just at a glance, it’s not surprising that 81% of people are angry and frustrated by the amount of litter lying all over the country. When you look at the budget plans for this year, an extra £750m would make a significant difference to services we can all relate to and much rely on such as education, health and green energy.

 

litter 3

 

Reducing litter pollution is something that can benefit the whole country no matter where you are, what you do for a living or the views you may have. Saying that, creating a clean environment shouldn’t be an endless battle, expensive or even stop us doing the things we enjoy.

Instead, it should be fun, save money and make a real difference that inspires every generation including the next so here are three simple solutions that will help for a cleaner environment;

  1. Make the change from single use plastic bags to bags for life.

The average family takes home around 1500 single use plastic bags each year. When you consider those family shops to the supermarket, gifts you buy for your friends and those snacks you buy when you go to the petrol station, it’s not surprising that 1500 soon adds up over the year; when you consider the fact that single use plastic bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes, we need to ask… Is it worth the damage it’s having on the environment?

Fact: The amount of petroleum used to make one plastic bag would reportedly power a car 115 metres. 14 plastic bags = 1 mile.

 

How does a bag for life help you?

  • Using a bag for life could save you over £70 a year and that soon adds up if you are taking home over 1500 single use plastic bags every year.
  • It looks better; Have a look around and pick a bag that represents you. Something that you value and makes you smile. Also, bags for life are not huge meaning you will probably only fit in the necessities rather than impulse spending and that can surely only be a good thing can’t it?

How does a bag for life benefit the environment?

  • 100,000 marine animals alone are killed by plastic bags annually; it seems unnecessary considering we only use them for an average of 12 minutes.
  • Only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled meaning the rest end up in landfill or in the environment. Plastic bags can never be fully broken down meaning the toxins and microplastics could end up in our drinking water; by making the change, it’s going to produce cleaner drinking water which can only be a good thing.

Where to buy?

After a quick search on google, here are a few sites where you can pick up bags for life with many different designs;

https://ethical.market/women/ethical-bags-purses/ethical-tote-bags.html?dir=asc&order=price – (Range of ethical bags £5.50 being the lowest price)

https://thecleverbaggers.co.uk/cotton-carrier-bags-with-short-handles-6-pack (£5.76 for a set of 6 multi-coloured cotton shopping bags)

2) Get children involved.

If you have children and they are in school, then chances are that they will already be aware of litter pollution from teachers talking about this and getting them involved with helping to keep the playground clean. As adults, it’s probably become part of the daily routine for us to see litter in the street, canals, rivers and every other place it really shouldn’t be. The only way that we can reduce litter is by getting everybody involved and that includes children so the next time you are at a place with your child or children and litter stands out, see what your children think of the issue;

“What do you think of all that rubbish over there?”

“What does all that rubbish over there do?”

“Is that rubbish harming anybody?”

These are just a few questions you could ask to get them thinking but when young people talk about these issues, that’s when we can make a massive difference because it’s then when more people pay attention.

3) Dispose of cigarette ends.

So simple but again, it makes a massive difference. Something so small is having huge impact on the environment right now. Dropping one may seem insignificant but when you combine that with the amount consumed over a year… it equates to over 200 tons of cigarette butts in the UK being littered every year. Don’t worry though… it’s not just the UK guilty of this. In fact, globally, approximately 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered every year. Nobody wants to be the reason why a leatherback turtle chokes on one of these so just take an extra 30 seconds to dispose of the butt properly. Plus it avoids any £75 on the spot fines for throwing them on the floor (think how many cigarettes you could smoke with £75!).

Fact: 80% of butts on the ground find their way into our water systems and detract from the quality of our drinking water. 

 

On a brighter note… Christmas is coming! This is another time for you to be creative in the gifts that you buy for loved ones. I am creating handmade drink coasters which have been made partly or entirely from waste materials to promote for a clean, healthy & sustainable environment along with waste cardboard for the packaging of the products. If you haven’t bought somebody a Christmas gift yet, click the link below to find some small gifts and get them in time for Christmas with free postage to anywhere in Europe.

Click here for handmade gifts

How did it come to this?

The reason why RestoreRevolution started.

Surely this isn’t normal? A baby monitor lizard going about their day through literally… a sea of trash!

For me, this is the photograph that made me want to change.

Rewind nearly two years and I left my job in England to go travelling so that I could learn new cultures, see new places and meet new people from around the world. The adventure didn’t disappoint and it’s everything I imagined; in fact, the trip has inspired me to start my first blog!

Travelling, it meant that 24 hours of each day belonged to me, I didn’t have work to contend with (unless I needed money) so it meant finding interesting things to do to occupy my time with, whether it be going to see some temples in Thailand or swimming with sharks down under. In this photo, my time was spent watching a baby monitor lizard go about his or her day jumping from rubbish… to dead fish… back to rubbish and so on, in the Chao Phraya river, Thailand.

litter in thailand

Litter is something that every single one of us can relate to; the other day, I read a fact that there will be more plastic in the ocean than there is fish by 2050. I’m not sure how they work that fact out but it seems really sad to imagine that because of consumerism, animals are suffering. For me, we can make a massive difference but more ownership should be put on businesses rather than the customers because it’s businesses that are creating and packaging the products me and you buy.

RestoreRevolution – An innovative company utilising waste materials to promote for a clean, healthy & sustainable future. FOR TODAY. FOR TOMORROW.

RestoreRevolution Logo

I hope you like the logo. Business has always been a passion for me and so has the outdoors. What better way to enjoy the two than combining them together; spending time in the outdoors to find waste materials I can somehow use to create handcrafted items that hopefully give more value than items which are mass produced by a robot, damage the environment and lack originality. Saying that, using waste materials may mean that some of the products I make do not have the straightest of edges or they may carry the odd scar here and there but for me that shows that these materials all have their own unique story.

The products are handcrafted partly from waste materials, the packaging is handcrafted from waste materials and this is a new art I am constantly improving to highlight the need for litter reduction to help our environment.

Please have a look around at my shop page, about page and remember to give the Facebook page a like to stay up to date with my blog posts.

M.P