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.
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.