Simple Switches that make a big difference. Part One.
I think it's pretty safe to say we are all aware of the various methods we can be kinder to our planet. You know, reduce, reuse, recycle. Turn off lights, don't run the tap and reduce water waste. There are countless, many other important ways but you know, its common knowledge that we do these things.
In recent years I have made two other important switches in relation to personal care that I wanted to share, because I believe that simply making smarter choices can have far reaching consequences, not just for our health and well being but for our children and generations to come, and the planet at large.
Ever think about your beloved toothbrush after its been retired?
EVERY YEAR over 4.7 billion toothbrushes that will never biodegrade end up in landfill or in our oceans. I'm guessing you've seen the haunting images of plastic filled sea creature carcasses, If not, google machine it. It's not pretty.
Or have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Its basically a giant pile of garbage floating about our beautiful North Pacific ocean. Find out more from National Geographic here. Basically our toothbrushes and many other personal care items, lids of beer bottles etc end up here! It starts as one giant pile that doesn't degrade, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and these end up inside whales, birds, plastic ends up trapping and killing our sea life.
Some positivity - a feasibility study, crowdfunded by a group of over 100 experts in the areas of engineering, oceanography, ecology, maritime law, finance and recycling have come up with a plan, based on an idea by a 19 year old Dutch man, Boyan Slat.
"Slat’s concept uses the natural ocean currents and winds to passively transport plastic towards a collection platform. Instead of using nets and vessels to remove the plastic from the water, solid floating barriers are used to make entanglement of sea life impossible. By deploying the proposed system for ten years, almost half of the plastic within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be removed". (The Ocean Cleanup June 2014).
Back to your beloved toothbrush. Gross, right?? Can you imagine the work we would save Boyan and our landfills if we switched to using a toothbrush that you could put in your compost after you were done? Happily, there is such a thing! I (and my little boys, my biggest doth protest) started using bamboo toothbrushes over 2 years ago with absolutely no change or ill effects in our tooth brushing experience. I am fortunate enough to be able to buy the brushes at my local health store but you can easily order online here and get all the necessary information.
Just one small choice, Try and imagine it. 4.7 billion toothbrushes a year!