Guest Blog
In Be Kind on 19/04/17
Two cocktails with fruit decorations and plastic straws

Single Use Plastics

”Be the change you wish to see in the world” Gandhi

Love it or hate it, plastic is here to stay. Sadly, plastic never goes away which makes it a huge problem for the environment.  Just look around and you will see plastic in all shapes and sizes littering the roadsides, tangled in the bushes and washed up on our beautiful, once pristine, beaches.

Some beaches around the world now have more tiny particles of plastic than sand and marine life also mistake these tiny particles for plankton which means that the food chain is contaminated.  This leads to many health issues due to the chemicals that are used in production, one of the worse being Bisphenol-A, more commonly known as BPA. This is an endocrine disruptor meaning it can alter hormones and has also been linked to breast and prostrate cancer, increasing levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and declining sperm counts.

Plastic is difficult to avoid as the majority of packaging contains plastic, adding to the ever growing problem. It is possible however to reduce your plastic footprint by making a few simple changes:

Drinking straws

It is estimated that McDonald’s alone pumps out about 3.5 million straws every single day in the UK alone!  Straws are one of the most common items found on beach clean ups, the problem is so bad that some places have now banned plastic straws from being served in beach front hotels.

What you can do

Ask for your drink without a straw.  If you really like straws consider purchasing a reusable one made from steel, glass or bamboo. This set of 4, complete with cleaning bristle, is £4

Water bottles

Many of us are fortunate to live in countries where the tap water safe to drink, and available from multiple taps in each premises.  Yet we spend hundreds of pounds a year on bottled water which usually comes in single use plastic bottles.  It is estimated that Americans use 167 disposable water bottles a year but only recycled 38.  And although it is thought bottled water is better quality that tap water, that’s not often the case.

What you can do

Carry a reusable bottle with you in your car, carry-on holiday luggage (minus the water for security, refilled air-side), on walks, on the beach…

This Chilly’s water bottle costs £20

Click here for more information on the impact of plastic bottles

Shopping bags

According to the EPA, between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. These bags are used for an average of 12 minutes, but they remain in our landfills, oceans, parks and beaches for thousands of years. The production of plastic bags requires the use of billions of pounds of fossil fuels as well as billions of gallons of fresh water. The manufacturing process results in billions of pounds of solid waste and millions of tons of CO2 every year.  On top of this, animals accidentally eat them which causes illness and sometimes death.

What you can do

Carry your own reusable, preferably cloth, shopping bags to the store. You can even make your own bags from old t-shirts with no sewing.

This bag from Lakeland costs £2.59

Takeaway containers and cutlery

Takeaway food typically comes with plastic cutlery, and some coffee shops even serve up single use plastic spoons to stir coffee, yikes!

What you can do

Take your own container to the takeaway counter if you can, or reuse the one they give you.  Also consider carrying a reusable cutlery set.

This cutlery set costs £6.99

Lanterns and balloons

We’ve probably all seen images of the lovely lantern release ceremonies in Asia and at parties.  However many birds and animals are killed from choking on balloons or becoming entangled in the lanterns.

What you can do

Don’t buy balloons and lanterns for parties and special events and avoid releasing into the environment.

Click here for more information on the environmental impact of lanterns and balloons

Coffee pods

It is estimated that, if placed end-to-end the coffee pods used to date would circle the globe more than 10.5 times!  Almost all of them end up in landfills.

Another consideration are the many concerns about toxins leaching out of plastic products into our food and drinks.

What you can do

In coffee shops ask for fresh coffee, and use fresh coffee in your holiday home or hotel room – many destinations have their own local fresh coffee you can try.

Beauty products

A popular addition to facial scrubs, body washes and even toothpaste is the little plastic microbead, used to help scrub, exfoliate and clean the body.  One product, Neutrogena’s “Deep Clean” was found to contain around 360,000 beads in one single tube.   Many sewage treatment facilities do not capture microbeads, so they end up in the ocean and in our food chain.  This is just one of many ways our beauty products pollute the environment.

What you can do

  • Natural alternatives such as apricot kernel shells and jojoba beads are increasingly being used as a substitute. Consider boycotting companies who include microbeads in their products such as Colgate, Crest, Axe, Dove, Neutrogena and the Body Shop.
  • Buy a toothbrush made from bamboo
  • Use a proper razor and blades instead of disposables
  • Choose paper instead of plastic cotton buds

Click here for more information on microbeads

It is everyone’s responsibility to protect this one place we have to live – planet earth – small changes can make a huge difference.

More information

Ban the Bottle


Plastic Free July

My Plastic Free Life

Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge

Balloons Blow



Guest Bio

This blog was written in conjunction with Lynn Robinson.

Lynn is originally from Yorkshire, England and has lived in the Turks & Caicos Islands since 2002 working  as a scuba diving instructor and professional mermaid, entertaining children on the Undersea Explorer.
Passionate about the environment she actively encourages others to change the way they live by being conscious about single use plastics.  She regularly takes part in island clean-ups along with cleaning up litter while out walking with her two island dogs, Frolic and Micky.
Lynn’s other passion is running, she has completed various marathons, ultra marathons, Iron Man Texas and a multi day stage race in Northern Spain.   She is a strict healthy vegan, not just for the animals but for the planet and for the people, and to assist in sports performance and quicker recovery times.
I met Lynn when I stayed with her via Airbnb, along with her dogs, chickens and the foster rescue puppies she cares for before they are adopted overseas via Potcake Place.  Lynn has inspired me to reduce my use of plastics and to eat a healthier, plant based diet.  Lynn’s positive impact on the environment, boundless energy, clear skin and sparkly eyes are testament to the benefits of her lifestyle.

You can follow her journey on