Electric Vehicles and the Environmental Impact Net Effect

As divided as the world appears to be on topics such as the environmental impact of oil and other fossil fuels, I think a shift towards green sources of energy is inevitable. If it’s not a matter of what we’re doing to our only home environment, then it’s a matter that hits us where it matters most, which is in our pockets. The big oil companies have the capital resources to invest in cleaner sources of energy and in some way they’re being forced to jump on board, such as how some of their biggest clients in the motor manufacturing industry are increasingly using hybrid engines.

Speaking of cars, Dayinsure, which is one of the UK’s leading short-term car insurance firms, commissioned a survey of UK driving opinions. Different questions were asked, one very interesting one is that of whether or not hands-free kits should be illegal. You would think that it’s a straight-forward question, or rather one which is overly simplistic, but when you consider the stats associated with the safety surrounding the use of hands-free kits in comparison to using handheld devices, some interesting perspectives around the debate develop.

It very quickly gets established that things aren’t quite what they seem…

The same can be said of the question which asks if non-electric cars should be made illegal and I guess this is more in line with the main topic of this particular post.

If anything, this provokes a healthy debate which has us looking into the net effect of the intended laws which we are to progress around environmental affairs. 25% of the people who took the survey think non-electric cars should me made illegal.

This means that 75% oppose this move, but does that mean these people don’t care for the environment, or that they’re perhaps part of the lucrative global fossil fuels market?

Probably not… And here’s why:

I’m probably one of the staunchest supporters of the environmentalism movement, right? However, I think the net effect of our efforts to conserve the environment should be taken into account. Look, the UK already plans to ban a sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, which makes for a strong statement as far as the UK Government’s efforts in forcing environmental reform.

However, in thinking about this mentioned net effect, it becomes a matter of asking ourselves the critical question of where the energy to power what would be fully electric vehicles would come from. This is how we take into account the net effect.

I mean it doesn’t help if you’ll be charging up at a charging station whose stored power supply is generated in the traditional ways that have been identified to be bad for the environment, such as using fossil fuels like coal.

I think if we’re going to go electric as a means through which to focus more on cleaner energy, we’ll have to go fully renewable, even with the original sources which power up the charging stations all our electric vehicles will be charging up at.

A guide to ditching plastics in 2020

It’s time to get serious about reducing our plastic use. According to scientists our oceans will be so polluted with plastics by 2050, that there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans. Over eight million bits of plastic and microplastics are released into the ocean every day across the globe. It is clearly time to take action. Making small changes to your lifestyle can make a huge difference and it’s easy to get started. Where The Trade Buys, who specialise in case bound book printing, share their expertise on how you can ditch plastics for good in 2020.

  1. Ditch the plastic bags and straws

Luckily, these items are becoming less commonplace in the UK today. However, it can still be difficult to avoid them at times. When you pick up a takeaway for example, don’t be afraid to say no to the excess plastic bags your food is wrapped in. 

  • Make the switch to reusable water bottles and coffee cups

Takeaway coffee cups are a major source of waste material and plastic bottles take a shocking 450 years to decompose. With this in mind, it is more pressing than every to make the switch to reusable items. KeepCups and Chilly’s Bottles are popular brands that focus on sustainable products.

  • Choose ‘zero waste’ shops

Thankfully, zero waste shops are becoming far more common in the UK. The idea of zero waste shops is that they sell produce with absolutely no plastic packaging. Switching up your shopping routine and choosing a zero-waste shop would be a great habit to get into in 2020. You can find a list of zero waste shops and where to find them here.

  • Opt for a bamboo toothbrush

Plastic toothbrushes take 400 years to decompose, and if you consider how many you go through in a lifetime, the life span of them all is shocking. A bamboo toothbrush on the other hand, only takes five to ten years — minimal in comparison!

  • Use beeswax instead of clingfilm

Sustainable food storage is another factor that people often forget to consider. We throw away single use clingfilm without a second thought, because it seems like such a necessity within our lives. Now however, there are plenty of alternatives to use if you want to go plastic free. Beeswrap, for example, is a ‘natural alternative to plastic wrap’ which can be used time and time again.

  • Ditch plastic bottles in favour of soap bars

Shampoo and hand soap always seem to come with excess plastic packaging. There is simply no need to coat these items in plastic, as they work perfectly well in bar form. This is another tiny switch that will make little difference to your daily routine but really help out the environment. 

  • Use a refill station for washing up liquid and detergents

Instead of chucking out the plastic bottle when your washing up liquid runs out, hold on to it and get it refilled! Lots of sustainable shops now offer this service, making it easier than ever to opt for refills rather than wasting more plastic.

  • Shop and spend less

This last one is essential, although perhaps not as easy as the other lifestyle changes. Every time you buy something, especially online, it is likely to come swaddled in needless layers of plastic. If you cut down on this spending, you could make a real environmental change.

  • Switch to sustainable Tupperware

Along the same theme, consider switching to sustainable Tupperware. There are plenty of alternatives to wasteful plastic Tupperware, such as bamboo, glass, or stainless-steel alternatives. Oxfam do a great range!

  1. Buy your fruit and veg unpackaged or grow your own

Many supermarkets are now making switch to packaging free products. If you have the option, choose to load up brown paper bags with fruit and vegetables rather than choosing pre-package food.   Alternatively, you could grow your own veg in a greenhouse or allotment. It’s easy to take the first steps towards reducing your plastic use. They will soon become second nature! If everyone chips in and makes an effort towards sustainability, we will see a reduced amount of plastic pollution our oceans.

Does your time-of-the-month routine effect the environment?

We have become increasingly aware of how much human activity can affect the environment. Narratives such as climate change have become harder to dismiss.  This gradual surge in awareness has targeted aspects of life with an amplified call for a change in behaviours. Even the smallest aspects of our daily routines can be associated with causing harm to the environment. 

Contributing to this is the sanitary sector. Many women take the disposal of sanitary products for granted. But the truth is that they are a huge contributor to environmental damage. The Women’s Environmental Network has found that, on average, a woman will use more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products over her lifetime. This produces a staggering amount of waste. While periods are a reality that we cannot avoid, we could be managing the waste they are associated with in a cleaner, eco-friendlier way. Join Lil-Lets and explore this idea further.  

The link between periods and the environment

The majority will be prepared to deal with our periods using all our favorite essential products. However, the plastic content of many of the sanitary products that we rely on is having a detrimental effect on the environment. 

Let’s take a look at the carbon footprint involved in a women’s menstrual cycle. A carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of human activities. The idea of a ‘menstrual carbon footprint’ might seem strange, but the way we manage our monthly cycle can actually have this kind of direct impact on our climate. Various studies have deciphered the scale of this impact. Friends of the Earth established that one year’s worth of single use sanitary products amounted to the equivalent of 5.3kg of carbon dioxide produced. This is due to the fact that many cotton tampons contain small amounts of dioxin, a by-product from the creation of the synthetic carbon fibre rayon. They also contain a whole host of pesticides from the cotton harvesting process. 

Let’s not forget about plastic.  Research has revealed that some sanitary towels have up to 90% plastic content. Meanwhile, 6% of the average tampon is made up of plastic. Non-applicator tampons contain 97% less plastic than their plastic applicator alternatives, and are an easy way to make a greener choice. Organic cotton tampons are also a popular choice!

Being green when choosing what to buy is relatively easy. But what about recycling? While emphasis has always been placed on recycling, sanitary products do not fall under this practice as they are used to collect human waste. But plastic applicator tampons can last up to 500 years in the environment. How do we deal with this issue when recycling isn’t possible? 

How the likes of single use straws, cotton buds and drinks stirrers effect the environment has been brought to attention by the public, sanitary towels have not received the same response since these too have damaging qualities about them in terms on environmental welfare. These other items are all set to be banned in 2020 in a bid to clean up our oceans. But findings from the Marine Conservation Society revealed that for every 100m of beach cleaned, there are an average of 4.8 pieces of menstrual waste found. This amounts to four panty-liners, pads, backing strips, plus at least one tampon and an applicator. 

Improving our sanitary waste management

For a start, we should all become ‘binners’. Not flushing tampons down the toilet might seem like an unspoken rule, but it seems as though we do need to speak about this more in light of the consequences that being a ‘flusher’ rather than a ‘binner’ can have. 

Blockages further down the sewer system can be caused by flushing tampons down the toilet.  It also contributes to the ‘fatberg’ epidemic which is growing in our sub-street level waterways. This is where fat, oil, and single use products such as sanitary items and face wipes have accumulated to form huge masses. One was recently discovered which equalled the length of six double decker buses in Sidmouth, Devon.   

Small changes such as becoming a ‘binner’ of non-applicator tampons can make a significant difference in reducing the environmental harms sanitary products cause. The Journal of The Institution of Environmental Sciences found that around 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million sanitary liners, and 700,000 panty liners are flushed down UK toilets every day. 

The likes of organic tampons have not been washed in any harmful products such as chlorine, bleach or other chemicals, therefore are eco-friendlier alternatives to switch from. The cotton used is free from pesticides, omitting any potential ecological effects. In turn, the growth of organic cotton can also help to lessen the development of climate change as the farming practices lock carbon dioxide into the soil. If you are committed to becoming more environmentally conscious, then consider changing your conventional tampon for an organic alternative. Alternatively, if you are still using applicator tampons, you should swap to non-applicator or cardboard applicator products. Lil-Lets range of non-applicator tampons includes an absorbent core made using viscose, ensuring that it is entirely plastic free. 

In order to align with environmental concern, a sense of openness from sanitary brands is a key facilitator to allow consumers to adjust their choices. For example, now there is the option of using non-applicator tampons that have 97% less plastic in them. This narrative certainly needs to be communicated on an even larger scale to provoke change. Groups such as The Women’s Environmental Network are leading the way in promoting their #PeriodsWithoutPlastic movement, to educate and share ideas on how we can tackle the issue of the sanitary sector’s role in ecological damage. 

In terms of the disposal of sanitary products, more action is needed. We must all commit to making small changes and substitutions to our own cycle routine. This could be by stocking up on non-applicator or organic products or by binning rather than flushing our pads and tampons!

Sources:

https://www.wen.org.uk/environmenstrual-campaign

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics/plastic-periods-menstrual-products-and-plastic-pollution

https://lil-lets.com/uk/period-plastic

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics/plastic-periods-menstrual-products-and-plastic-pollution

https://news.sky.com/story/plastic-straws-stirrers-and-cotton-buds-to-be-banned-in-england-11725704

https://lil-lets.com/uk/advice/organic/why-organics-different

https://www.shethinx.com/blogs/womens-health/life-cycle-of-tampon-biodegradable-period-products

5 ways to fix UK’s Recycling Problem

Each year, the problems of waste removal in London keeps getting worse. Millions of homes don’t have access to proper recycling; and those that do throw everything in the trash, from old clothing to broken blenders. If you dispose of rubbish and it ends up in a sorting facility, it does not necessarily guarantee it will get recycled. You might unwittingly drop something that the local recycling service does not accept, or that package might be designed in a way that it is unrecyclable.

Continue reading “5 ways to fix UK’s Recycling Problem”

Dangers of DIY Asbestos Removal

Asbestos is a widely mined natural mineral having microscopic fibers that are used for building over 3000 different products for centuries. It is also named as the miracle mineral because of its resistance to heat, chemical reactions and durability. Its extensive use includes the building of ships and insulation of wood and floors using sprayed chemicals on walls and ceilings. However, there have been researches and evidence that its use has caused mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer where fibers line around the heart of the lung, causing breathing issues. Other related diseases include asbestosis and non-malignant pleural thickening diseases. However, lung cancer and this disease can happen if asbestos is breathed through the air. Continue reading “Dangers of DIY Asbestos Removal”

What laws and bans are in place to protect our planet?

It’s clear from the headlines in the news that climate change is becoming more and more evident across the globe. From severe droughts and flash floods to devastating hurricanes and melting glaciers, the changing weather poses a real risk. However, it’s not just global warming that is a huge threat to our planet. There are a range of other issues, including the use of plastic and overusing Earth’s natural resources.

Continue reading “What laws and bans are in place to protect our planet?”

Why are new cars beginning to appeal again?

Whether it’s a new piece of jewellery, a holiday or eating out, we appreciate the finer things in life. Well, it appears that the new-car phenomenon is back too! The Society of Motor Manufacturers has revealed that 193,000 new cars were registered in May this year — up 3.4% on the figures recorded in the same month last year. That followed a 10.4% increase in new-car sales in April compared to April 2017. Continue reading “Why are new cars beginning to appeal again?”

Upcycling Shipping Containers: A Great Help for Our Environment

Hundreds of thousands of shipping containers are deemed no longer safe to continue to be used for transporting goods every year. These numbers have been adding up, with possibly tens of millions sitting unused in ports, storage yards and other container graveyards around the world. Sometimes a container may only be used a few times before it is discarded in favour of a brand-new model. Continue reading “Upcycling Shipping Containers: A Great Help for Our Environment”

Fuel in the future – What’s in store?

With the help of Lookers who offer a variety of car servicing plans, we explore the future of fuel. Recently, diesel has come in for a lot of scrutiny recently due to the levels of Nitrogen Oxide our vehicles emit. So much so that the government in the UK proposed plans to ban any sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 as they try to clean the nation’s air quality. As a result, 2017 was a record year for sales of electric vehicles, with over 4,000 new registrations per month in the UK — a significant increase compared to 2013 figures, which witnessed just 3,500 new registrations over the entire year! Continue reading “Fuel in the future – What’s in store?”

Greener appliances: How to make your home more eco-friendly

With eco-related issues becoming increasingly apparent on the news and in everyday life, more and more people have been taking the initiative to do their bit for the planet. If you’ve been recycling your plastics, cycling into work rather than taking the car, or investing in reusable drinks containers, you’re on the right track – but there are a number of other ways to make a difference at home. This helpful guide will give you everything you need to transform your old appliances into more eco-friendly versions of themselves: Continue reading “Greener appliances: How to make your home more eco-friendly”

Reuse your wedding dress to join the fight against fast fashion

The issue of fast fashion is likely something that you’ve heard of. The media have been covering a lot of it recently, and it’s clear to see why. In fact, one report revealed that around 300,000 tonnes of clothing is thrown away each year in the UK. Unfortunately, the rapid rate of fashion consumption is having a negative effect on the environment, from the increased amount of water that is being used in manufacturing to the amount of toxic chemicals that are involved with the making of garments.

In addition to buying less clothes throughout the year, there is something else that you can do to reduce your input to the issue of fast fashion. Repurposing your wedding dress is something that many of us don’t consider, but it can play its part in helping the environment. And, your wedding dress isn’t the only thing that you can reuse from your wedding day, read on to find out more: Continue reading “Reuse your wedding dress to join the fight against fast fashion”

How Paper Bags Could be part of the Solution to the War on Plastic Packaging

Recent times have witnessed the rise in popularity of paper bags to assist in the continued war on plastic products. From plastic bags to plastic straws there has been a huge decline in the popularity of plastic products. However whilst the zero-waste lifestyle is beneficial it is currently only available to those with significant disposable income. Continue reading “How Paper Bags Could be part of the Solution to the War on Plastic Packaging”