Living a plastic free life on board the Cap Finistère!
It has been another fabulous week on board the Cap Finistere this week, with lots of beautiful dolphins jumping and leaping around us. We’ve also been treated to several beaked whales, including a possible Sowerby’s beaked whales!
As part of our role on board, we talk to passengers about all of these wonderful animals, but also the dangers they face, particularly that of single use plastics.
These days, the problem with plastic is well known. As Kirsty mentioned in her blog last week, this has been brilliantly highlighted by last year’s BBC documentary Blue Planet II, which showcased both the stunning beauty of our oceans and the horrific reality facing our marine wildlife today. Every day we hear another story of an island made of plastic, a whale full of plastic or a turtle entangled, it’s a problem we can no longer ignore. According to the UK Government website, there is over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans, the consequence of our over reliance on plastics in our everyday lives. While every effort can be made to clean up our oceans, we need to also start with the source of the problem, to treat our plastic addiction.
However, I thought I would use the blog this week to be less doom and gloom, and to inspire a more positive attitude by talking about some of the simplest ways that we can easily and affordably reduce our use of plastics.
One of the biggest sources of waste is from takeaway food and drink. Single use coffee cups rarely recycled, and so billions end up in landfill every year. They are plastic lined, and so will not biodegrade. Many high street coffee chains offer a discount on coffee if sold in a reusable mug like the one sold on our website. Cheaper coffee whilst saving the planet? Seems like a no brainer!
Another simple, cost saving change is to ditch bottled water. Costing from hundreds, to even thousands of times more than tap water, bottled water is a billion pound industry in the UK, and a massive contributor to single use plastic waste. While these bottles are recyclable, they are one of the most common items found washed up on beaches. There is a myth that bottled water is ‘healthier’ to drink, but in the UK this is simply not true. In areas with hard water, a water filter at home can make fantastic tasting water, at a fraction of the cost. You can also refill your water bottle for free in locations all around the UK. Check out the Refill App www.refill.org.uk/get-the-refill-app/ for details of free water refill stations near you.
Single use plastic bags are now a thing of the past in many high street stores, and so we can all continue to be fantastic, by using our reusable bags for all our shopping, avoiding the 5p plastic bag tax! While there are still many single use plastic bags for fruit and veg, it is simple to go without these, you can easily go through the check out without them! You can also have your fish/ meat put directly into your own tupperware tubs from the deli counter, avoiding plastic packaging!
The UK government have this year pledged to ban some of the worst offenders for single use plastic pollution including plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. However, there are still plastic straws available in many restaurants today, and so the easiest thing we can do at the moment, is to refuse the plastic straw. If you need to use a straw, bamboo or metal straws are a fantastic reusable solution, or even just the traditional, old style paper straws.
Shampoo and conditioner bars are a great way to reduce unnecessary plastic. Like a bar of soap for your hair, us Wildlife Officers can really recommend these! They are great for us, as they are liquid free so easy to take when travelling!
Once you start looking at plastic alternatives, you realise how easy it can really be! On board our ship, we try our best to live with as little plastic as possible, as I mentioned before shampoo bars are great for us sea faring folk, portable, and last for months!
So there we have it, just a few simple ways we can all still do our bit to reduce our impact on the planet, and leave it a brighter, better place for our children. We have the power to change the world, so let’s give it a try. Good luck!
Wildlife Officer Bay of Biscay