Is it possible to be plastic-free? A July Movement……
It seems that everyone is talking sustainability these days; perhaps it's greenwashing, you might say? Plastic-free July is exactly what it says on the tin, or as we like to say at Spice HQ, exactly what it says on the jar. Just humour us.
The UK disposes of 295 billion tonnes of plastic every year. Can you phantom this? There are 7.7 billion people on the planet and an upper estimate of 500,000 elephants sharing the same land. All of that yearly UK plastic waste equates to 888,000 Empire State Building or 35 Billion Elephants. We will leave it there!
Some of these plastics are recycled, but unfortunately, most are not. As a result, most plastic ends up in landfills, burned or possibly worst, in our rivers, canals and oceans. Sadly, it is estimated that 70% of our plastics are not recyclable.
At Cameler Spice Co, we had the ambition to start as we meant to go on. These days, many brands are making an effort, but there is always room for improvement. When the brand Pip and Nut change their packaging from plastic to glass, the founder admitted that what seemed like a simple conversion task took two years.
Our co-founder Myles was very strict when it came to the packaging from the offset. Having spent ten years at the world's largest aluminium company, sustainability, carbon footprint, and recycling were topics always at the forefront. You felt a sense of pride when discussing sustainability at Norsk Hydro.
So how can you avoid plastic? Here are five tips from Cameler Spice Co. that make an impact.
- Try and avoid black plastic where possible. Unfortunately, when you recycle black plastic, your good endeavours may not come to fruition. The scanners can't pick up the black plastic on the black conveyor belt. It will most likely be incinerated or go to a landfill.
- Lots of outlets are selling beeswax or soy wax wraps these days. Clingfilm cannot be recycled, just like any crinkly plastic.
- Brands such as keepleaf, roll and eat, or mother reusables do great examples of products for replacing Ziploc bags or pouches. Perfect for your kids pack lunches. There are loads of examples of aluminium, glass and bamboo water bottles and lunch boxes. It is important to note that our criticism is towards single-use plastic.
- If we are all honest with ourselves, we probably preferred the plastic straw to the paper straw. Nonetheless, there are some great aluminium straws these days, costing a couple of pounds. Wash, reuse.
- Maybe we can all put more pressure on brands and supermarkets. Fruit and veg are probably the worst. Sometimes there are two layers of plastic. We can purchase those reusable nets and just have our fruit and veg loose. Focus more on metal and glass containers. A well-known mustard brand has a lovely tin and glass jar, but then the lid is plastic. We all have a choice, and that's just in the kitchen. Typically, when you go to your independent fruit and veg shops, they don’t have this single use plastic. Another great way to supply the independents.
According to National Geographic, 40% of plastic is used once and tossed away, and some 700 species of marine life have digested plastic or become entangled.
Perhaps it's time we educate ourselves on material selection and start a revolution for future generations.
We house our spice blends in beautiful dark amber glass under an aluminium closure by choice. 100% recyclable. However this is for reasons beyond aesthetics and recycling. It protects the precious commodity for longer meaning a longer best before date and a lowering risk of going to landfill. It is not always easy but it is also not impossible to make improvements.