Hi - I'm Kody & i'm thrilled to have been asked to become a young ambassador for the Trust and create content for you all. I am in no way an expert - but passionate in my thinking that we can all do something to help reduce our environmental footprint and protect the extraordinary world we live in. So, for my first blog - *deep intake of breath* - I will be tackling the big one: our fight against plastic.

Plastic is everywhere nowadays - packaging everything from foods to drinks to toiletries. Consequently, this cheap material is having detrimental impacts on our planet - emitting greenhouse gases, polluting land & seas and strangling wildlife. We’ve seen sea turtles confuse floating plastic bags for jellyfish, hedgehogs entangle themselves in plastic soda rings - & the issue is even impacting us. That’s right! Studies suggest humans consume the equivalent of a credit card worth of plastic every single week (crazy right?). So - tackling the plastic pollution crisis is crucial in protecting our whole environment, and every action - however small - that we can take to limit our plastic consumption & waste will contribute to positive change.

Photo of a plastic bottle

Image: An empty plastic bottle on the street 

This month is Plastic Free July, so here I’ve listed some ideas on ways you can choose to refuse single-use plastics and reduce your plastic footprint.

Simple actions:

  1. Always carry a reusable water bottle around with you (& use the Refill app to find local stores offering free water refills).
  2. Invest in a reusable coffee cup, many stores (including Costa) give you discounts for bringing them!
  3. Keep a reusable bag on you - you never know when you might need it!
  4. Get a group together, or even just yourself, and go litter-picking or plogging (it's a thing - trust me) around your local area.
  5. Opt for a cone when you buy ice-cream to avoid the disposable cup & spoon.
  6. Refuse plastic straws when your out-and-about, or bring your own sustainable alternative (like a metal straw or wooden spork to replace cutlery).

Reusable bag and flasks

Image: Reusable bag and coffee cup.

In the bathroom:

  1. Switch to bar soap rather than liquid soap to avoid excess plastic packaging.
  2. Similarly, swap to a shampoo bar - it saves plastic and is also travel-friendly!
  3. Choose a toothbrush made from an eco-friendly material like bamboo.

In the kitchen:

  1. Use reusable, silicone covers on bowls & containers of food to replace plastic food wrap, or use bees wax wraps.
  2. Make your own packaging-free juices & smoothies out of loose fruit and veg from local shops or even your garden!
  3. Rather than plastic-containing tea-bags, ensure your choosing plastic-free brands (or even better choose loose leaf tea).

Greener shopping:

  1. Try shopping at local zero-waste stores.
  2. Grow your own food at home (you can grow so much nowadays - from strawberries to herbs).
  3. Choose to buy loose fruit & veg with no packaging, bringing your own bags to collect them in (& don't ignore wonky veg - it tastes just the same & helps reduce waste!).
  4. Have your milk (& possibly even juice) delivered in glass-bottles by a local milkman, who may also operate on a zero-waste service - we get ours from 10 Green Bottles in Wroughton.

Greener shop

Image: Kody's greener shop.

This is by no means a comprehensive list to entirely plastic-free living, but we can all start somewhere right? Just remember to reduce your plastic consumption in the first place, reuse whatever plastic items you may already have, and view recycling as the final option. My advice is to not try and change everything at once - but introduce small changes a step at a time to develop positive habits that will stick with you. So please - get involved this Plastic Free July & do what you can as an individual to help Wiltshire and beyond combat plastic waste.

Photo of Kody

Kody is 16 years old and lives in Swindon. He currently runs @ecoswindon, an Instagram account promoting green thinking in his town. 

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