Last year we joined 21 million people from all over the world to clean up over 100 thousand tons of waste, in just 24 hours. It’s a dedicated day and goal that crosses borders, uniting the entire world to strive for a cleaner planet. Despite an ongoing pandemic, there was no way we were going to miss out on the biggest waste collection day in human history…World Clean Up Day 2020!
On Saturday 19th September, we proudly gathered up the whole Beauty Kitchen team to scour our local community of its rubbish. Litter picks in hand (spritzed with SOS Skin Shield+) and some Organic Vegan Hand Sanitiser in our pocket, we were primed and ready to go with our socially distanced clean up!
The impact of waste, and plastic waste specifically, is an issue that is very close to our hearts. World Clean Up Day 2019 saw 61% of collected rubbish consisting of plastic…2020 saw this increase to 74%. As you know, sustainability is at the heart of every decision we make - from our microplastic free ingredients to our reusable packaging that’s part of our Return · Refill · Repeat programme. So obviously, it was (and always will be) within our B Corp nature to want to take part in World Clean Up Day.
We already know that plastic is littering our planet, which is made even worse by the fact that 91% of plastic isn’t actually recycled. However, days like World Clean Up Day put it into a visual perspective of how much this is impacting our local areas. Our mission for the day was simple - to remove as much waste/plastic waste as possible from our immediate surroundings!
Not all plastic is created equal, and not all plastics can be easily disposed of…but that doesn’t mean they need to end up littered on the street and within our parks! Plastic waste never completely degrades, but instead actually divides into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic…microplastics. Because of this, nearly all plastics ever created exists in some form today.
A major difference to World Clean Up Day this year, was that we quickly saw the impacts that the pandemic has had on the environment. Take all the disposable face masks we picked up for instance. An estimated 194 billion of them are being used worldwide every month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study in Environmental Science and Technology.
It’s also estimated that 1 billion single use plastic hand sanitiser bottles will be used this year too – some of which we found on our clean up. This is why we created our refillable and microplastic free Organic Vegan Hand Sanitiser spray to combat this!
The number one offender, however…was cigarettes. Out of 6 trillion cigarettes that are produced each year, about 4.5 trillion of these are discarded each year worldwide, making them the most littered item on Earth. We scoured this tiny bench area here:
…and cleaned up this heap. Filters can take years to degrade and as they do, they break down into microplastic pollution. Yes, your cigarette filters are made from plastic too! Cellulose acetate to be precise. You would be correct in thinking that there is a reusable straw in that image too...
Overall, the Beauty Kitchen Team had a successful World Clean Up day! Successful yes, but also frightening to see how much waste is still being thrown out. Our choices impact everyone on this planet so please be mindful of how you dispose of your rubbish and try minimise this waste from the very start. Join the #ReuseRevolution and stick to it!