Did you know that this month the Great British Beach Clean is happening around the country?
We wanted to do our bit and help our oceans and beaches so we headed down to a beach local to Edinburgh: Portobello Beach. Armed with our gloves and bin bags we descended on the beach to pick up whatever we could.
Why is it important to keep our beaches and oceans clean?
There are 51 trillion pieces of micro plastic in our oceans that is 500 times more pieces than stars in our galaxy. By 2050 it is estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastic is not a biodegradable material and it contains toxic materials which can leak into ground water or poison aquatic animals. There is over four million tons of rubbish created per year, 12.8% of that is plastic and from that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste are washed into the ocean every year (sad face).
Let me tell you some facts:
- One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed every year due to plastic indigestion.
- Sea turtles, small and big fish are all effected. If they swallow the plastic their body cannot process it and it stops their stomach from digesting properly. They can also get trapped in plastic causing their bodies to become deformed.
- It has now been proven that not only are we drinking micro-plastics in our tap water but also the fish we are eating contain micro plastics because of the rubbish levels in the ocean.
- Studies have found that toxins in plastics cause several health issues including cancer, immune system problems and birth defects.
- Rubbish sucks oxygen out of the ocean which means aquatic life is being suffocated.
- There is an area of ocean named The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it is located in the North Pacific Ocean near California. It is now twice the size of Texas.
Putting it simply if we do not act now it could be too late. Without a healthy ocean and eco-system it is very hard for humans to survive on earth.
Portobello Beach clean-up with eteaket
We found a lot of rubbish on the beach. The majority was plastic bottles, plastic balloons and a shocking number of plastic bags. We also found glass bottles, coffee cups, rope, empty cigarette packets and bottle caps. Some of the rubbish had been there for so long the natural environment had started adapting and growing over the rubbish. Our team picked up six large bags of rubbish in one hour and we were very proud of their hard work!
Some rubbish may have been left there while other pieces may have been blown by the wind or brought in by the tides. However it got there, it is important that we all do something about it. Some of the things you can do are:
- When leaving an area make sure there is no rubbish around you and that the area is clear.
- When disposing of house hold rubbish make sure that the bag is done up tightly to stop any rubbish flying about and littering your neighbourhood.
- Never drop rubbish.
- When walking to work, walking your dog or just walking around town make an effort to pick up 10 pieces of rubbish per day (or more). That is 10 pieces of rubbish you will prevent from getting into our ocean and 10 sea turtles you have potentially saved – you are a hero.
Environmentally friendly eteaket
We don’t just talk the talk we also walk the walk, literally down the beach picking up rubbish. We also realise that we are involved in an industry which does create waste as a bi-product. Therefor we have been working hard on making our Edinburgh Tea Room and Concept Store as environmentally friendly as possible. We have also been working on a plastic free packaging which will be launched in September 2018.
Recycling in our Tea Room and Concept Store
Our Tea Room with the help of Changeworks has been recycling for well over a year. Our team make sure to separate waste from recyclable materials. We also encourage patrons to bring their own cup if they are taking away a tea. We offer a 25p discount if you bring your own cup and we sell Keep Cups and other re-usable cups in both our Tea Room and Concept Store. Our Concept Store also recycles anything they may have.
Our new plastic-free packaging
At eteaket we are very proud of our fully biodegradable teabags! They are made from Soilon which is made from cornstarch (it is composed of biomass material derived from plants). The teabags are also not bleached and ultrasound is used to attach the string and the tag. The tag is paper (it is not laminated) and the string is made from string. The teabags are also compostable but not categorised as ‘home compostable’ as it takes more than 30 days for the decomposition to happen. Our loose leaf tea canisters are made from completely recyclable material. Our teabag boxes are made from cardboard and are also completely recyclable.
We are now even prouder to announce that by September the inner packaging of our teas will also be plastic-free. We are replacing the current plastic wrapping with a new technology called NatureFlex. According to them “These bio-films are based strongly on renewable resources (wood-pulp from managed plantations) and are certified to the European (EN13432) and American (ASTM D6400) norms for Industrially compostable packaging. In addition, the majority of grades have been certified by Vinçotte to the OK Compost Home standard for home composting and certain grades have been proven to biodegrade in a waste-water environment. Further testing has proven that most NatureFlex™ grades are also suitable for anaerobic digestion”.
We can’t wait to get this packaging on our shelves as it is another step in the right direction. At eteaket we will continue to not only be extremely ethical (we are members of the Ethical Tea Partnership) but we will also continue to be environmentally conscious and friendly…..oh and serve great tea.
We are thrilled to have been included in The Independent 9 Best Plastic-Free Teabags – Be good to the planet – without sacrificing the most important drink of the day.
Pop the kettle on & have a read here.
Keeping up with eteaket
If you do your own rubbish pick up or make a change towards a plastic free future tag us in a picture by using @eteaket or hashtag #eteaketmoment. We look forward to seeing what you are getting up to.
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