Last week I was invited by the lovely team over at hubbub to attend a leeds by example workshop all about their new Leeds based campaign, alongside ways to reduce your plastic consumption and overall have a more sustainable 2019. Ill be honest, I have seen a lot about reduced plastic living online but had never really taken the time to properly research the topic, so I was so excited to learn about more ways that I could help, and also pass these onto you guys in this post. Leeds by example held the workshop at the conservatory at duke studios, which is such a fab venue for events like this and I think is very unique in Leeds. It is such an interesting space and everytime I go (I’ve been there for a few other events now such as blog at the beach) I always see something else that I hadn’t seen before.
Plastic has overall been a wonder material since it was first invented in 1869 (I know, I expected it to be so much later than that!) and there are so many effective uses for it, so it can’t be demonised completely. The problem, however, lies in the fact that it has become a symbol of disposable culture and this has created an overdrive of single use unnecessary plastics being used once and then thrown away. ’Single- use’ is one of the words that has been added to the dictionary for 2019 so it is a hugely popular topic, but what does it actually mean? How much plastic do you throw away a day? There are so many items that I didn’t think contained plastic, such as the lining of tea bags and even shampoo. Its crazy how its absolutely everywhere! There is predicted to be a further 40% growth in plastic consumption predicted in the next 10 years.
During the Leeds by example workshop I learnt so much more about plastic which I had never known before. I knew that plastic took many years to decompose but I never realised that it actually never fully disappears and instead creates micro-plastics, which integrate into the water system and just generally all around us. A recent study has even found that 50% of human stools sampled contained micro-plastics which both shocked and disgusted me as we have no idea what the consequences of this is. Both micro-plastics and regular plastics really effect wildlife as well, for instance turtles think that carrier bags are jellyfish and eat them, causing huge problems with their digestive system.
We were then informed about some of the amazing work that the charity are doing around Leeds at the moment, and the involvement that hubbub have had in this Leeds by example collaboration. Their aim is to create playful campaigns that inspire the mainstream public to make environmentally friendly lifestyle choices, and they have definitely achieved this in the past year. With help from other organisations, they have created a movement in Leeds and are building upon the growing interest of being more sustainable in the 21st century. If you live in Leeds you will have seen the bright yellow Leeds by example bins that have been popping up recently around the city centre, and these are all thanks to this campaign. The bins are interactive and actually burp/blow bubbles whenever anyone inserts a bottle or can, which I think is such a genius concept and a great way to encourage all ages to recycle. They also have other incentives, for example if you inset a can/bottle into the bin at the kirkgate market, 10p is donated to a homeless charity. You are not only helping the environment but also a great cause!
After the talk, we entered the workshop section of the evening where everyone got into small groups (of about 6) and we spoke about the different ways that people could reduce their single use plastic consumption in various situations (home, the workplace and over Christmas). It was so nice to discuss with different people who all have different backgrounds and lifestyles, and we came up with some good ideas of how to reduce our plastic usage using simple techniques. The photo of the poster is below if anyone wants to have a read but ill summarise some key ideas here:
- Coffee cup (cheaper too- Pret offer 50p off if you bring a reusable cup)
- Use a refillable Water bottle and Tupperware containers
- Shampoo bars and silicon free shampoo
- Use a Bamboo toothbrush
- Reusable shopping bags
- Try to buy non synthetic clothing or attend clothes swap
- Using paper wrapping paper as opposed to plastic coating
- Loose leaf teabags
- Buy second hand when possible- children’s plastic toys etc.
I will definitely be trying to incorporate some of these techniques into my lifestyle, as they are simple but effective. If everyone made a few little changes it would be a huge difference. At the end of the talk, the team kindly gifted us a goodie bag filled with some items that will get us started on a more plastic free lifestyle, and I can’t wait to start using them. My favourite items in the goodie bag included a collapsible coffee cup (that you can put in your bag once you have drank it) and also a metal straw which I have wanted to try for ages.
So that was my evening at the hubbub Leeds by example workshop, and I thoroughly enjoyed. The main message is to focus more on the 4 R’s next year, which are reduce, reuse, recycle and responsible use… I know that I am going to try to bring in little lifestyle changes now more than ever since I have heard about the huge impact! I feel like I have some role and responsibility to talk to my audience about topics like this more, and I do want to introduce more current and sometimes ‘controversial’ topics into my blog next year… so I think I will be talking more about the topic! Thank you so much to the team over at hubbub for inviting me, I had a really good time and I’m looking forward to making some more environmentally driven choices into 2019.