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©2019 by Zero Waste Bulk Foods, 

Although we are based in Horsham, West Sussex, our correspondence address is Apt 32536, Chynoweth House, TR4 8UN

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#SwapOutPlasticChallenge

I had an idea last week, to create a Swap Out Plastic Challenge to share ideas, raise awareness and promote changes and solutions to swap plastic items for plastic free, sustainable alternatives.


The challenge is open to everyone, to share your personal process of swapping out plastics. This could be a couple of sentences, a tip, a photo, a selfie, artwork, music… anything that can inspire and help others to make the change! Don’t forget to tag your posts using #SwapOutPlasticChallenge and #ZeroWasteBulkFoods


At the end of every month I will select a winner for the most helpful / inspiring post. The winner will receive a £20 voucher to spend online at www.zerowastebulkfoods.co.uk.


Let’s work together to share ideas, lead by example and influence our circle of friends. The health of our planet and our bodies need change now.


The Problem


In essence, plastic is having a detrimental effect on the planet and most probably our health. The Centre for Environmental Law has described plastic as a “global health crisis hiding in plain sight.” [1]


It has been widely publicised that plastic doesn’t degrade and eventually ends up in landfill or the ocean. We don’t know how long it takes for plastic to breakdown – it is estimated that it could take thousands of years to degrade. [2]


Plastics In The Ocean, Landfill, Soil, Air and Water


Every year 5 million to 14 million tons of plastic flow into our oceans from coastal areas. Sunlight, wind, waves, and heat break down the plastics into smaller bits called microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5mm in diameter) and nanoparticles (less than 0.1 micrometre in size), that look—to plankton, bivalves, fish, and even whales—a lot like food. [3]


Free-floating pollutants that wash off the land and into our seas—such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals—tend to adhere to the surfaces of microplastics. [4]


Microplastics have been found in fish and seafood for consumption by humans. [5]


Plastic in landfills also leach potentially toxic substances into the soil and water. Approximately one third of all plastic waste ends up in soil or freshwater, which breaks down into microplastics and nanoparticles and enters the food chain. [6]


We are exposed to microplastics and their additives (such as hormone disruptors like BPA and BPF and brominated flame retardants), through ingestion (foods and water), inhalation and possibly through touching plastics the whole day. [7] [8]


Think about how much plastic you are exposed to in everyday life – your clothes, your food, your house, your garden, your workplace, your makeup, your body products, your cleaning products, washing products, toys… the list goes on.


The Impact on Health


There is a wealth of information and scientific research available describing the possible and probable dangers to health from exposure to plastics. They include links to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive effects. [9] [10] [11]


The Swap Out Plastic Challenge


I set up Zero Waste Bulk Foods last year with the main aim of reducing the amount of plastic heading to landfill, incineration and the ocean.


Now I am setting up the Swap Out Plastic Challenge to raise awareness and promote ideas and solutions to swap plastic items for plastic free, sustainable alternatives.


The challenge is open now to everyone, to share your personal process of swapping out plastics. This could be a couple of sentences, a photo, a selfie, artwork, music… anything that can inspire and help others to make the change! Don’t forget to tag your posts using #SwapOutPlasticChallenge and #ZeroWasteBulkFoods. Your posts may be promoted on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr pages.


At the end of every month I will select a winner for the most helpful / inspiring post. The winner will receive a £20 voucher to spend online at www.zerowastebulkfoods.co.uk. The winning post will be shared on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr pages. The challenge is open now and the first winner will be announced at the start of March.


Example of what to post:

I'm taking the #SwapOutPlasticChallenge how about you? Let's see how you swap out plastics! Publicly post a tip / sentence / photo / selfie / artwork / music to your wall with the hashtags #SwapOutPlasticChallenge and #ZeroWasteBulkFoods


Works Cited

[1] [Online]. Available: https://www.ciel.org/news/plasticandhealth/.

[2] [Online]. Available: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rstb.2008.0205.

[3] "https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-health-pollution-waste-microplastics/," [Online].

[4] [Online]. Available: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-health-pollution-waste-microplastics/.

[5] [Online]. Available: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep14340%C2%A0….

[6] [Online]. Available: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/plastic-planet-how-tiny-plastic-particles-are-polluting-our-soil.

[7] [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals.

[8] [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/27/revealed-microplastic-pollution-is-raining-down-on-city-dwellers.

[9] [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299092/.

[10] [Online]. Available: https://www.plastichealthcoalition.org/plastic-facts/.

[11] [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/19/are-we-poisoning-our-children-with-plastic.

[12] [Online]. Available: https://www.ciel.org/news/plasticandhealth/.

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