As well as once again marvelling at Sir David Attenborough's brilliance and the ocean's beauty during this week's episode of Blue Planet II, we were also left heart-broken by the whale in mourning for its dead calf, poisoned by plastic in her milk, and the turtle struggling to free itself from the plastic bag. These were tragic reminders of the impact plastic waste is having on the oceans and everything that lives in them. But this week also left us inspired to swap plastic for fantastic (sorry) alternatives.
We have come up with a few alternatives to single-use plastics that we can use to do our small bit for the oceans and the creatures that live there. With Christmas just a few weeks away and the present-buying panic in full swing, these ideas could even make the perfect stocking-fillers for your eco-conscious, dive-loving friends and family.
Swap out the plastic water bottles
Each minute, a million plastic water bottles are bought around the world, and it's on the increase. Sadly, most of these end up in landfill, even when we all toil away separating our plastics from our glass for recycling, there is just no way recycling efforts can keep up with the crazy pace at which we get through these bottles. Get yourself, or your bottle-buying friend, a brand spanking new re-usable water bottle for Christmas to nip this habit in the bud. By doing this, we might slowly help to reduce the number of bottles that end up floating around in the ocean.
Try re-usable metal straws
If you, like us, were rather traumatised by the horrendous video of a straw being painfully removed from a turtle's nose that circulated the internet a couple of years ago, you may have made a vow to yourself to never use plastic straws again…until the time came for a cocktail, or perhaps a smoothie or a milkshake. But there is an alternative to plastic ones: buy your straw-mad relatives a few re-usable metal straws that they can pop in their handbag, in their desk or in the kitchen draw, so when the urge to slurp arrives, the option is always there. And if we manage to save a few more turtles from the pain of having a straw stuck up their nose, it's definitely worth it.
Bring your own coffee cup
Almost all of us swing by our local coffee shop on the way into work each day to get our morning caffeine boost, and this means that around 2.5 billion of these disposable cups are used in the UK alone each year. Before you panic, no, we're definitely not suggesting you give this up (none of us here at Original Diving would survive without our caffeine fix) but an easy way to do your bit for the environment each day is by bringing your own flask or cup with you. If you do this in Starbucks, Costa or Pret, you'll get 25p off your takeaway drink, so you'll even save some pennies as well.
Ditch the plastic bags
The sight of the hawksbill turtle tangled up in a plastic bag in this week's Blue Planet was a stark reminder of the need to ditch plastic bags, and since the 5p bag tax was introduced in the UK in 2015, there has already been a 40% decrease in the number of plastic bags on beaches in the UK (hoorah!). But we suggest dramatically cutting this further by introducing a much more fashionable, eco-friendly alternative: the canvas bag. And if you happen to be in Putney, swing by our office and we'll give you one of our rather stylish Original Diving canvas bags and together we can fantasise about diving in a plastic-free ocean.
And if you're considering extending your eco-credentials to your next holiday, check out our top five eco hotels, or give us a call on +44 (0)20 7978 0505