As I write this, I look outside at the snowy vista that my garden has become and although the birds are chirping I don’t know what they have to be so happy about – their food is scarce and their drinking water is frozen.
But February 2018 won’t only be remembered for its snow. It will also be the month that further progress was made on the war against plastic waste and the month that a surprising study blamed our personal care and cleaning products for air pollution.
1. The Queen bans single-use plastic on royal estates
In a move that is thought to be inspired by David Attenborough, the Queen has issued a ban on single-use plastics from all royal estates.
As plastic is phased out, internal caterers will only be allowed to use china, glass or recyclable paper cups and plates in this bid to reduce the royal household’s environmental impact.
These practical plans to ban plastic sit in parallel with Buckingham Palace’s decade-long refurbishment that will see the installation of solar panels, more energy efficient electricity systems and an organic waste composter.
2. Scotland bans plastic cotton buds and straws
Scotland plans to ban all cotton buds by the end of 2018 and all plastic straws by the end of 2019, making it the first UK nation to do so.
The Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunnginham is committed to reducing single-use plastic in the country and hopes that plastic cotton buds and straws are just the start of a larger initiative in tackling marine pollution.
Impressive – let’s hope that the rest of the UK follows suit!
3. A study finds that cosmetics contribute as much to pollution as cars
A surprising new study claims that our personal care and cleaning products contribute to air pollution just as much as cars.
In fact, 40% of air pollutants (known as volatile organic compounds) come from consumer products such as cosmetics, soaps and shampoos. Many of these products such as perfumes are literally designed to evaporate but, once dispersed in the air, they react in the atmosphere to create harmful pollutants.
Results then indicate that as we clean up car emissions, we also really need to start tackling indoor chemical pollution too.