The “war on plastic”, recently declared by both Britain and the EU, is a just war — surfers should need little convincing of this — but too often it’s waged in platitudes and not in policy or practice.
Theresa May’s new 25-year environment plan is arguably a case in point. At the individual level, meanwhile, it’s easy to say, and indeed to believe, that plastics are bad and that something must be done and to leave it at that, without ever getting round to doing anything about it.
There is an alternative to such complacency, however, and it’s exemplified by the Devon-bred, Ireland-based surfer and environmentalist Sophie Hellyer. Unlike Mrs May she’s strong and stable and she shall fight on the beaches, she shall fight on the seas and the ocean, and she shall never surrender. She’s also an accomplished left-back (also unlike Mrs May).
Sophie spoke to Surf Europe about avoiding plastics both on the road and at home, and shared with us her list of eco travel essentials.
“It’s all about basic steps you can take to become probably 80% more plastic free”
In my bag
1. Knife – A wooden knife not only means I never need use a plastic one, it can also fly in my hand luggage unlike the swiss army knife. This one was from Portobello market.
3. Toothbrush – In the US alone, an estimated 1 billion brushes go to landfill every year. Brushing with bamboo is the obvious answer, just throw it in the compost after use. Mine is from @thebamboobrushsociety.
4. Water Bottle – I take a water bottle EVERYWHERE, from yoga to the plane, plastic water bottles are my pet peeve. My favourite are the @kleankanteen bottles with sports tops that are carabiner-friendly.
5. Shampoo & Conditioner – I normally try to use bars instead of those tempting ones in shiny plastic bottles. My favourite are from @lushcosmetics. I recommend Big for salty mermaid hair.
6. Sunglasses – I don’t leave the house without my sunnies, and after several years use, when my last pair broke I bought exactly the same pair again. These are from @dickmobyamsterdam. They are made from recycled plastics, the case from recycled leather and even the cleaning cloth from recycled plastic bottles.
7. Straw – Not for everyone but I drink a lot of smoothies, juice and gin and tonics! If you go for a walk on your local beach you’ll notice straws littering the shorelines. There are metal, glass or bamboo options. Mine’s a metal one from @therefilleshoppe, with a homemade little sleeve to stop it from dripping juice in my bag!
8. Coffee Cup – Hot drinks are a massive part of my lifestyle, post cold water swim or surf. I’ve had a lot of cups over the years but my firm favourite are the glass & cork ones from @keepcup. They also have silicone versions that break even in 15 uses. Save trees, water, landfill, greenhouse gas emissions and our oceans whilst enjoying your latte.
9. Journal & Pencil – I take my diary everywhere, and am always on the look out for beautiful journals made from recycled paper.
10. Oils – I’m not a big fan of perfumes, their excess packaging and nasty chemicals. Instead I take organic essential oils with me, either my own blend or something nice from Neals Yard Organics.
11. Toothpaste – I travel with a little glass jar that I refill from a fluoride-free, cruelty-free toothpaste.