Have you tried plastic fishing?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Caring for the environment is something I have always felt strongly about.  There wasn't any recycling on campus when I went to university so my first trip home (a six hour drive) I brought a laundry basket full of recycling (and another full of dirty clothes).  Living in London, I am amazed at how many people litter and how much rubbish ends up all over the place.  Some of it may be due to lack of public rubbish bins (there are reduced numbers available due to security), but I think it is primarily down to laziness and lack of respect.  When I used to go on dog walks, I would pick up crisp packets and empty bottles to help keep the local parks clean.

A brand I am quite fond of, Keen Europe, has started up their own initiative to keep our water ways clean.  Their new campaign, #bettertakesaction, had a boat tour all over Europe to encourage people to get outside, explore, and protect the planet (which is a big part of my own brand's ethos).  Did you know that 60% of the European population is not active enough and do not spend enough time outdoors to keep healthy?  Along with that 18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean every year.  80% of this waste comes from land.  People- we can do better on both accounts.

Sadly the tour is over now, but Cal Majors, of Paddle Against Plastic, is continuing her own campaign.  She stand up paddle-boarded (SUPed) from Land's End to John O'Groats over two months.  Plastic Whale came over from The Netherlands to help us collect the plastic we found in the canal around Hackney Wick.  This company takes plastic bottles (like water and soft drink bottles) to make their boats as this type of plastic can be made into the correct material.  The other waste we collected was sorted into "other plastic" and "garbage" for various recycling efforts or the landfill.

Between the kayaks and the Keen boat, we found all sorts of stuff- shoes, noise makers, bottles, watering cans, a pregnancy test, candy wrappers and a ceramic vase.  You can see that some stuff gets blown in if the bins are full.  There were also a lot of small pieces of plastic that went right through the nets which we were unable to remove.  The bigger stuff eventually gets broken down, which makes it harder to remove and easier for animals in ingest.

Personally, I think there are two simple things you can do to greatly reduce your impact on the environment.  First, carry a reusable water bottle (I love my Hydroflasks) or just drink tap water.  If you can't find a water bottle that is convenient to carry, dust off your flask and simply fill it with water.  It will fit easily into your pocket or a small bag.  Second, don't buy takeaway coffee or if you must, use a reusable cup.  My husband has several of these collapsible silicone cups and leaves them around so he always has one handy.  There are lots of other things you can do to help too, but from what I see in London, these two would have a significant impact.  Keen was kind enough to give us a reusable water bottle, metal straws, and canvas bags to us to get started.

I am hoping to continue #bettertakesaction in the local London waterways on a SUP board ramping up to the London Regatta.  There are a few bits to put into place before I can announce anything formally. 

My Keen Ethos with the bottle cap boat floor
If you are a long-time reader of my blog, you may remember I reviewed the Keen Ethos last summer.  Their range of shoes are versatile for adventures on land and water.  While already a big name in the USA, they are steadily finding their way into the European adventurer's closets.  A lot of my outdoorsy friends have their kids kitted out in Keens as the sandals have reinforced toes and the soles are thick plastic and very durable.  For those who prefer hiking, you can also read my review of the Terradora boots.

As a consumer, it is important to me to support brands that align with my values.  Keen is one of those.  Since the company was founded in 2003, Keen has donated more than $17 million to chariites and non-profits that work for people, animals, and the environment.  I hope you spend some time getting to know them too.  If you enjoy being outdoors and active (whether in the mountains or on the water), you will also love their shoes.

Before you go, here is a minute-long time lapse of our group going through the lock on the canal.  I can't remember the last time I was in a lock.  It was so cool!

Thanks to Keen and Plastic Whale for inviting me along to this event.  All opinions are honest and my own.  This post contains affiliate links which cost the buyer nothing additional but help contribute to the costs for running this site.

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