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International Coastal Clean-up Day: Stem the Wave of Waste

Together with the Future Kids Club and other ambassadors to the zero waste movement, Shop Zero™ co-hosted the International Coastal Clean-up Day on 19 September at Strand Beach.

This global event formed part of the Clean Up & Recycle SA week. The coastal clean-up day began 30 years ago when communities rallied with the common goal of collecting and tracking coastline litter. Today, more than 100 countries participate, and it’s the world’s biggest volunteer effort for ocean health. South Africa has participated for the past 24 years, and this is the 3rd year Shop Zero has been actively involved. Collectively, our volunteers removed more than 827 kg of waste from the beach on Saturday!

Beach Cleanup South Africa
Rocco Da Silva, in the centre, started the Future Kids Club in 2017 when he was nine years old.

It’s not just about coastal clean ups

The coastal clean-up is much more than simply creating awareness and clearing plastic waste and litter from the beach.  It’s tracked using the Marine Debris Tracker, which allows users to record their findings and note the 12 most common items. AKA ‘the Dirty Dozen.’ By tracking the amounts of litter at sea, we can tell if specific measures are working or not. It’s incredibly time-consuming to track all litter, so the Dirty Dozen focuses on the primary types of litter picked up during coastal clean-ups.

Marine Debris Tracker

Introducing the marine menaces

So, what are these marine menaces scourging our coastlines? The 12 common critters are cool drink bottles, water bottles, cool drink lids, carrier bags, chip packets, and sweet wrappers. Along with straws, earbuds, lolly pop sticks, cigarette lighters, fishing line and light sticks. To date, from 100 clean-ups, we’ve tracked tens of thousands of each of these items.

Dirty Dozen Methodology

It can be overwhelming when faced with such a behemoth issue! Our daily goal is to create awareness and find eco-friendly alternatives, particularly for single-use plastic items. At our core, that’s who we are and what we’re fighting for.

If you’re reading this, it likely means you’re already taking steps to reduce your plastic waste footprint. Or maybe you’re just getting started on your journey. Either way, we are SO happy to have you here.

Our online store has a wide range of ethically sourced zero waste products. These include plastic-free alternatives to other ocean nasties such as single use coffee cups, straws, toothbrushes, dental floss, and cotton buds. All of which are also picked up regularly during our coastal clean-ups.

Ready to start making the switch? Take a browse through our range of re-usable cups and coffee cups, re-usable straws and cutlery, and plastic free toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. And of course, we also stock organic cotton earbuds with recycled paper stems.

See you at the next coastal clean-up!

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Plastic Free July Lockdown Edition

We’re half way through Plastic Free July! The original concept was to refuse plastic use for the entire month of July. An estimated 250 million people took part last year. This year, across the world, Plastic Free July’s 10th anniversary challenge looks a little different. With the entire world facing this pandemic, many are staying home, even whilst the lockdown has been lightened, and only leaving home to go to work, and to the shops.

Given the current situation reducing plastic use is not a priority for many. I want to show you some things you can implement at home, if you are able to do so, to reduce your plastic use and share some things I have learnt over my 10 year green journey.

Make your own plastic-free filtered water with an activated charcoal stick.
  1. Read up about the negative environmental and health effects of single-use plastic. We all need to understand why it is so important to reduce our plastic use!
  2. Have a look at what single use plastic you currently throw away! You’ll be surprised to find there are many plastic packaged products that can easily be bought plastic free.
  3. After every shop, put your reusable bags (shopping, fruit and veg, dry goods, bread, etc.) somewhere where you will remember to take them with on your next shop. If you don’t have any, I highly recommend you invest in some. Shop Zero™ would love to help by offering 10% discount on all products bought online in July. Enter code PlasticFreeJuly10 at checkout.
  4. The same thing goes for your reusable coffee cup, bottle, straw, container and utensils, which are safe to use during this pandemic, as confirmed by health experts across the world.
  5. If you want to switch to plastic free versions of products you are currently using, don’t throw out what you are using. Be sure to use up what you have first, and after use recycle what you can and ecobrick what you can’t. Need a convenient way to ecobrick? Get yout comfortable ecobrick stick here.
  6. Not all switches are easy and that’s ok. For some, switching from plastic packaged body wash to bar soap doesn’t work, but you could switch to a metal bottle body wash instead. Or even take a reusable bottle to your local zero waste shop to be refilled.
  7. If you are passionate about reducing your plastic use, you will most likely have to go to 3 shops to get what you need instead of just one. In my area there is one shop that sells plastic free broccoli, another that sells a large variety of plastic free fruit, and a third one that sells packaging free cleaning products.
  8. Not all plastic is bad. There are many things in our home, that is made of plastic that we use every day. I’m not going to throw out a perfectly fine product just because it is plastic. Take reusable food containers as an example. We have many, and when we needed new ones, we bought glass and aluminum versions.
  9. Try make things at home that comes in plastic packaging. We make our own orange juice from packaging free oranges, instead of buying plastic bottled orange juice. I want to try baking bread at home next.
  10. Share your plastic free journey with others and you could inspire others to make positive changes to the environment.
Rich results on Google's SERP when searching for 'health shops in cape town'
These are all reused gherkins and beetroot jars, which I clearly buy a lot!

Good luck on your plastic free journey, and remember:

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

  • Edward Everett Hale

Lots of Love, Sharné aka The Green Vegan Chick

About the author: Sharné started her green journey over a decade ago, and has been vegan for 9 years. She started her beautiful Instagram page and blog to make it easier for others to make simple earth and animal friendly changes in their daily lives. Give her a follow on Instagram over @greenveganchick  for low waste inspiration, amazing plant-based recipes and all things green.

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Shop plastic free online

We’ve arrived online and we’re so excited: our zero waste, plastic-free online shopping site is now live and ready for you.  Now you can Shop Zero™ from the comfort of your home, making zero waste options even more convenient.  If you are looking for sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle solutions, you have come to the right place.  Shop Zero™ has the answers!

Choose from our wide range of reusable cups and straws, zero waste skin, body and hair products, and other environmentally friendly items.  We are vegan-based and inspired by everyone and everything that is kind and fair to our beautiful planet. We also deliver nationwide in South Africa.

If you are new to the concept of zero waste and how to shop sustainably, stick around. We’ll be posting regularly to guide you in the right direction by giving tips, advice and solutions to everyday waste problems.

Quite simply, we’re here to eliminate the single use of plastic, which is the main threat to the livelihood of our oceans and the reason our landfills are overflowing. On our website and in our shop in Woodstock (Cape Town), you will see a vast range of alternatives to the single use of plastic, showing you how to shop and live plastic free.

Welcome to your zero waste community, welcome to Shop Zero™.