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Why Heatwaves aren't just Uncomfortable for People - They're Bad News for our Rivers

Why Heatwaves aren't just Uncomfortable for People - They're Bad News for our Rivers

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Whether you’re a sun worshipper enjoyed the 37 degrees heat, or someone who is delighted about the mid-20s and rain of this weekend, there are probably a few things you’ve done this week that you wouldn’t in any other season.

It’s something we’ve never considered before, but it turns out that the River Thames takes a big punch as soon as the weather gets warmer. We were surprised at first - it hadn’t ever occurred to us that this could be a seasonal issue… and then we got reading…

 

  1. Plastic water bottles EVERYWHERE

Summer is the only time of the year that more plastic water bottles are found in the Thames than fizzy drinks bottles. This isn’t because people stop drinking Diet Coke in the Summer, but instead because we are all found wanting - without water in our bags, or desperate for a cold sparkling water rather than the lukewarm tap water that’s been in our bag all day. 

plastic-bottles-waste

 

  1. You can’t drink iced coffee out of your KeepCup


It’s almost the only time where you don’t use your Keep Cup, but it pains you inside as you see your lovely drink being served up in the plastic container and lid. Estimates are that up to 3,750 iced coffees were sold per hour on Thursday afternoon - that’s more than one per second!  

iced-coffee-plastic

 

  1. Ice cream and lolly wrappers, maybe everyday of the week! 

Hopefully you had a Solero today instead of any other ice cream? That’s great if so, because Unilever are currently trialling a more eco-friendly packaging that uses 35% less plastic than the plastic wrappers of most ice lollies. This packaging has been approved to be widely recyclable across the UK with a plastic content of only 5%. If the Solero trial proves to be a success, it’ll be rolled out across a whole range - so fingers crossed!

unilever-eco-friendly-packaging

  1. Wet wipes are out in full force

Nothing like a refreshing face wipe or wet wipe when you feel sticky and sweaty about 2 minutes after leaving the house. Mums of young children also get through more wet wipes at this time of the year - drinks, snacks, ice lollies, general ickiness, all lead to sticky hands. It turns out that a wet wipe reef is forming along the Thames in Putney a.k.a. Nappy Valley. During a recent river clean of the so-called “Thames Great Wet Wipe Reef”, 23,000 wipes were counted and removed in just two hours. 

 

We all hope Summer isn't over and there are plenty of warm days to come. But, next time, try to have that Iced Coffee to stay rather than to go, and try a gelato in a tub rather than a Magnum. 

@ethicalstoriesethicalme

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