15-Year-Old Ava Bland Provides Her Insight

We have all seen how plastic has invaded every inch of our planet – from our oceans, lakes and rivers, to our coastlines, forests, parks, roadsides and more. 

Many of us want to stop this plastic invasion, however the problems that we face are huge and it can often feel very overwhelming. This is why so many people ignore this plastic crisis when they are only presented with the problem and not a hint of the solutions. For this reason I have chosen to take small steps towards my goal of living life with as little plastic as possible, rather than taking one huge leap.

Ava Bland

15-year-old eco warrior and Plastic Oceans Europe staffer, Ava Bland.

I began to realise how much trouble our planet was in when I was 13 and in the last two years  I feel very proud of the progress I have made to live more plastic-free. A great resource worth checking out is Living Without Plastic, a book from Plastic Oceans International that offers over 100 creative and fun ways that you can reduce your personal plastic footprint.

Here’s several steps that my family and I have taken:

  • Using beeswax wraps instead of cling film or aluminium foil 
  • Installing a filter system in our tap to avoid buying plastic bottles of water
  • Using a soda stream to make fizzy water instead of buying more plastic
  • Taking our reusable bottles everywhere with us
  • Bringing reusable vegetable nets to the supermarket 
  • Reusing plastic bags at the supermarket
  • Using metal straws or not using straws at all
  • Using coffee beans instead of plastic capsules
  • Buying loose vegetables instead of those pre-wrapped
  • Growing our own vegetables
  • Cooking from home to avoid pre-packaged food, eg. Pizzas, hummus, cakes and biscuits
Living Without Plastic

Living Without Plastic offers over 100 creative ways you can reduce your single-use plastic footprint.

Watching other people’s journeys on social media really influences how I go about making my life more eco-friendly. It’s really helpful to see how other people are making small steps towards their goal and quite often I use their ideas and tips in my journey.

I created my environmental Instagram account (@ava.environmental) in 2019, which is where I post about human-made problems affecting our planet, especially Mallorca, where I live. It’s also where I offer sustainable living tips, hoping to inspire people to participate in caring for our planet. I also use this account as a way of logging the progress I have made since I started my journey and it’s rewarding to see how far my family and I have come.

It’s great to see that my friends have been influenced by me changing my habits and are now more conscious of how much plastic they are consuming too. We all really enjoy doing beach cleans together too!

Even though making a small change every month doesn’t seem enough to end plastic pollution, it actually makes much more of a difference than you realise. As the Chinese proverb says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Ava Bland is a 15-year-old environmentalist currently living in Mallorca. She is part of the Plastic Oceans Europe team and is currently studying for her GCSE’s, but when not in school she enjoys looking after and riding her horse.