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Top 7 TED talks you must watch on Waste Management & Plastic-free living

In the face of the plastic pollution epidemic that leaves no part of this earth unaffected, movements of zero waste and plastic-free living have swept across the world. There is a LOT of information out there about the plastic pollution problem and just as much about its solutions like reducing our plastic use, going plastic-free and even living with zero-waste. So, to save you having to trawl through it all, here is our pick of the top 7 TED talks on this subject. 
 
1. Can one straw change the world? — Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff
 
Beginning with a simple story about saying no to disposable plastic, Rachel takes us through some interesting and sobering facts about plastic pollution and reveals truths about compostable plastics and recycling that show they’re perhaps not so great after all. She challenges us to break our single-use plastic habit and gives some simple things we can all do to help solve the problem of plastic pollution and once again swim in a clean ocean.
 
2. Why plastic pollution is personal — Natalie Fee
 
Natalie tells us how one film changed her life and led her to create City to Sea, an organisation focussed on stopping plastic pollution at its source. After seeing the items that were strewn along beaches near her home in the UK, she decided to focus on one very small and seemingly insignificant everyday item, and ran a very successful campaign to have retailers stop selling it. She argues that plastic pollution is a battle we can win by questioning every single-use plastic we buy and committing to a few simple changes.
 
3. Two adults, two kids, zero waste — Bea Johnson
 

This talk gives a glimpse into the inspiring life of Bea Johnson, pioneer of the zero waste movement. By following the 5 ‘R’s (yes you read that right, we’re not in the 80s anymore) she shows how her family lives a zero waste lifestyle without sacrificing quality of life, but in fact increasing it, by improving their health, saving money and freeing up time to enjoy more of life.
 
4. What if we refuse trash? — Andrea Sanders
 
Watching an old movie reel of her grandparents, prior to our throwaway culture when everything was reusable, Andrea had an awakening. This insightful talk looks at how our relationship to our ‘stuff’ has changed in a very short time. Only two generations ago products had a longer lifespan and we valued them more. She talks about the shift from then to our current linear economy and gives three simple principles that we can all embrace to help create another shift — to a zero waste economy where we once again value the products we buy.
 
5. The non-disposable life — Lindsay Miles
 
Lindsay thought she was pretty green because she took reusable bags to the shops and recycled everything. But after participating in Plastic-Free July, she discovered just how much more she could do to help the planet and turned one month into forever. In fact, she went even further than plastic-free and ditched disposable packaging altogether. She encourages us to rethink our need for convenience at the expense of the planet, and to embrace a new story that will help us make better decisions.
 
6. Cut the crap: waste is history — Kristine Ullaland
 
After realising how many disposable products she was consuming, Kristine decided to start reducing her waste. Initially a sceptic, she has now embraced the zero waste lifestyle. She explains how we’ve become so disconnected both from where our waste ends up and the source of what we buy that we don’t realise there is any problem. She encourages us as consumers to think about where things come from, where they’ll end up and if we actually need them in the first place.
 
7. How to live a plastic free life — Alexis McGivern
 
A former plastic addict, Alexis prompts us to really consider about the fate of the disposable plastic we use. She illustrates how it’s so easy for us to not think about the impacts of our waste because we have the convenience of just wheeling a bin to the kerb every week. She shows us the key items she uses to avoid disposable plastic and encourages us to vote with our wallet and make a better choice.

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