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Ocean Hero: Eve and the 'Leave It Better' Community

Ocean Heroes features stories of people from all around the world who deeply care about our nature, our health, and our planet's future. Down-to-earth people who decided to change the way they do laundry not because it's easier but because filtering microplastics is the right thing to do. 

Eve is a masters student in Global Sustainability Solutions at the University of Exeter. She leads a life fuelled by the passion for creating a better, more sustainable world. Her love for the ocean and nature was sparked very early in her life, when she was living on a boat. Eve is still happiest when on/in the sea and she continues to spend time sailing whenever possible. We asked Eve to share her sustainable journey with us. Read on to get inspired.

PlanetCare: Why have you decided to live sustainably?

Eve: For me, being more sustainable in my everyday life is something that is impossible not to think about, seeing that we are now in a ‘climate emergency’. Having studied the environment and human impacts on the natural world I understand we must change the ways in which we live and behave in order to make a difference.

PlanetCare: What do you do to lower your environmental impact?

Eve: I do not claim to be perfect or sustainable but like lots of us I am trying to make choices and switches which reduce my own personal carbon footprint and environmental impact. I actively try to promote the ‘Leave It Better Community’ ethos. I litter pick when I’m out on walks, travelling in my self-converted van or on the boat trying to keep our environment clean.

Since I have started cycling, I am trying to reduce car use in my day-to-day life as much as possible. I recently bought a trailer for my bike so that I can go to the supermarket and visit friends. Putting my bags in the trailer keeps me fit and is more sustainable at the same time!

I am also choosing to invest in products that are more natural whilst avoiding single use plastic products.  For example, I use a menstrual cup, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable makeup pads, eco balls for my washing detergent, shampoo and conditioner bars, natural sponges, etc. I also changed my bank account to one which does not invest in fossil fuels, and I bring reusable coffee and drinks bottles. These are all things that are easy to switch to and can make a difference.

I have also started to grow my own vegetables to help decrease the amount of food I buy which comes wrapped in plastic. Being productive is also great for your mental health, spending time outdoors and watching seeds germinate, and then grow from seedlings to massive plants!

I still have many improvements to make to my life and my next goal is to transition to a plant-based diet.

PlanetCare: How did you find out about the microplastics pollution problem?

I have been aware of the plastic pollution problem in our oceans for a long time as I have witnessed it first hand on beaches and when I am out sailing. However, it was not until recently when I had a module at university called ‘Blue Planet’, that I started to look into microplastics and was shocked about how prominent and widespread this problem is.

PlanetCare: What are you doing to stop it?

Eve: Once you have acknowledged and understood the plastic pollution problem, why would you not want to start with reducing your own contributions to the microplastic problem?  The PlanetCare filter is crucial to catch those microplastics which shed when we wash our clothes, and it helps us visualise the issue, as once you have removed the used filter the evidence is clear.

PlanetCare: How do you choose your clothes? What materials do you wear?

Eve: My clothes are a mixture of both natural and synthetic, but probably the majority are synthetic. In my mid to late teens, I was a victim of fast fashion, new trends and new seasons type mentality. I was not aware of how the choices I made with my fashion affected the environment as well as ethical problems associated with it.

Nowadays, with my increasing knowledge of sustainability awareness about the greenwashing that does take place, I do try and buy second hand wherever possible. I also sell my clothes on platforms such as DEPOP. I love charity shop shopping over high street or online shopping as it adds the element of surprise when you find something you really love! After getting my PlanetCare filter I now also check the labels to see what my clothes are made of.

PlanetCare: Besides using our filter, what else is in your sustainable laundry routine?

Eve: I have always washed my clothes at 30 degrees, which is something my parents have always done, so naturally I followed suit. I am also lazy when it comes to my laundry, so I always have full loads to put on and then always line dry outside which means I am restricted to sunny/dry weather only which is very temperamental here in England.

PlanetCare: What's your advice for someone who is just starting to live sustainably?

Eve: I would say, firstly, thanks so much for thinking about the environment. Secondly, I would say it can be daunting thinking about climate change and becoming more sustainable so you could start off with swapping just one sustainable product or lifestyle change each month.

You could get a PlanetCare Filter one month and when your toothbrush has deteriorated get a bamboo one instead. Try to cycle, walk or run (depending on your physical ability) on some journeys when you usually would have taken your car.

Once you start to live more sustainably you won’t want to stop – that’s not a bad thing, you’re caring, and we need more people like you!

PlanetCare: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Eve: Just thanks to PlanetCare team for creating a product which is vitally needed, and I hope one day this sort of technology is integrated into future washing machine design!

If you’re interested in the community I am part of, you can find it on Instagram at @theleaveitbetterco

Masa Sprajcar-Rancic
Masa Sprajcar-Rancic
Masa spends a significant chunk of time on empowering people to live more sustainably by merging her knowledge of environmental sciences with behaviour change insights. When not at work she loves spending time outdoors, so you’ll most likely find her on her bike or at her allotment.

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