Could you live without plastic?

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS), the UK’s leading marine charity, is asking people to give up single-use plastic during June.

The challenge is to say goodbye to conveniences like pre-packed sandwiches, ready meals and plastic-bottled drinks for a day, a week or the whole month.

Last year almost 850 people took part in the MCS Plastic Challenge, and over 95% said they would continue reducing their plastic use after the challenge was over. The charity hopes even more people will take part in 2016.

Dr. Sue Kinsey, Technical Specialist – Waste, said she was amazed at the lengths people had to go to find products that didn’t contain plastic of any kind. “By its very nature, this is a tricky challenge. It highlights how reliant we have become on plastic. But challengers have been making their own bread, yogurt, cleaning products and bathroom products like mouthwash and sugar scrubs so as not to use plastic containers that are used once, then thrown out.”

plastic pollution water bottlesLast year, Challengers reported the hardest items to find plastic-free were dried goods like pasta, rice and pulses, along with milk and loo paper. MCS says the amount of plastic litter on our beaches has increased by 180% in the last 20 years and has become a massive threat to marine wildlife. Plastic bags, bottles and tiny plastic pieces are regularly found in the stomachs of turtles and other sea creatures, and in some cases have caused their death from starvation or choking.

“Reducing plastic litter will certainly be an uphill climb – but if we can all cut down the amount we use, there’s no doubt our marine environment will be a healthier place” says Dr. Kinsey.

“We want to change people’s attitudes towards single-use plastics, and to encourage people to value plastic as a resource – not just buying stuff without any thought of the environmental impact” says Dr. Kinsey. “People taking on the Plastic Challenge are often shocked to find out just how much single-use plastic is used every day. Have a go at the Plastic Challenge, even if you can only manage a single day, and you’ll never look at your shopping in the same way again!”

Plastic plays a massive part in all of our lives, from brushing our teeth and showering, to plastic-packed products and cooking. For instance many of us have lunch on the go – and that highlights the extent of our plastic problem – boiled eggs in individual plastic containers, apple slices in plastic bags, pasties on a polystyrene tray wrapped in plastic, plus prepacked sandwiches and bottled drinks. “Our clamour for convenience is bad news for our seas,” says Dr. Kinsey. “Plastic is durable and lightweight, but it’s these properties that allow it to remain in the marine environment for hundreds if not thousands of years. Plastics are among the most persistent synthetic materials in existence and are now a significant and extensive marine pollutant.”

Register to take part in the Plastic Challenge at www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge

MCS offers help and advice through an online community in the run up to the challenge and all through the month of June. There is also an online shop with products to help you say goodbye to plastic waste. Water-to-Go bottles are available and to celebrate the Plastic Challenge we’ve got 15% off using the code MCS16 at checkout. Not only do you get a discount, we’ll match the discount and donate 15% directly to MCS.

marine conservation plastic challenge

The Rohan Way…

We’re delighted to announce that our filtered water bottles are now available in ALL Rohan stores. Rohan have been stocking Water-to-Go for the past 2 years and due to popular demand, now feature us in all of their stores.

Rohan is the perfect match for Water-to-Go. As the only Travel Clothing specialists on the high street, they have 3 fundamental principles that they stick to – Lightweight, Packable and Fast Drying.

Now, the fast drying would just apply to their clothes, but being lightweight and packable are two principles that Water-to-Go live by. Our 75cl bottle weighs just 138grams and is the perfect size to slip into a backpack or daypack.

It’s not just their philosophy on product that we share. Rohan also shares our passion for the environment. Their environmental policy is one that is very close to our hearts:

“At Rohan we think travel bottlecarefully about how we can grow whilst minimizing our direct environmental impacts. By sourcing responsibly, reducing waste and encouraging reuse we believe we can do our bit to build a sustainable business. We recognize it’s a journey and we continue to look at ways we can improve.

We believe in making a quality product that lasts and that Reduce and Reuse are better aims than recycle.”

Taken from Rohan.co.uk

Our water bottles fall into both of these categories. We are trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste caused by single-use water bottles by encouraging people to use a reusable water bottle with a filter.

Check out the Rohan website and find your nearest store: www.rohan.co.uk

Paddle & Pick 2016

We’re excited to announce our partnership with Active 360 to help with their quest to clean up London’s water.

The waterways of London are great places for activity, relaxation and getting in touch with nature. However, in many places they are blighted by litter and in particular plastic waste. This is part of a worldwide problem as much of this litter ends up in open ocean, is ingested by fish and marine mammals and enters the food chain.

Active 360, a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) company, have organised a clean up across London’s waterways over a 8th-11th April.

Paddle & Pick aims to clean up several parts of different waterways but also to raise awareness of what ends up our the canals and rivers and encourage people to review their purchases of single use plastics as well as letting participants have a free SUP lesson.

A team from Water-to-Go will be at the event helping to pick up some plastic that plague our waters. We will also be showcasing our filtered water bottles as a sustainable solution to single use water bottles.

The event is being organised by Watertrek Foundation with lots of help from Thames Estuary Partnership. Watertrek Foundation is an environmental charity with good experience in organising clean up events to raise awareness of the plastic waste issue. Thames Estuary Partnership are an umbrella organisation working with a range of bigger organisations which have an interest in a cleaner, more accessible Thames. These include Tideway, the PLA, Thames21. Other partners to the project include Canal and Rivers Trust, Merchant Square, Moo Canoes, Kay & Co and others who are orgainsing clean up and paddle events .

Active 360 have been organizing and helping with clean ups of the canals at Brentford and at Paddington since 2011. They let participants have free SUP including a short lesson if required, in return for getting involved in clearing a section of canal of plastic waste. This fun element has worked well to encourage people who would not otherwise get involved in clean up events.

We’ll have more information on the event and how you can get involved soon.

Reduced Delivery Charges for UK

We’re pleased to announce we’ve managed to reduce the cost of delivery to the UK.

You now have 5 options to choose from, ranging from ‘Free Delivery’ to a ‘Tracked 24hr’ Service.

Our new prices are:

  • Free Delivery (3-5 Days) – On all orders over £60
  • 2nd Class (3-5 Days)  – £2.85
  • 1st Class (1-2 Days) – £3.50
  • Tracked 48 (3-5 Days) – £5.00
  • Tracked 24 (1-2 Days) – £6.20

‘1st Class’ and ‘Tracked 24’ services are 1-2 days if the order is placed before 12pm (GMT) Mon-Fri.

 

 

Ash Dykes Walks into the History Books… Again!

National Adventurer of the Year nominee, Ash Dykes, has become the first person in history to successfully walk the entire length of Madagascar from south to north, summiting its eight highest mountains on his way.

The expedition, which took 155 days to complete, saw Ash walk more that 3.5 million steps to reach Cap d’Ambre – the most northerly point of the island -­‐ in the early hours of this morning.

This 1600 mile mission was a journey of raw adventure as authentic and challenging as the landscape, but with that came the prospect of serious danger. Ash contracted the most deadly strain of Malaria just 12 weeks ago, leaving him with hours to live before he received emergency medical treatment. Determined to bounce back, Ash spent 5 days in recovery before continuing with the expedition. More recently he suffered an adverse reaction to spider bites that caused his arms to blister and has narrowly avoided scorpions, snakes and even poisonous centipedes found in the depths of the forests.

The expedition has taken Ash across some truly unforgiving and dangerous terrain as he’s faced sweltering desert and sand dunes in the south before hacking his way through dense jungle and rainforest in the north with temperatures scaling from 0c right up to 45c.

Ash also met local inhabitants face to face during his trek, giving him the chance to understand the Malagasy way and pace of life at eye level. One tribe gifted Ash with a chicken ahead of his journey to summit Maromokotro, the highest mountain on the island, and was told to set it free at the summit in order to destroy bad spirits to allow a safe descent; an order Ash followed with the chicken he affectionately named Gertrude.

When there weren’t locals around to invite Ash into their homes, Ash took to living a very primitive way of life. Not only was he relying on natural resources to get him out of situations -­‐ he was left stranded at the foot of a mountain following a cyclone and built a raft from wood to float across a flooded river – but also foraging for wild nutrients including mangos, banana, sugar cane and lychee, as well as lesser known raffia fruit and kat leaves.

Ash Dykes commented:12742812_1010873602310097_8883220049122079091_n

“It’s been an incredible journey and I feel very privileged to experience the heart of Madagascar. The people are some of the most hospitable I’ve met and to be welcomed by tribes that, until now, have never even seen a foreigner was very special. Seeing how locals not only survive but thrive in remote and often perilous areas has been eye opening.

However nothing could have prepared me for just how mentally and physically tough the journey would be. This is, without a doubt, the hardest and most demanding challenge I’ve taken on -­‐ there were times it nearly broke me so reaching the finish line was quite overwhelming.”

The expedition was more than a personal challenge for Ash. He chose Madagascar for its status as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Around 75 percent of the species found in Madagascar live nowhere else on the planet, but deforestation is causing habitat and wildlife loss, something Ash wanted to explore and see first hand.

Ash visited several conservationists across the island from the Lemur Conservation Network who protect the island’s most famous inhabitants—with over 100 species of lemur who make up the world’s most endangered group of mammals. In the south, Ash met with Azafady, a humanitarian and environmental charity that aims to alleviate poverty and conserve unique and biologically rich environments; and in the north, Ash trekked into Montagne des Francais with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership to spot one of the 50 remaining Northern Sportive Lemurs.

Throughout the expedition, Ash witnessed both the rampant forest fires destroying the land, and the simultaneous reforestation and habitat protection efforts, revealing the ongoing battle that they face. Ash was lucky enough to see some of the island’s rarest species first hand, including the Madagascan Pochard Duck, native to Madagascar with less than 50 left in the world.

Ash Dykes said:

“Madagascar is a country of stark contrast with some very real environmental issues and a big part of the expedition was to highlight this. There’s a huge threat to a lot of the island’s endemic species but so many conservationists are in place to rescue and protect them with very positive achievements. In the past year alone, over 10,000 trees have been planted to reforest and protect the habitat of the Northern Sportive Lemur, so it’s great to see projects making a difference.”

Ash has been nominated for this year’s ‘National Adventure Awards’ and selected as an ambassador for the ‘Wales Year of Adventure’.

Ash is nAshDykes21o stranger to adventures. Only last year, aged 23, he became the first person in history to complete a solo and unsupported trek across Mongolia. Nicknamed the ‘Lonely Snow Leopard’ by the Mongolian locals during his time. He took on the Altai Mountains, Gobi Desert & Mongolian Steppe, whilst pulling a 120kg trailer carrying all provisions needed to survive (including his trusty Water-to-Go bottle). Ash completed the 1500 mile trek in just 78 days, facing sandstorms, snow blizzards, Grey Wolves and heat exhaustion and was crowned ‘Adventurer of the Year’ by public vote.

Ash has used his Water-to-Go bottles since his first adventure in Mongolia and has continued to use ever since:

“I had been searching for some time, for a really good & effective water filter to take on my expedition across Mongolia, but I kept coming across water filters that needed to be pumped to purify the water (in a desert of 45 degrees C, this was the last thing I wanted to do). My agent came across the Water-to-Go stand at an adventure festival and asked for a demo & how they worked. He was so impressed that he sent me a text straight after, in which I then went on the website, and found the perfect bottle to take out with me. The fact that I could top the bottle up and drink it straight away was what hooked me the most, and it was an absolute must for me in such an environment, but even my latest trek in Scotland saw me topping it up constantly from lochs, rivers etc and the taste was perfect. The bottle really does deliver and I’m super impressed with it. Fantastic product, team & service, I highly recommend.”

 

 

 

Meeting Julia Bradbury…

We had the huge privilege of meeting TV star, Julia Bradbury at the Destinations Travel Show at Olympia.

After popping by our stand and seeing our demonstration, Julia crowned Water-to-Go her ‘Gadget of the Day’.

Play the video underneath to see what Julia had to say:

 

It was this demo that impressed Julia so much:

 

 

Julia’s new show, ‘Best Walks with a View’ launches on Friday 19th February at 8pm on ITV.

Cycling from London 2 Cape Town

Our water bottles are no strangers to adventure travel. We’ve been taken pretty much everywhere in the world; used for all sorts of amazing journeys and expeditions far and wide.

One such adventure is a journey filled with courage, determination and strong cycling legs. Adventurers Emily Conrad-Pickles and James Davis are half way through an incredible 20,000km cycle from London 2 Cape Town.

Their route will take them through 3 continents, 27 countries and they aim to do it all in 12 months. The duo will be battling temperatures of up to 55°C in the Sahara Desert; conquering 10,000ft of mountain passes in Ethiopia all whilst raising £50,000 for the World Bicycle Relief.

The World Bicycle Relief empowers people across Africa by donating bikes. They believe in mobilising people through the power of bicycles so that distance no longer prevents access to healthcare, education and economic activity. So far they have provided over 200,000 bikes to people in a number of African countries.

We caught up with James to find out how they were finding they were getting on:

“We’re only 4 months in to our yearlong expedition to cycle from London to Cape Town and we’ve already learnt that our Water-to-Go filtered water bottles are one of the most important pieces of kit we have with us.

Admittedly, we were a little nervous the first time we filled the bottles from a more ‘suspect’ water source. But, ever since, we’ve topped up from loads of places where we would never considered drinking from before – including taps in the street, cattle drinking troughs, a leaking water pipe in the desert and even straight from the river Danube – close to where we later found a dead frog floating in the water.

Even at visitor attractions we’ve scoffed at tourists who’re forced to pay for overpriced bottled water whilst we’ve topped our Water-to-Go bottles from the taps in the loos. The bottles themselves are tough and sturdy and the recently improved design of the filter makes drinking on the go even easier.

As we leave Egypt to continue south into rural Africa we have confidence that our Water-to-Go filtered water bottles will safely filter even the most questionable of water sources keeping us hydrated on our quest to cycle from London to Cape Town.”

You can follow the journey and donate to this wonderful charity at www.london2capetown.org

Water-to-Go taking over the world

We’re thrilled to announce that Water-to-Go is now available in Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland!

Each one has its own website so you can go there directly to purchase or see the latest news!

We are rapidly expanding, so if we’re not yet available in your country, we will be soon! We’ve got some more exciting announcements coming up very soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Check out the list below to see the full range of countries Water-to-Go is available in:

5p for plastic bags in England

From today, (5th October 2015) shoppers in England will be charged 5p for plastic bags in a bid to reduce the plastic waste it causes.

England is the last part of the UK to start charging for bags and dresses with a similar tax already in place in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

However, the new tax does not apply to everyone. Shops with 250 or more employees must charge 5p but smaller shops and paper bags are exempt.

Stores can still provide free bags for customers who are buying uncooked meat or fish, prescriptions, fresh produce (E.g. flowers), and take away food such as chips.

Some environmental campaigners are worried that these exemptions may make this ban less successful then in other parts of the UK.

It is estimated that nearly 8 billion plastic bags are given away in England alone. It is expected that the new levy will reduce that amount by 75%.

The cash generated by the bag tax will be donated to charities nominated by the shops.

Single-use carrier bags can take 1,000 years to degrade. Not only detrimental to wildlife but it is estimated that there are 70 bags per mile on our coastlines.

Do you agree with the charge, or should they be banned completely?

The same argument could be made for single-use plastic water bottles, which are still a huge burden on our ecosystem. Over 70 billion single use plastic water bottles are consumed annually in the US and Europe alone; National Geographic estimate that a maximum of 20% are recycled.