- Tori Ratcliffe
This weeks blog is written by artist Tori Ratcliffe. Thanks for taking the time to write for us. Be sure to check out her artwork on her website and social media!
My aunt first introduced me to watercolours when I was 21, but I was so impatient that I struggled to get to grips with painting landscapes in the traditional manner. My eagerness to learn led me to develop my own unique style, loosely applying the paint first in an expressive manner, then adding the details in pen. As an animal artist, I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for the natural world and all the wonderful birds and beasts that inhabit it; even as a child, my life goal was to become a dog.
But sadly, in the last 40 years we’ve carelessly managed to lose 50% of our planet’s wildlife. In the grand spider web of nature, everything is interconnected. Take one block of Jenga out and you risk the whole tower falling down. So, what can we do?
One of the current threats our wildlife faces is the vast amount of plastic polluting the oceans, and there’s one culprit in particular that needs addressing: the plastic bag. Don’t get me wrong plastic is a handy material. It’s lightweight and durable; a sensible choice if you’re making a tupperware box, something that will be accompanying you on your lunch breaks for many a year with the unending loyalty of a well-loved Labrador. But these characteristics are precisely the reason why plastic is the wrong choice of material for a disposable, single-use carrier bag which, on average, is used for a mere 12 minutes.
Being so light and airy plastic bags are the perfect windsock, and most get swooped out of bins and carried off to become urban tumbleweed; wreaking havoc and earning a few ASBOs before ending up in our rivers, streams and oceans.
After its measly 12 minutes of use, your plastic bag could take up to 1,000 years to break down in the sea, causing the death of up to 100,000 marine animals each year through ingestion and entanglement.
With that playing on my mind every time I go the shops, squeezing my items into an ugly old brown rucksack and having to carry the rest that don’t fit, it suddenly made sense. Why would I not create a range of tote bags? With the light and durable qualities of plastic but with none of the harm coming to the environment, they’re the perfect product to display my artwork on.
It was vital that I found a company with the same moral compass as me, so you can imagine my sheer delight to come across BIDBI (Bag it, Don’t Bin It). They create absolutely guilt-free products; 100% natural cotton, fair trade made AND with environmentally friendly links, surely it can’t get better than that? But it does - the actual quality of the product is second to none, their standard of service is superb and above all I feel they are a company who I can genuinely trust. That really is everything a business owner could hope for from a supplier.
With the help of BIDBI, I’m happily spending my days offering my customers an attractive, durable and practical item (which makes a great birthday gift, may I add) whilst sneakily helping them to reduce their plastic bag use. Everyone’s a winner - including the fish!