Ayr Beach Clean

Annually, there are seven billion tons of debris deposited on beaches, which is not only a health hazard for us who use them recreationally but also an environmental hazard for the marine community which depends on them. That is why it was so important to me to organise a beach clean last weekend: bringing together an amazing group of people to tackle the problem.

We headed down to South Ayrshire depot to collect our litter picking equipment. We also managed to sneak a quick tour of the facilities and learn exactly what happens to our litter when we throw it in our wheelie bins.

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This was the paper and plastic collected from Ayrshire’s wheelie bins on Friday. So where exactly is this all going now? The team at the depot explained;

  • The contents of your blue bin are processed in Irvine at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where the paper, card, plastic bottles and cans are separated out and sold on to recycling markets.
  • The contents of the brown bin are taken to a centralised composting plant in Skares, where it is turned into compost before being used in landscaping works etc.
  • The glass is taken to their waste transfer station in Ayr, before being bulked up and transported to the glass recycling plant in Alloa where it is turned into new glass bottles.

Recycling waste materials provides an opportunity to put less waste to landfill, reduces air pollution and energy use, and reduces the impact of extracting materials and is a more efficient use of finite resources.

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After our tour, we headed to Unity Grill who kindly offered to host us before the beach clean. Their motto is ‘Eat Well. Do Good’. We certainly ate well – the food was AMAZING, with a great choice of vegan and gluten free options.

Unity Grill are a social restaurant with the community at heart, where 100% of the profits are used to challenge food poverty. Angela, the owner sat down to chat with us where she explained that everyone is welcome, regardless of whether you can pay for your meal or not. At Unity Grill, you have the option to volunteer to cover the cost of your meal.

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…Not for sharing!
We were also treated to some much needed caffeine, kindly donated by Rocket Monkey Coffee and as a fun incentive, Global WAKEcup offered two personalised eco-friendly cups to the two people that collected the most litter on Ayr beach.
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Fueled up and ready to go, we headed down to Ayr beach and in true Scottish fashion, got completely soaked.

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Although the beach wasn’t all that bad, much of what we did find was mainly plastic straws and bottle tops.

We managed to collect five bags of litter. Shout out to Adventures with Amanda and Kathryn In The Clouds for collecting the most litter and winning the personalised cups.

It was such a fun day and great to see so many people pull together for such an important cause. While beach cleans alone will never be the answer to plastic pollution, they are an incredible example of community spirit. They serve to educate and raise awareness on a mass scale. Every piece of plastic we remove is a victory for our beaches and provides evidence to support campaigns calling for packaging and business reform.

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Thank you so much again to Unity Grill for hosting us for the best brunch EVER! And Rocket Monkey Coffee for fueling us. Also, True Glasgow for providing transport and the team at South Ayrshire Council for providing the litter picking equipment and supporting us throughout. And last but not least my gal Bloggers Who Brunch Glasgow for bringing us all together💙 Chuffed to bits!

Keep up to date with my latest adventures: A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

Images by Power Puff Travel and myself.

Women in the Gig Economy

With the New Year celebrations now over and 2018 upon us, we are also preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the qualification of women into parliament and women over 30 getting to vote.

100 years in parliament, getting the vote and we still can’t get equal pay!

In the 21st century, you’d think this would be a thing of the past. But, with the gig economy on the rise and women working in this sector opting for stereotypical roles in the labour market, is the UK taking a step back?

According to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), there are currently 4.85 million self employed people in the U.K and just over one third of that population are women, with 1.1 million of all self-employed working in the gig economy.

The gig economy has proven attractive for many women. Working mothers in particular benefit from the flexible hours and independence that it brings. Between 2008 and 2017, the number of self-employed mothers increased by 79%.

While this way of working seems to be becoming more and more popular, it still poses many of the gendered challenges of the wider labour market. The biggest being woman opting for stereotypical roles such as administrative, domestic and care work – the same type of roles we worked circa 1920. With many arguing that WW1 ‘revolutionised’ the industrial position of women – many would agree that the war did offer women increased opportunities in the paid labour market.

It has only been since the 1980’s that women have started to be taken remotely serious by men. Still paid less for the same jobs but instead valued purely upon their exterior, during a time when women had little to no rights, instead given the job of looking after their appearance because there was little else we could do or show for ourselves. A “Keep yourself busy with your hair babe” approach.

During this time (1914-1918) an estimated 2 million women replaced men in employment so women have shown that they are more than capable of doing the same jobs as men. So why are we still opting for the same jobs now that we were told we were ‘supposed’ to do then and being underpaid?

Gig economy is predominantly male

The RSA published a recent study on the gig economy, showing that ‘women are half as likely as men to have tried any form of gig work and that the gig economy is predominantly male. Women seem to be more likely found on asset-based platforms, trading in goods like clothing or toys but are heavily concentrated in segments such as cleaning and care working.

When asked, women were much more specific than men about the type of gig work they would do with a narrower span of consideration; the top services they would be willing to provide were administration, professional or creative in nature with personal services also high up there.

Surprise, surprise… Women earn less as Giggers

Women also do not earn much in the gig economy. Almost 75% of women earn less than the taxable threshold – with as many as 66% of female gig workers stating that they also have other forms of work. Potentially, suggesting that at present, women have a much more casual relationship with the gig economy.

In the creative industries, men command an average day rate of £319 (£15 higher than women) according to research by jobs platform YunoJuno. It found women take higher rates across strategy and client service roles, but men’s rates can be as much as £50 a day higher across other disciplines including creative, design and film.

Part of the problem is women setting their own rates dramatically lower than their male competitors. Lee Kemp, a director and owner of Vermillion Films, said two-thirds of freelancers he encountered who “drastically” under-priced themselves were women. “Immediately you think it’s because they are inexperienced or they’re not very good, but that is not always the case”.

Have we only ourselves to blame?

It’s possible that women may be under-represented because newer platforms tend to offer work that women are typically not drawn to in the wider labour market; an example would be the taxi industry, women are not very well represented in this industry so it’s not a surprise that not many work for Uber. However, given that women are more likely to be in professional, creative or administrative services in the economy as a whole, we would expect platforms aimed at freelancers or ‘crowd workers’ to be attracting more women.