Let’s try an exercise. Think about your typical day. From waking up until going to sleep, how much plastic do you use? Don’t forget the coffee cup, straw, the utensils to eat your lunch with (not to mention its container), your groceries, so on and so forth... It’s a lot isn’t it?
It’s crazy when you take the time and consider it, but we are surrounded by plastic. Plastic is cheap, durable and nearly indestructible – that’s why it is such a key component of all of our lives. These characteristics are precisely why plastic is such a problem for our environment.
We are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year and in the US, only 7 percent of this plastic is recycled. 40 percent of all of the produced plastic is used only once. When this plastic is not recycled, it inevitably makes its way to our oceans or landfills. Since it is so indestructible, it takes nearly 400 years to “naturally” decompose. As it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces, it’s mistakenly eaten by animals, killing hundreds of millions of fish and birds and intoxicating our food chain. It is estimated that by 2050 the world's oceans will contain more plastic by weight than fish.
At a global summit in Nairobi last December, the head of the United Nations Environment Program spoke of an “Ocean Armageddon.”
But here is the thing, plastic pollution is not as complicated as climate change. It is EASY to reduce our plastic consumption.
Today, we give you 10 ways to reduce your plastic consumption for good. Because living “plastic free” is not a July trend, it is an urgent necessity.
1. Switch to a Reusable Water Bottle: Globally, humans buy one million plastic bottles per minute. There are so many options and style when it comes to reusable water bottles. We really love these ones as they are made of glass and come in a full range of colors and sizes.
2. Skip the Plastic Straw: We use over 500 million plastic straws every day in America and most of them are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. So next time you order your favorite cocktail, remember to say “no straw please”
3. Get Reusable Cutlery: More than 100 million plastic utensils are used by Americans every day. Switching to reusable cutlery for your daily lunch will drastically reduce your plastic consumption. We love this set made of bamboo. Stylish, lightweight and 100% natural.
4. Avoid Synthetic Fabrics: Synthetic materials are the biggest source of micro plastic pollution in the oceans. Don’t forget to check the material of any textile you buy.
5. Use Bar Soap and Bar Shampoo: Most of the time, these are the more natural alternative than whatever you can buy in a plastic bottle. And definitely much easier to travel with!
6. Make Your Own Cleaning Products: It’s better for your health and for the planet. For our favorite all-purpose cleaner mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 2 liters of water and add 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil! And for more recipes, check this article that gives you 8 super easy recipes to clean your entire home.
7. Switch to Beeswax Food Wrap: For an alternative to saran wrap, we love these Bee’s Wrap. But you can even make it on your own! It’s cheaper and way more fun!
8. Use Reusable Produce Bags: Around 1 million plastic bags are used every minute, so next time you go shopping, don’t forget your reusable bags. There are so many options in every color and every size.
9. Buy in Bulk: A majority of the world's plastic waste comes from food packaging. Buying in bulk is a great way to stock up on food. You can then store it in glass containers like Mason Jars, infinitely more stylish than ugly packaging, and most of the time, more economic too!
10. Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush: It looks insanely chic in your bathroom and you don’t have to put plastic in your mouth two times per day.
To learn more...
- A Plastic Ocean on Netflix
- Plastic Oceans Foundation
- "Turning the Tide on Plastic: How Humanity (And You) Can Make our Globe Clean Again" by Lucy Siegle