For the last couple of weeks I’ve been very interested on the subject of plastic waste and how it’s affecting our environment, especially our oceans. It’s weird though, me writing about this subject. I always blamed the big companies, after all, all plastic waste and pollution was only their fault. But I realised that we all, including myself, had something to do with it.
I think I was the queen of disposable products, they were convenient, easy to use and let’s not forget cheap. I thought that it didn’t matter how many plastic disposables I used, it was all okay if I recycled them. Little did I know that most people think the same way too.
According to the National Geographic, and I quote: “Of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink”
And it continues: “If present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. That amount is 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building”
I don’t know about you, but I really want us, and the generations to come, to enjoy a clean and healthy environment. Let’s not only think about our health, but let’s take care of the earth’s health too. Remember that only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money (Indian Proverb)
To help you get started I’ll share 7 ways in which you can start reducing your own single-use plastics. I have a lot more to learn, but I believe that each step, as small as it may seem, means a lot if we al do it together (cheesy I know)
Here they come.
Plastic shopping bags have an high environmental cost and are one of the biggest forms of plastic garbage. It can be hard at first to remember bringing one every time. Try a foldaway shopping bag that you can carry in your normal day bag.
Disposable coffe cups may look like carton, but they are also lined with a form of plastic (And don’t forget about the lids and stirrers as well). These materials can be recycled, but most places lack the infrastructure to do so. Also, as I said earlier the vast majority of plastic hasn’t been recycled yet so adding more to the pile won’t help either.
We often use disposable plastic zipper bags or plastic wraps to store our sandwiches. Some people tend to use disposable plastic containers to store their meals as well. These packages will be thrown away after a single use anyways. Why not using reusable containers or glass jars? It will definitely save you money and you will be reducing your plastic footprint. Win-win it is.
Plastic water bottles are an easy target for reducing plastic waste. Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use, save money and join a movement for global sustainability. If using a reusable plastic bottle, choose a BPA-free option if possible. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make the plastic hard and clear. Some studies have shown that BPA can be hazardous to human health.
Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, so remember that what you drink in a few minutes can stick around for hundreds of years.
Next time you order a drink, think about whether you need a straw – and if you don’t, just say no! I know, I know. You took your time to beat up your face and you don’t want to mess up your lipstick. Why don’t use a reusable, straw? Reusable straws come in various materials, such as glass, stainless steel, and silicone. They can be cleaned and used again and again.
Also consider carrying a spoon or fork (or spork!) in your bag or keeping cutlery in your desk at work. It felt weird at the beginning but now I got pretty used to it.
(PS: AliExpress has the best deals on that)
Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones. For example, for condiments such as ketchup, pasta sauce or salad dressings, I choose varieties that come in glass jars instead of plastic bottles. In that way I’m already reducing the use of disposables. When finished I wash, the now empty, glass jars thoroughly and then use them as food containers. I use them to store grains, beans, nuts, dried fruits and even pens and kitchen utensils)
(Your pantry will look amazing)
Small as they are, tossed toothbrushes do create a lot of waste. That’s why I’m now switching to bamboo toothbrushes. Made from bamboo, the handles are biodegradable, environmentally sustainable, and do not pollute the environment. The fast growth ability of bamboo means that deforestation is not necessary either.
Also helpful is to shave with razors that have replaceable blades, not whole disposable ones.
(Picture from The Humble Co)
As I always say, the most important part of the work is to start. There are many ways to do so and I firmly believe that you should find a way that suits you. You don’t have to make huge steps to make a difference. Every small step counts 😉
I’m excited about this new journey, especially for FitQueens. We will be making major changes in our waste footprint. More on it soon.
Do you have other ways to reduce your single use plastics? Share it with us \0/
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