If we Never Saw These Plastic Items Again, it Would Be Too Soon
Now. Before we get into this, it’s important to say that plastic isn’t the enemy (even reusable shopping bags come with steep environmental costs). The enemy is our inability to manage plastic properly. The enemy is our overuse of unnecessary plastic items. Which is what inspired this blog. The unnecessary plastic we wish would just disappear.
We know that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s going to take a lot more than banning plastic straws and shopping bags to get our planet back on track. There’s deforestation. The overproduction of electronics and petrol-based cars. The overconsumption of fast fashion. The list goes on. But it’s a start.
Let us know what your plastic pet peeves are in the comments section, or on our social pages. Now. Let’s start with the most obvious.
Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
Plastic shopping bags are banned (or in some cases, taxed) in 127 nations worldwide, so we’re on the right track here, but we’re still going to see the harmful effects of these items for a long time to come.
These unnecessary plastic items have been clogging up oceans and landfills for decades, that’s not news. They’ve been killing countless land and sea animals every year. Also, not news. What is news, is that there are way better options on the way. Check these out.
In the meantime, always opt for reusable bags. Remember…
The most sustainable thing you own, is the thing you use the most, and keep the longest.
If you tend to forget your reusable shopping bags at home a lot, put them in your car, or hang them up by your front door so that they’re visible as you leave. Make it work.
All Take-Out-Related Single-Use Plastics
It’s safe to say that we order a lot of takeout. Which is fine (and during the pandemic, it was necessary, not only due to lockdowns, but so that we could continue to support restaurants and cafes that were struggling to make ends meet during the time).
The problem is all that unnecessary packaging. The plastic containers. The plastic wrap around those containers. The plastic utensils. Plastic straws. The list goes on and on, and so does the trash pile.
Support restaurants that offer reusable packaging alternatives (if your go-to takeout restaurant doesn’t offer any reusable alternatives, consider telling them about the changes you’d like to see. Use your voice – and your wallet – to make a difference!).
1. Ask for what you don’t want (there’s usually a notes section on food ordering apps where you can tell the restaurant you are ordering from that you don’t want your food to arrive in a plastic bag, etc.).
2. Reuse what you do get (if your salad comes in a sturdy plastic container, wash and reuse it).
3. Recycle (but make sure you know what your local recycling facility can and can’t recycle before you throw items into your bin).
4. Watch what you order (food waste is a huge issue in the restaurant industry, so know how hungry you really are and order accordingly).
5. Bring your own containers when you fetch your takeout.
Speaking of Packaging: Plastic Packaging Straps
You know the ones that keep boxes secure during shipping? If they get thrown into the regular bin, they could end up in our oceans, putting curious marine animals at risk of getting hurt.
As a consumer, you can reduce their use by ordering products that are produced locally, and you can opt for more sustainable packaging options when you shop online. As a business, you can get rid of these straps altogether, and switch to sustainable, compostable/biodegradable shipping materials.
Microplastics are everywhere. But what exactly are they? They are tiny fibers that are woven into cheap fabrics, like polyester and nylon. These fibers are shed when they’re washed, and once they’re shed, they make their way through water treatment centers and into the ocean. Once there, they’re able to work their way up the food chain, and eventually, to us (when we eat seafood).
As consumers, we can support retailers and brands that use natural fibers (think cotton, silk, linen, and wool) and produce better quality clothes. We can buy fewer clothes, and we can wash those clothes less.
Microbeads are used in our exfoliators and facial scrubs. You know, the ones that promise to leave our skin feeling silky smooth and refreshed. The price for that feeling, however, is pretty high.
You see, those microbeads go straight from our faces, down the drain, and into water treatment systems and the ocean, where they can enter the food chain, just like microfibers.
As consumers, we can choose beauty products that are made with safe ingredients or try some DIY alternatives. Think oats, jojoba beads, salt, coffee (they have the same abrasive effects that microbeads have).
Phew. That’s a lot of unnecessary plastic. Look at the plastic that passes through your hands every day and think about what you can live without. Then, live without them.