Less Plastic

With Earth Day right around the corner, it’s a time when many pay extra attention to the Earth. It’s an opportunity to take a look at habits in your life that are supporting and even promoting plastic use. Yes, it might be time to consider your plastic consumption a little closer. We have a duty as global citizens and consumers to be making wise choices for the sustainability of the planet. Just as you “vote with your fork” when it comes to food (farming practices, ingredients, food miles, etc) and you “vote with your dollar” when it comes to products, clothing, and supporting organizations and initiatives. Our choices are often equivalent to a “vote for the environment or against it”. So why focus on plastic? In short “If nothing changes, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish (by weight).” 1 Perhaps you’ve heard there is an island of plastic trash that is floating in the ocean. “It’s a dubious honor, but humanity has managed to amass a giant trash mass about twice the size of Texas, or three times the size of France, or about 1,600 miles.” 2 This isn’t a benign issue; aquatic animals are consuming this plastic and a growing number are dying because of this. Beyond that, if you eat fish – you too might be eating small bits of plastic.

There are simple and often repeated suggestions like declining the plastic bags at the store. *Did you know that many stores have bag recycling somewhere on their premises? But far before we get to the end of a purchase and bag selection, we make choices that support a clean planet in the future.

Some New and Some Tried & True Suggestions –

Think twice about buying pre-bagged {manufacturer-bagged} vegetables or those that are wrapped in cling/saran/plastic wrap on a styrofoam tray. Additionally, instead of pulling down and using a new plastic bag for your produce – consider reusing the ones from your last trip. *Keep reusable produce bags (plastic or cloth) in your reusable shopping bags then they’re ready for the next trip to the store. Also, when buying just one (or two) of something – skip the bag.

Although it is convenient, buying a package that has smaller single serving packages inside it is wasteful. In most cases you have the ability to pre-portion your servings at some point and have them at the ready. *A great habit to get into is spending a bit of time one day a week to do some food prep for the coming week. This might include portioning servings from a bulk bag, cutting up celery and carrots for quick snacking, or cooking a vegetable or rice serving so that it’s a quick addition to a meal. Also let’s be real, the typically pre-portioned products aren’t great for you. They are most often highly processed and preserved food-like products.

Plastic bottled beverages are pervasive. There are many options and opportunities to consume liquid from a single-use plastic bottle. There is no magic here, simply buy a reusable water bottle. This investment in your hydration is worth it. Keep it full and keep it close. There are nothing short of thousands of options on the market. You can make a choice that is exciting to you whether that means it will keep ice cold for days on end, it comes with its own straw, has a compartment for fruit to infuse into the water, is made of glass or metal or plastic – there is the perfect bottle for you out there that will make drinking water easy and convenient. Heck, as our longtime co-worker has relied on – a mason jar with lid works great!waterbottles

One you may not have heard of yet but that is quickly becoming a suggestion of note is to decline the drinking straw (at restaurants, coffee/juice shops, etc.). “U.S. Consumption is equal to enough plastic straws to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day!” If you are a die-hard straw user there are reusable versions that you can keep at the ready.

Again, many of these aren’t new suggestions but the implementation of them is becoming more necessary as our consumption and disposal of plastic is nearly apocalyptic in its proportions.

Want to dig a little deeper?

Earth Day Network’s 2018 Earth Day Campaign centers around ending plastic pollution. Find astonishing facts,ways to take action, and interesting blog articles on their website.

Any web or social media search for plastic-free or zero waste will lead you on a very interesting path of discovery. There really are so many changes (small and big) to consider to cut down your plastic creation/consumption. Want a preview – check out the blog My Plastic Free Life, especially this article, 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life.

 

References:

1https://www.earthday.org/2018/04/05/fact-sheet-plastics-in-the-ocean/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=596f2386-6df2-416f-89d6-04b6387a9405

2http://bigthink.com/news/plastic-island-in-pacific-now-twice-the-size-of-texas

3https://onelessstraw.org/

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