Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials that comes packed with its own consequences on the environment, wildlife and human health. It has found its way so much in our daily routine that it appears almost impossible to avoid. Despite concerns, regulations have been slow to non-existent to deal with the problems as there are so many interest groups that profit from it. But there is good news. Production is dependent on consumption, which means your habits as a consumer define demand: which later defines how and what is produced. This is where we Green Monsters come in.
Below are just some of the many ways to cut plastic from daily use…
1. Choose Homemade and Unpacked Food Instead of Processed
This is like hitting multiple targets with one stone. Processed food is packaged mainly in plastic. According to the EPA, containers and packaging account for 23 percent of all landfill waste. Around 12 percent (13 million tons) of this consists of plastic, so cutting processed foods that come in packaging is a great way to reduce your footprint. In need of some easy recipes to make your own versions of traditionally packaged snacks? Check out these amazingly delicious options.
2. Bring Your Own Produce Bags to Supermarkets
The average shopper uses four plastic produce bags, every time they shop. If you buy produce every week, that adds up to a total of 200 bags used for produce alone! The good news is, you can easily cut back on your plastic produce bag use by simply bringing your own reusable, non-plastic bags to carry your groceries. While these little plastic bags might not seem very consequential, keep in mind that it can take up to 1,000 years for them to break down. Don’t fret, though, with a little forward thinking and planning, you can easily drop this habit.
3. Choose Eco-Friendly Utensils and Dishes
Plastic utensils and dishes are popular especially for kids because they are durable and won’t break. While plastic might appear to be a “safer” option to avoid broken glass and ceramic, there is a lot of debate over the presence of BPA chemicals in these items and how this impacts human health. In addition to plastic plates and utensils being an environmental hazard, they can also have a negative impact on your health –not something anyone really wants to risk. Instead, opt for bamboo or stainless steel plates and utensils.
4. Carry Your Food Without Plastic
Glass and stainless steel containers are great alternatives to plastic containers. If you want to carry something small, say a sandwich, there are unbleached baking sheets that are great for wrapping. As more people take the step to cut plastic from their lives, more products are being offered to accommodate. Some of the available options include reusable lunch boxes, food packages, food wrappers, food carriers –even edible food packaging.
5. Avoid or Replace Commercial Chewing Gums With REAL Chewing Gums
Almost all chewing gum is made out of petroleum-based synthetics and other chemicals. Perhaps chewing plastic is a more accurate term.
Real chewing gums are made out of the following: resin, chicle or mastic. They can be found and purchased online or from organic shops. Mastic chewing gum is thought to have amazing medicinal properties.
6. Check Your Clothing: Go 100% Cotton, or Even Better, 100% Hemp!
Did you know that materials like rayon and spandex are made with plastic microfibers? These might make for stretchy and comfortable clothing, but they also have a major impact on the environment. Every time you wash a piece of synthetic clothing it releases 1,900 microfibers which get released into the environment!
Choose organic cotton as most cotton is not produced with the most eco-friendly methods. Regardless, cotton production, even if organic, requires a lot more land and water than one other miraculous material: hemp. Requires less land, less water, less pesticides and it is one of the most durable and most skin-friendly materials out there. So durable, in fact, that it is used to make ship ropes: perfect for long-lasting rope sandals! It is also lighter, softer and much better when it comes to temperature regulation.
7. DIY Personal Care and Household Cleaning Products
Most personal care and household cleaning products have a good dose of chemicals and are contained in plastic tubes or bottles. So instead of going the industrial solution you can go the DIY for personal care or household products.
8. Plant Repurposing and Compost
By the time you are reading this you might have eliminated a huge amount of plastic. But you obviously have a lot of non-plastic trash made out of organic material. Instead of throwing leftovers to a trash bag, we can go compost. Even better, some of your leftovers can be grown back to herbs, vegetables and fruit. This way, you don’t use any plastic trash bags, you get soil for your plants and you get free food.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Lead image source: Maureen Didde/Flickr