Striving to be plastic free

Have you ever looked around and noticed how much we throw out on a daily basis or worse how much litter can be found in waterways, on the side of the road, or in parks?  Both Lisa and I are passionate about doing what we can to help reduce our impact on this beautiful planet. norway-2311476_1920 I will admit, sometimes it feels hopeless when you look around and see so many people that seem to take this world for granted and are doing things that seem to go against common sense or even science-based research.    That hasn’t stopped me from trying to do what I can: recycling, up-cycling, donating, and most importantly trying to teach my daughter how to care for our planet.  On her own, she has taken it upon herself to collect trash spotted along our bike rides and walks.

For me, personally, it is easier to focus on one thing at a time so right now my focus is on reducing our family’s plastic use.  If you look around, you can see that plastic is used for so much.  Toys, food packaging, water bottles, cosmetics, shopping bags…I could go on and on.

plastic garbage
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Here are a few examples of why plastic is so bad:

  1. More than one million plastic bags are used every minute and enough plastic to circle the earth four times is thrown out every year.
    https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html
  2. Our oceans could have more plastic than fish, by weight, as soon as the year 2050. http://www.greenmatters.com/news/2017/07/21/KgtjP/plastic-study
  3. In that same article above, it states that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. http://www.greenmatters.com/news/2017/07/21/KgtjP/plastic-study
  4. Plastic is a hormone disruptor that can affect weight, sleep, energy, and can lead to several health problems including cancer, diabetes, and autism. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3847804/The-hormone-disrupting-chemicals-plastic-bottle-cause-autism-cancer-cost-340-BILLION-year-healthcare.html
  5. Plastic bottles can take 450 years to biodegrade. Other plastics items can take even longer.
    https://www.thebalance.com/how-long-does-it-take-garbage-to-decompose-2878033
  6. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?  It is basically a floating junkyard in the Pacific and it isn’t the only one in our oceans.  It has been estimated that 8 million metric tons enter the ocean yearly.  This plastic can then leach chemicals into the water, lead to animal entanglements, or be ingested by animals.
    https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/translating-uncle-sam/stories/what-is-the-great-pacific-ocean-garbage-patch

plastic-3151246_1920

Things you can do at home:

  1. Bring a reusable bottle of water or a mug with you.  Most coffee shops will be happy fill up your reusable mug.
  2. Stop using plastic straws.  Our family uses these stainless steel straws instead.
  3. Bring reusable shopping bags along.
  4. Rather than buying sodas or sparkling water, make your own with one of thesebeverage makers.
  5. Store food leftovers in glass storage containers or reuse food jars.
  6. Utilize the bulk section and bring your own reusable bags or glass containers.  Depending on the store, you can pre-weigh your container so that it is deducted from the overall weight.
  7. Ditch the plastic baggies and plastic wrap.  For snacks we use washable, reusable bags like these and these.
  8. Bring your lunch in a reusable lunch box and bring utensils and dishes to avoid reaching for disposable silverware and plates.
  9. Avoid using plastic produce bags.  I tend to have loose produce rolling around at checkout, but am looking to buy The Swag Produce Bag  for the future.  Not only do they replace those plastic produce bags, they also keep your food fresher longer.
  10. Avoid plastic tea bags.
  11. Make an effort not to buy any items packaged in plastic like: food, deodorant, soap, cosmetics, etc.
  12. Switch to bar soap or buy in bulk to refill liquid soap containers.  Make sure your products do not contain microbeads.
  13. Make your own cleaning solution and store in a glass bottle.
  14. Consider cloth diapers rather than disposable.
  15. Look for sustainably made and eco-friendly toys or buy experience type gifts.
  16. Participate in a community clean up or recycling event.

Progress Being Made:

  1. Jack Johnson is known for his music, but did you know he is also an environmental advocate?  Not only has he eliminated plastic backstage at his shows, but he provides refillable water stations at his shows, launched the reusable pint program, and has worked towards a waste free tour.  Read all about his greening efforts on tour here.
  2. Here is another article about Jack Johnson.  Last year he was able to have two completely plastic free shows at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
  3. This article from Sierra Club shows where each state stands with plastic bag legislation.
  4. The Last Plastic Straw is a campaign to encourage citizens to push for change in their local restaurants.  500,000,000 straws are used and thrown out each day in America!

More information and ways to get involved:

www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org
www.allatonce.org
www.greeneducationfoundation.org
https://www.ecowatch.com/toward-a-plastic-free-future-2519406874.html
www.thinkbeyondplastic.com
https://myplasticfreelife.com

Our family is not perfect, but we are striving to make small changes that will hopefully make a difference in the long run for the health of our family and our planet.

Do you have any practice you do at home to reduce your plastic.  Please feel free to share and comment below!

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