If you look around your home, workplace, car, school, any shop or grocery store - you will see plastic literally everywhere!
It's cheap, convenient, and lightweight. It holds liquids, is pretty much unbreakable, and can be molded into many shapes and sizes....
So what's the problem with plastic? Why should we strive to become plastic free?
Plastic is made out of chemicals which breakdown into the ground, the water, our bodies and in animals.
Plastic absorbs any surrounding toxic chemicals and concentrates these compounds, making decomposing plastic pieces highly toxic.
Here are a few reasons to become plastic free! (Courtesy of Vox Feminista)
Plastic lasts forever!
Plastic is used as the container for so many products we buy and use every day. Plastic containers are much more common than glass containers because they are so lightweight and inexpensive to make. Since products are often shipped, the weight of the container is a big part of the cost of the product. In a world where there are multiple brands of most products and competition is high, the cheapest product often sells best.
When plastic is used as a bottle for drinks, a wrapper for snack bars, a to-go box or any other single-use item, we could easily use that plastic container for only a few minutes before trashing it. We take the items off the shelf, buy them, use or consume the product, and finally toss the plastic into the trash!
When plastic is used for a cosmetic, soap, shampoo, lotion, cleaning product or any other longer use item, the plastic container might stay around a month or two longer, but, in the end, it is usually tossed into the trash, too.
Of course, there are also harder grade plastics used for cars, computers, shoes, toys, kitchen and other household items that we might use for a much longer time, but sooner or later they too will likely be worn out and thrown away.
And finally there is the plastic monster---single-use plastic bags. We use plastic bags for our grocery bags, clothes bags, and other retail bags. We also use plastic bags for our veggies and fruits, bakery items, bulk items, and lunch snacks. We even have a very bad habit of using them to pick up after our dogs! Some of these bags we reuse a few times, but sooner or later they go right into the trash!
The biggest problem with all of this plastic is that it does not biodegrade, but only breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Plastic really does last forever!
Plastic does not degrade into an organic state, and once created, remains a synthetic substance for the rest of time. As plastic breaks down, it's chemical chain splits apart, resulting in microscopic plastic particles which can then more easily be ingested into plant, animal and human food chains by mixing in with the soil, leeching into our food and water supplies, and contaminating oceans and their marine life.
The more plastic breaks down, the more lethal it is. It absorbs surrounding toxic chemicals like PCBs and DDT and then spreads these concentrated poisons beyond where the eye can see. Nothing is safe from plastic. We are forever changing the natural chemistry of our earth, poisoning ourselves and our oceans by adding plastic as an ingredient.
Plastic is not “disposable”. We can not dispose of it. Instead, it is taking over our earth’s chemistry and threatening many individual and species’ chances of survival, including us humans. Isn't this a good enough reason for each of us to strive to become more plastic free in our lifestyle?
What does it take to become plastic free, or at least reduce our use of plastics as much as we can?
It isn't easy! Creating a lifestyle that uses less and less plastic means going against the norm of our culture. It means being creative in our use of reusable products.