In a culture that seems to be dependant on plastic, how (and why) should we strive to become plastic free?

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 lasts forever. It does not biodegrade.
  • 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.

  • Plastic gets eaten by animals on land and in the sea--- often leading to their death.

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.

 

 

 LEARN MORE:

What has Plastic Done to our Oceans?

 

 

 

 

 

LEARN MORE:

 

Some numbers about plastic bags that will change your ways:

  • Every minute 1 million plastic bags are consumed worldwide. (EPA)
  • Every 5 seconds 60,000 plastic bags are used in the U.S. (Chris Jordan – photo documenter of our massive waste).

  • Every day 100 million plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfill. That’s enough, laid end to end to reach China and back each day. (back2tap.com)
  • In one year 80 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide.

Some changes we can each make in our lives in order to beome more plastic free:

  • Buy drinks that come in glass. Not only is this better for you, but it also is voting with your wallet for those items that are made of sustainable products that are plastic free.
  • Buy bulk and fresh foods.  These foods are not processed, so they are better for you anyway and are free of plastic residue.

Challenge yourself to become more plastic free. Make this goal part of every shopping trip!

About:

We are a woman-owned business whose vision is two-fold: to make a difference through what we do and how we do it. It is not easy to better our selves or our world, but we know the two go hand in hand. Our bags have taken us to the very brink of an ultimate question: what is true personal and planetary sustainability and what changes do we need to make to get from here to there? We hope to inspire such a journey of questioning for others as we’re all in the same boat together. (Learn more)

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