Plastic replacements in our daily life


Plastic is virtually everywhere in the world now, stemming from microscopic levels. It’s in the air, it’s in the soil, it’s in the water. Your food and hygiene products are packaged in it. Your car, phone and computer are made from it. And you might even chew on it daily in the form of gum. Most homes are riddled with plastic throughout, from the walls to the floors to the light fixtures, from foam bath to lipstick, toy cars to printer cartridges. That is the reality, borne out of increasing amounts of scientific research documenting our global plastic footprint.

Plastic bags also pose a serious danger to birds and marine mammals that often mistake them for food. Floating plastic bags regularly fool sea turtles into thinking they are one of their favourite prey, jellyfish. Thousands of animals die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags.

Living without plastic is a goal worth working towards for the simple reasons that plastic can be toxic to the health of all living beings and it is rapidly polluting every nook and cranny of our planet.

But … there are lots of ways to avoid plastics in everyday life—wherever you are, whatever you do. All it takes is a little awareness and initiative. Educated action, we like to call it.

Lets stop plastic pollution and poisoning at the source by avoiding plastic and using alternatives. Plastic is too microscopically dispersed around the world to try to clean it up. The flow of new plastic into our lives has to decrease. If we use less plastic, our health is at less risk and there is less plastic. Prevention should be engraved in our minds.  Change our perception of existing plastic as waste to be disposed of, and see it as a valuable potentially toxic—resource to be carefully recycled and reused in safe non-food, non-polluting applications.

By changing yourself in the direction for change you can set an example to others. When you take your reusable grocery bags with you when you go shopping, other people see you, including your neighbours and children, and what had to be justified to every cashier at the store soon becomes normal behaviour for all.

The Pareto principle— or 80 / 20 rule— states that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. So if you are just starting out on your plastic-free journey and currently living a lifestyle that includes a lot of disposable single-use plastic items, then these simple actions (the “20 percent”) could have the potential to reduce your plastic consumption and waste by a lot, maybe even 80 percent. These items are among the most common forms of plastic waste pollution , so removing them from your life will make a huge impact in the plastic pollution problem at the source .

Go for it! Here are simple actions you can take to replace them right now with non-plastic alternatives.

1. Replace disposable items with reusable alternatives

How often do you use disposable products made of plastic? Starting with water bottles, to-go cups and plastic bags, all the way to drinking straws, cotton swabs and toothbrushes. Which things could be replaced, and which can be quit altogether? Can you for example swap a plastic toothbrush for a wooden variety?

2. Carry your own packaging with you shopping

Bringing reusable shopping bags or boxes to the supermarket should be the common practice now. What can you do? If you forget your reusable shopping bag and only need to buy a few things, grab a cardboard box from the produce department.

3. Use glass jars to freeze food

Freezing food may be the best method to preserve vitamins and other vital ingredients in fruit and vegetable. Unfortunately we often use plastic containers or even one time use plastic bags for this. Did you know, that freezing food in glass containers is perfectly doable and this avoids a lot of useless waste and keeps you healthy.

4. Upcycle

Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones. 

5. Say “No straw, please.” 

Straws are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. In most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply unnecessary. If you do need a straw, you can get a reusable stainless steel or glass one.

6. Wear clothing made from natural (not synthetic) materials

Wearing and washing clothes causes fibres to flake off, and polyester clothing is made of plastic. Tiny particles of microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced to such synthetic fabrics.

7. Don’t just discard electronics

Aim to repair or upgrade your devices instead of buying new ones. Sell gadgets and computer parts, or find a facility where you can turn them in for recycling.

8. Try plastic-free cleaning

“Experiment with plastic-free cleaning. White vinegar diluted one part with three parts warm water makes a cheap, effective natural surface cleaner and avoids the need to purchase plastic cleaning bottles,”

These are all tips you can strive towards but you don’t have to do them all at once. Just making one change a week will make a big difference.

“Pick the easiest first to motivate yourself, or maybe the ones that make the biggest impact. For example, if you have a daily single-use plastic water bottle habit you can cut that out right away and resolve to drink water in a reusable glass or steel bottle instead.

“Remember doing something is better than doing nothing at all, and know that you are part of a growing movement. Together our actions will add up to something huge.”

Launched on 24th January 2017, Sky Ocean Rescue aims to shine a spotlight on the issues affecting ocean health, find innovative solutions to the problem of ocean plastics, and inspire people to make small everyday changes that collectively make a huge difference.

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