Plastic is woven into the fabric of our lives.
From single use plastic water bottles to microbeads found in skincare exfoliation products - plastic has seemingly found a way into every inch of our existence. To put this into perspective, on average, Australians produce 3 million tonnes of plastic each year. Of that, up to 130,000 tonnes will find its way into oceans and other waterways.
Maybe you’re not ready to break up with plastic altogether, but here are some ideas that will make a big difference in reducing the amount of disposable plastic in your life!
1. Say no to plastic bags
Some Australian states have already banned single use plastic bags, with the exception of New South Wales and Victoria. With this in mind next time you’re heading out to do your weekly shop, you may be forgetting something important – your own bags.
A trillion plastic shopping bags are used worldwide every year. In our oceans, many marine animals confuse plastic for food. It's estimated that plastic pollution kills over 100,000 turtles and mammals every year.
2. The last plastic straw
A plastic straw in your smoothie might seem innocent enough, but multiply that by the billions of people that buy billions of drinks across the world every single day, and you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem we’re looking at. Plastic can take hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of years to break down. Like plastic bags, they either end up as landfill or in the ocean where they're a danger to marine life. If you'd like to still use a straw, try a reusable one!
3. Pass up plastic bottles
Around the world, nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute, fueled by our thirst for bottled water. Even if recycled, the vast number of single use water bottles produced means conservation efforts are struggling to keep up. Water bottles may contain chemicals like BPA that can cause reproductive issues, asthma and dizziness. By avoiding bottled water and purchasing a reusable Drinking Vessel you can help protect our planet from unnecessary plastic pollution, save money and look after your health!
4. Avoid plastic packaging
When you go to the supermarket have a think about what you're purchasing and if there is a way to reduce the amount of plastic in your shopping basket. Avoid putting fruit and vegetables in the supplied plastic bags. Buy bar soap instead of a liquid hand and/or body wash. Purchase food (like cereal, pasta and rice) in bulk and fill a reusable bag or container. These seemingly minor changes can have a big impact overtime.
At home, beeswax wraps are a reusable, washable and sustainable alternative to single use plastic cling wrap. Beeswax wraps last up to 6-12 months and can be used in replace of cling wrap.
5. Do your bit
Even in developed countries, recycling rates are low. With this in mind try developing a recycling culture at home and your place of work. This can be done by promoting good disposal practices and introducing a composting infrastructure.
Another great way to help is to organise a beach clean up with your family and/or work colleagues! You'll do a lot of good for the environment and feel wonderful knowing your hard work is helping millions of animals around the world.
Every time we refuse to use a piece of plastic, it is one small victory for our environment and marine life.