Plastic can be awesome. It's in almost everything from clothing and vehicles to office items and household furniture, and it is hard to go a day without using something made of plastic. However the use of plastic use to be much more functional and reusable. Somewhere along the line companies decided that we should use single use containers, and never thought about how we would dispose of them. Plastic is made out of a derivative of oil and it takes hundreds of years to even start breaking down and thousands to degrade. It poisons animals, heavily pollutes our oceans, kills fish and makes our landscapes ugly with litter.
A long time ago if you went to the market you brought bags, or a basket, your own cart or maybe just a tall man with large arms. We used to have our milk delivered in refillable glass jugs and have Tupperware parties to make sure all our leftovers were kept nice and fresh. When and why did we transition into this throw away and wasteful world.
We have become so lazy and absorbed that we can't even be responsible enough to remember a bag for grocery shopping, let alone remember a reusable coffee mug. Because that is definitely too much to ask. So much to ask that when California tried to pass a statewide plastic bag ban earlier this year, it was overturned by the American Progressive Bag Alliance and their ability to get over half a million signatures disapproving of it. In case that didn't sink in, Yes I just said that there is a plastic bag alliance, how ridiculous. The other crazy thing is that 500,000 people have the time to sign a petition but they can't remember to put a bag in their car and then remember to bring it in a grocery store with them.
The Europeans have been charging for bags at the grocery store for as long as I have been alive and they don't seem to be complaining about it. I guess in this country we would rather see images like this than have to pay .10 cents for a bag or bring our own.
According toTreehugger approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles every. That's right folks they are made of petroleum much like most of our built world.
Nearly 90% of plastic isn't recycled and that's why we have places around the world that look like this....
National Parks in America recently tried to ban selling plastic water bottles and installed water fountains all over the parks. But the International Bottles Water Association fought them and using nasty language had the US Govt overturn these rules. Read More.
Buy a reusable water bottle
If just 10% of us bought reusable water bottles and stopped buying bottles water or soda we would save millions of bottles from reaching landfills or worse the oceans.
For water Klean Kanteen is a great brand that uses recycled aluminum to make its sleek looking bottles.
How about a coffee mug. BONUS- many coffee shops give a discount if you bring your own cup.
There are also great reusable soda containers if you aren't a water drinker.
Ditch the Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are terrible for the environment. Not recyclable they end up in landfills and often blow around in the wind, ending up in oceans, rivers and streams. A great way to reduce plastic waste is to convert your kitchen into a plastic free zone. You can start with reusable shopping bags and produce bags. Ditch the Ziploc bags for reusable and dishwasher safe silicone food bags for frozen and fresh items, and get rid of that plastic wrap and try out these great BeesWax wraps. I promise they will keep your vegetables fresher and they stop produce like avocado from turning brown. Even plastic Tupperware can be switched out with glass Tupperware. It lasts longer and can be heated, cooled and washed more often.
Not all plastic can be recycled so make sure you are buying plastics that are recyclable in your communities. Check with your local waste management plan.
If you have items that are not accepted by your local municipality like cell phones, electronics, light bulbs and paint check Earth911 for recycling locations.
If you think you are too cool to be carrying around all these bags and bottles, just take a closer look at the pictures above, if we all do our part in reducing our use we can save some of the most beloved places and creatures on our planet.
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