Plastic is useful, durable, versatile, and is meant to last forever. It has multiple benefits when used mindfully. However, single-use plastic culture is endangering the environment in countless ways. Plastic pollution literally exists everywhere. In the oceans, in the soil, in the air, we breathe, and also in our food chain. With the ongoing pandemic, the rate of single-use plastic consumption has reached an all-time high.
This July, it is more important than ever to follow the Plastic Free July challenge. The main aim of Plastic Free July is to minimize the use of disposable items, especially single-use plastic. While eliminating all the plastic from your home can be overwhelming, you can decide which items you want to swap initially. The goals can look different for every individual based on where they are in their low waste journey. If you are new to the Plastic Free July Challenge, a great way to start is cutting out the Big 4 Plastic offenders.
Let's dive into the Big 4!
1. Plastic Bottles:
5.3 million single-use plastic bottles are purchased and discarded every day in Canada. While it is the second most common polluter dumped in the landfill, plastic bottles take up to 1000 years to degrade. Ingesting harmful chemicals from single-use plastic is an additional risk associated with consuming bottled water.
Carrying a reusable bottle on the go and refilling it when needed is a simple step to curb the use of toxic plastic bottles. Based on your preference, you can choose glass or metal bottles.
If you are looking for durable, stainless steel bottles, Let’s Go Eco has a good collection of bottles.
Single-use plastic straws are routinely collected in most beach cleanups. With 57 million straws thrown out daily, tonnes of straws make their way to the ocean and stay there indefinitely. This presents a grave danger to the marine eco-system as it is often mistaken as food.
Your simple effort of ditching the straw can save millions of marine creatures. So, next time you order a cold drink, try requesting it without a straw. Enjoy the beverage through the sippy cup, or use a reusable straw. They come in stainless steel, silicone, glass, bamboo, and foldable options that can easily fit in your purse.
We love the bamboo straws from All Bamboo Inc. They are affordable and super easy to clean.
3. Plastic bags:
Did you know? The average lifespan of a single-use plastic bag is less than 12 minutes. For something that is used for such a short span, plastic bags take up to 1000 years to disintegrate. Imagine a plastic bag used in the 1100s still sitting in some part of the planet? Scary, isn’t it? Plus, the amount of energy, resources, and fossil fuels that go into making these bags are humongous; and extremely toxic for the environment. Apart from convenience, there is no real pro to using a single-use plastic bag.
Instead, try swapping them with reusable bags. They are available in various types like organic cotton, mesh, produce, market bags, and can be quite versatile. Take it to the beach or use it to carry your groceries. The options are endless. Plus, you can wash them multiple times.
Be ready for spontaneous shopping situations, by keeping a reusable bag handy in your purse or in the car.
Ahimsa Eco Solutions has some good reusable options if you need one.
4. Disposable Coffee Cups:
Takeout coffee cups are one of the most thrown out items that make it to the landfill. Most of these beverage cups are not recycled as they are lined with a thin plastic membrane to prevent the beverage from leaking. With 1.5 billion cups discarded every year, it contributes a massive amount of trash to the dumping ground. While we cannot go without our daily dose of tea/coffee, we can certainly switch to a reusable coffee cup. You can buy a reusable coffee cup or carry any cup or mug from home.
Investing in a personal reusable coffee cup has so many perks. The convenience of sipping the coffee on the go and at a preferred temperature. On top, getting rewarded with points and discounts at coffee shops is worth bringing your own cup! Easy to maintain and hassle-free to clean.
If you are looking for low waste cleaning options for your home, head to our household cleaning section.
While we cannot evade plastic completely, cutting out the big 4 plastic polluters is the easy, first step to begin your plastic-free journey. Remember, small steps in the right direction will lead to great results. Do what you can and don't be too hard on yourself. The journey to plastic freedom is a continuous and gradual process.
Take the challenge with us!
If you want to learn more about Plastic Free July, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. In the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing loads of tips, tricks, and actions to reduce plastic waste in your daily life. Tag @onetabcleaners on your posts to take the challenge with us.
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