The production and use of plastic products are proving to be detrimental to the earth, that’s no big secret. Discovered in the year the 1900s, Plastic was a revolutionary invention meant to solve some of the issues prevalent during that time. But, it did not take long before this artificial creation of science started having harmful effects on Mother Nature.
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Plastic and the Problems It Has Been Causing
The speciality of plastic lies in its durability. With how durable it is, you would expect that people would continue using them for an extended period of time and then some more. But the game changed when we started discarding massive amounts of plastic products, despite their impressive durability.
This has led to the current problem of plastic pollution.
Nowadays, plastic products in every form imaginable swamp huge landfills. Because of this, plastic waste has even found its way into the ocean. Since none of these goods are degradable, plastic is taking over both land and the oceans, causing hazards to all forms of life, mainly marine.
Besides destroying the habitat of innumerable species of plants and animals, plastic is also harming them physically. Naive animals ingest plastics and other harmful substances because they mistake them for food and plastic products even destroy their habitats. This problem is so common that the numbers of certain species of creatures are dropping at alarming rates.
The Food Chain and Humans
Even the world’s food chain has not been able to escape the clutches of plastic pollution. A prime example of this is the harmful effects of the use of microfiber cloths.
Microfibers from the products we use are washed away and eventually end up in the ocean. Zooplankton, a primary food source for larger marine animals then ingests them. These larger animals, in turn, consume it unknowingly. Obviously, humans are a part of this cycle as we too heavily depend on seafood as a food source.
This continuous cycle threatens almost every life on land and water. If the problem grows in magnitude, the increasing amount of toxins in our bodies will likely give birth to serious health issues.
Food and Water Contamination
As we mentioned earlier, removing microplastics from water is not an easy task. Sadly for us, it also means that our regular drinking water, namely bottled water, contains plastic particles in massive amounts. Very rarely will you find a bottle that is unadulterated with plastic.
Owing to our dependency on storing/selling food in plastic containers, we are only furthering the problem regarding our health. Many plastic containers contain BPAs, harmful chemicals that pollute the food and can cause some deadly illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and reproductive issues.
The air we breathe can also contain massive amounts of microfibers. And inhaling air that contains excessive amounts of such particles can cause various respiratory problems. This could range from asthma attacks to more serious sicknesses like cancer.
Another way that plastic pollutes the air is through questionable waste management. Many try to solve the problem of over-swamped landfills by burning plastic products. The only thing accomplished through this act is the release of extremely harmful chemicals in the atmosphere. Undoubtedly, breathing in the smoke will prove to be fatal for any and everyone.
Air pollution, food, and water contamination, endangering of animals. These are only the main issues that are a result of plastic use. There are a hundred others that may be smaller in scale, but over time could seriously turn into huge problems for all life on Earth.
What can we do about it?
We will be honest here – we are all somewhat dependent on plastic. They have become a staple in our lives, and it would be difficult to oust it out of our lives completely. So, our solution? We take baby steps and gradually adapt to sustainable living. Here is a list of common scenarios, and some small but impactful solutions you can do to help our environment!
Clothes & Washing
Washing clothes made of synthetic material results in microplastics contaminating the ocean.
Refrain from buying clothes made of synthetic cloth and use the Guppyfriend washing bag when doing your laundry!
This may be shocking, but majority of the clothes you wear are probably made of plastic.
Nowadays, our clothes are made of synthetic material and contain plastics such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic. About 64% of new fabrics are made of plastic and each time we put them in the laundry, millions of microfibers (a microplastic thread thinner than a strand of human hair) get drained out of the washing machine and are emptied into the ocean.
So what’s the problem?
These microplastics pollute our seas and are ingested by unknowing sea creatures, potentially passing them up the food chain. Long-term consumption of microplastics could have potentially harmful effects on our health.
The big question now is: “How do we stop this from happening?”. Well, we’ve got a few solutions:
One change you could adopt is to stop using things made from synthetic materials. This will effectively reduce the microfibers, you as an individual release into the ocean. A lot of clothing brands don’t use sustainable materials, so why not try buying eco-friendly apparel from companies like Tentree instead?
If you’re wondering why their brand is called “Tentree”, it’s because they plant ten trees for every item sold! They make their clothes with ecologically sound materials like recycled polyester, hemp, and organic cotton. With every purchase, you aren’t just reforesting the earth, you’re also advocation for sustainable living!
Check out this beautiful maxi-dress from Tentree! It’s simple, lightweight and perfect for summer!
Tentree- Women’s Pipa Maxi Dress
Tentree has a lot of great clothing pieces! Head on over to EarthHero.com to check them out.
Guppyfriend- Microwaste Washing Bag
Say bye-bye to microfibers with this washing bag! Get it on EarthHero.com
We also recommend getting the GuppyFriend Microwaste Washing Bag on your next trip to the store.
Remember those microfibers we talked about? Using this washing bag will trap all those fibers in it while effectively cleaning your clothes. At the same time, it will also shield your clothes from the harsh wash they are subjected to, which eventually causes the fibers to loosen (and get washed away into the ocean).
Buy fresh, unpacked food and bring reusable bags. Store food in glass & steel containers.
The problem with plastic packaging:
The things we buy in stores or at the grocery are usually packaged in plastic. Most of the time, these are single-use plastics that will only end up in landfills or in the ocean. In the year 2010, approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic waste entered was thrown in the sea. Just imagine how much destruction and degradation this causes the ocean and its inhabitants!
“How will I help keep our oceans clean?”
If you want to help combat this, you can start small by reducing your plastic usage and start adapting to sustainable living. For example, if you have a non-plastic substitute for a certain product, go for it! By only using plastic when absolutely necessary or unavoidable, you will be surprised by the amount of difference it will make.
Products are packed in plastic packaging, plastic shopping bags & food transportation.
You can also kick start your sustainable living lifestyle by using some of these products instead of buying items plastic packaging:
When you go grocery shopping, take your own bag to the shop to reduce accumulating more bags at home. This could be simply an old, reusable plastic bag, or you could go a step further and use organic cotton mesh bags.
These mesh produce bags from Life Without Plastic are made with 100% certified organic cotton and is going to be your go-to shopping bag during market or grocery days. They’re sturdy, eco-friendly and help reduce the use of single-use plastic products!
You could also get mason jars instead of plastic containers to store certain things.
Life Without Plastic- Ball Mason Jar
Using Mason jars are a sustainable and aesthetically-pleasing way to cut down on plastic usage. Click ‘Buy Now’ to get your own set today!
Life With Plastic sells these rustic and unique jars. We don’t know what it is, but there’s just something so charming about them! Whether you’re using these mason jars for your favorite cold brew or as a storage container for kitchen ingredients, they’re a wonderful addition to your sustainable living basics!
Cooking & food storage
Using plastic containers for food and drink storage
Use reusable storage for food and beverages like metal containers, glass jugs, reusable coffee mugs, etc.
Some statistics on plastic packaging:
Did you know that 91% of packaging waste is sent to landfills or is left to pollute the environment? It’s true! As our waste production grows, trash in landfills are incinerated in order to make room for even more junk. Burning plastics emits toxic pollutants and further decreases the quality of the air we breathe.
As we can see, plastic pollution threatens the well-being of our home.So, it is our job to switch to sustainable living and find options that are better for the environment
“But how can I avoid plastic products?”
If you’re wondering how to curb plastic, fear not! The best substitute is already at hand: Metals last nearly forever with the right amount of care and are definitely worth investing in.
For instance, try out this stainless steel insulated tumbler from Earth Hero. This stainless steel glass is perfect for any drink, hot or cold! It is made with double-walled and vacuum-insulated steel. Free of any BPAs or lead, it even comes with a drink-through lid, so you never have to worry about any drips or spills when you’re traveling!
U Konserve- Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler
You’ll never have to use plastic cups ever again with this awesome tumbler. Buy it on EarthHero.com
They’ve also got other eco-friendly storage solutions!
Reusable containers are the way to go, and we love this Stainless Steel To-Go Container from the brand U Konserve. This plastic-free solution is the perfect container, whether it’s for leftovers, potluck, or snacks! It’s made with the non-toxic stainless steel and comes with a plastic-free silicone lid. Easy to clean, leak-proof AND durable, where can you go wrong?
U Konserve- Stainless Steel To Go Container
Get rid of your plastic tupperware and use these containers instead! Get it on EarthHero.com
It’s so much easier to switch to a green lifestyle when companies like Amazon and Etsy are always bringing in new plastic-free, natural products to use. An example would be beeswax food wraps that you can buy from Amazon and other sites. These wraps are just as efficient as traditional plastic wraps but are bio-degradable, unlike plastic. Hence, we do not need to stress over them accumulating as waste at homes or landfills.
Beeswax Wrap Reusable Food Wraps
Use these beeswax food wraps to keep your food fresh.Click here to buy them on Amazon!
Beauty & bathroom
Beauty & bathroom products contain microplastics and are sold in plastic containers.
Use microplastic-free products not being sold in plastic containers.
We’ve all got our favorite beauty products and bathroom essentials. That’s well and good. But our all-time favs are usually packaged in harmful plastic that is capable of doing immense damage to the environment.
Did you know that the beauty and industry uses a crazy amount of plastic?!
The beauty industry relies greatly on plastic, especially for packaging products. So much so that 120 units of packaging were generated in a single year! (2018). These plastics are hardly ever recycled. They decompose in landfills or are incinerated, which doesn’t do any good for our environment either.
Things like our toothbrushes, shampoos, and makeup products are a part of our everyday life, but we need to make a shift to using products that support sustainable living. Thankfully, lots of brands have come up with eco-friendly solutions for sustainable beauty.
What you can do:
EcoRoots Shop- Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
Reduce the consumption of plastic packaging, buy shampoo bars instead! Get yours on Etsy.com
EcoRoots Shop- Zero Waste Conditioner Bars
Pair your shampoo bars with these equally amazing conditioner bars. Get it on Etsy.com
Cosmetic connoisseurs know how important makeup removal pads are. They’re super helpful in removing leftover products and will help keep your face clean and dirt-free. The downside to this is that makeup removal pads make a significant dent, both on the environment and our wallets. So, by choosing to buy reusable makeup pads, you are able to decrease waste production and conserve our natural resources!
Just look at these awesome ones from Greenzla! One pack contains 20 makeup pads made of 100% biodegradable and compostable bamboo material. It’s perfect for all skin types and it even comes with its own organic cotton laundry drawstring bag. We totally give this eco-friendly solution a 5-star rating!
Greenzla- Reusable Makeup Remover Pads (20 Pack)
Spare yourself from going on another trip to the store, buy this set of reusable makeup removal pads on Amazon instead!
Eating & drinking away from home
Coffee to go, picnics, barbeques & birthday parties, pre-made lunch for work etc.. all contribute to excessive use of throw-away plastics
Avoid single-use plastics by opting to use non-plastic products and storage solutions
There are times that we can’t help but feel the need for disposable products, especially if you’re on the go or if you’re catering to a lot of people. It’s okay to use single-use items, but its important to make sure that they’re made of eco-friendly material!
Here’s the first step to going green:
Say no to disposable plastic goods like those one-time use plates or cutlery, plastic cups, and plastic wraps and say yes to sustainable living!
If you’re having a big party, use these compostable plates and cutlery. The plates are made of sugarcane fiber which means it can be commercially composted while the Bamboodlers disposable wooden cutlery is a hundred percent all-natural, biodegradable, and compostable. You can just throw them away after using and you won’t feel guilty because these products will do no harm to the environment whatsoever!
StackMan- Compostable Plates
These compostable plates are perfect for your next party! Get it on Amazon right now
Bamboodlers- Disposable Wooden Cutlery
It’s not a party without cutlery! This will make a perfect pair with your compostable plates. Buy it on Amazon today!
Top off your eco-friendly plate + cutlery combo with this set of reusable drinking cups! Parties call for disposable cups as well, but with this product, you won’t have to throw anything away. These cups are made of wheat straw fiber and are BPA-free! They’re lightweight so it isn’t difficult to bring if ever you have a picnic or are going camping. Plus! Look at how beautiful they are. What a steal!
Shopwithgreen- Reusable Drinking Cups
These cups are the perfect addition to your set of eco-friendly party needs. Buy it on Amazon now!
Here are some more products that support sustainable living! :
Are you in a rush? why don’t you skip the coffee run and bring your own cup of joe instead? This glass coffee cup saves you the hassle of lining up at the cafe and decreases the use of paper and plastic coffee cups! It’s artisan-made which means no toxic, polluting machines were used to make these cups. Not to mention, they’re plastic-free and highly durable!
JOCO- Reusable Glass Coffee Cup
Don’t use plastic or paper coffee cups! Buy this reusable glass cup on Amazon instead!
Ziploc bags? What are those? We only use eco-friendly silicone storage bags here! These reusable food storage bags are the perfect substitute for Ziplocs or plastic containers. This one comes in a set of 7 and is made of BPA-free, FDA-approved food-grade silicone. They’re super easy to clean and make life o much easier in the kitchen!
TheAbsoluteKitchen- Eco-Friendly Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags
Rid your kitchen cabinet of any plastic containers and replace them with these reusable food storage bags! Get yours on Etsy today!
Finally, if you’ve got a huge grocery haul or are having a barbeque or party outside, don’t use plastic bags or containers to lug around your stuff. MacSports has this Collapsible Outdoor Utility Wagon that will do the heavy lifting for you! It’s super heavy duty, sets up in seconds, and loads up to 150 lbs. Using this wagon will lessen the need for plastics, plus you can use it again and again! It will also help to get your reusable containers, food leftovers & party utensils back home.
MacSports- Collapsible Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon
This outdoor utility wagon will do all the heavy lifting for you! Get yourself one of these handy helpers on Amazon.
Bringing these small changes in our habits and behaviors will have a huge impact on plastic pollution. Educate yourself and those around you to spread awareness to save planet Earth. For more articles on sustainable living, click here!