You have probably heard a lot about reducing our use of one time plastics recently. This is because of the incredibly great harm they cause this planet we call home. When I look at the destruction, I feel incredibly upset at how plastic is just choking out our planet. The good news is, many people are also on board and so many companies, such as Pathwater are coming up with incredibly innovative ways to combat plastic pollution and also keep things just as convenient. Before we talk about ways you can make the switch to less plastic, let’s look at why you should.
Why One Time Use Plastic is a Problem
This is a subject I have written about several times, but it’s kind of my soapbox for the earth, if you will. Simply put, plastic is pushing our planet to it’s breaking point. Here are a couple of fast facts for you regarding why plastic is a problem.
The great Pacific Garbage Patch-If you haven’t heard of it, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of 5 in the oceans today and it’s the largest. The patch, also known as a Gyre, is essentially an accumulation of plastics and micro-plastics that have formed a giant area that floats on the surface of the ocean. It’s rather deceiving to think of it as a patch, though, because it’s not small at all. It is actually about twice the size of Texas. This is not only a problem because it shows the massiveness of our one time use plastic problem, but it also cause serious consequences for the marine life that live near it from entanglements to eating of micro-plastics.
Animals in the ocean mistake garbage for food- In mentioning micro-plastics, I should probably break down what that means (no pun intended for those that already know). Micro-plastics are what happens when larger plastics break up into tiny pieces. These tiny pieces are mistaken for food by marine life and they cause huge amounts of destruction inside their bodes. They are often essentially choked out as they are filled so full of them that they die. Then, larger marine animals eat them and the same thing happens to them. It isn’t just about animals that swim in the ocean, either. Marine birds also eat these plastics, too. Land animals such as camels are also being devastated with an estimate of 50% of camels dying from plastic consumption in the Arab Emirates.
Most of our one time use plastic isn’t recycled- According to this article from National Geographic, over 91% of our plastic isn’t recycled. One time use plastics are the biggest culprit because they are tossed more often than not and even when you place them into recycling they may not even get recycled. We must reduce our use of one time plastics in order to control how much is being tossed away.
How to Make the Switch to Less Plastic
I feel very strongly that sometimes, making small switches can make a huge difference. There are a lot of things we don’t have control over as consumers, but choosing not to buy as much one time use plastic is something we do. Here are some tips to reduce your use of one time use plastics.
Find convenience in other places– We are so used to just heading to the convenience store on a hot summer day and buying a bottle of water to quench our thirst. I always hated that I would sometimes forget my water bottle at home and have to purchase a plastic one. I am so glad that Pathwater exists, now! You can get a bottle of water in an aluminum bottle (which, by the way, uses 5x less energy to recycle) at convenience stores now with Pathwater. No more buying plastic for me. Find where to buy Pathwater here.
Choose a better alternative- There are so many ways we use plastic everyday and just toss it. Stop using one time use items like utensils, straws, water/soda bottles, shopping bags and produce bags. Find alternatives to these items here. I even did a post about straws, too!
Ask yourself if you really need it– One of the biggest ways I personally found to reduce my own use of one time plastics was to just become a more conscious consumer. I asked myself if I really needed something, especially if it was packaged in plastic before I bought it. Many times, my answer was a simple ‘no’.
Purchase in bulk– Bulk buying not only helps you save money, but it also is a great way to reduce your use of plastic. It’s even better if they store you purchase from allows for use of your own jars so you can reuse them for storing and purchasing these goods.
Reuse items more than once– Reduce, reuse, recycle; you have probably heard that phrase since you were younger. The reuse part is one that many people forget. Just because something was originally bought to be used once doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. For instance, Pathwater’s aluminium bottles can be used over and over, so if you find yourself out and about and needing to buy some water, get a Pathwater bottle and reuse it over and over.
Ultimately, we have more control over these one time use plastics polluting than we think. You have probably heard the saying, “Vote with your dollar” and with one time use plastics this is definitely the case. If we as consumers make a better switch and refuse these one time use plastics, other brands will follow suit in finding alternatives and we will have less of them overall.