9 Tips for Living with Less Plastic
Avoiding plastic is almost impossible these days - it’s everywhere: from bottled water, drinking straws, shopping bags, to storage containers, packaging, and household goods.
Plastic is increasingly damaging to our environment and disruptive to the ecosystem.
Horrifying Facts about Plastic
Here are a few facts to help you get a clearer picture:
- The average human consumes 730 liters of water per year, producing 15.3 kilograms of plastic waste. That’s 315 plastic bottles per person per year.
- One million plastic bottles per minute are purchased globally.
- Americans buy 50 billion plastic bottles each year - and only 23% is recycled.
- Half a million straws are used daily around the world.
- Global consumption of disposable cups reached 500 billion per year [16 billion of these are coffee cups].
- 8 million tons of plastic are disposed into the ocean every year.
- One million seabirds and 100,000 fish, sea mammals, and turtles die due to plastic pollution.
Different levels of toxins
You might be aware that plastic comes in more than one variety.
Bottles are commonly made using polyethylene terephthalate, often abbreviated as PET or PETE. This plastic is weightless and super sturdy.
What you might not know is that PET is obtained from petroleum hydrocarbon via a chemical reaction between purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and ethylene glycol (EG). Another fact to note is that 93% of bottled water contains microplastic particles.
This was uncovered quite recently - during extensive research completed in September 2018.
An average litre of water contains 10.4 microplastic particles.
How can you avoid using this harmful material?
We have a few tips for you:
Avoid the worst plastics
Check the bottom of any plastic container - it should have a number 1 to 7 in a triangle of arrows.
The worst plastics are:
- #3 [polyvinyl chloride, extremely toxic plastic containing lead, used in plastic food wrap, squeeze bottles, and toys]
- #6 [polystyrene, containing styrene, toxic for the brain and nervous system, and used in styrofoam, disposable dishes, take-out containers, and plastic cutlery]
- #7 [polycarbonate, which contains bisphenol A and can be found in metal food can liners, clear plastic sippy cups, sport drink bottles, juice, and ketchup containers].
Here are a few simple tips which will help you easily swap plastic for something more eco-friendly:
#1. Carry a reusable water bottle
Countless research shows us that bottled water is not only bad for the environment, it’s also bad for us - it can actually be less healthy than tap water - yes, really!
The bottled water industry is not as strictly regulated as municipal water, therefore you have NO guarantee whatsoever what’s lurking in your plastic bottle.
Our tip: ditch the bottled water and opt for a healthy portable water purifier from the Crazy Cap - giving you safe drinkable water on the go, killing up to 99.999% of harmful bacteria.
#2. Bring your own shopping bag
Plastic bags are discarded after a few minutes after you pick them up - and they can take hundreds of years to break down! They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of sea life creatures each year; stop this cruel circle and swap for a reusable eco-friendly shopping bag - today.
#3. Use your own cup
Love coffee on the go? We do too! But did you know that the plastic reusable cups are also damaging to the ecosystem?
Check the statistics earlier in this article - additionally, 99% of takeout coffee cups are not recycled, they’re just being discarded. That’s 16 billion cups per year! The solution?
Get yourself a stylish reusable coffee cup - and simply ask to fill it up in your favorite coffee shop.
#4. Say no to disposable straws and cutlery
Plastic straws are a horrible offender - they are used for a few minutes and then pollute the countryside, waterways, and oceans, seriously damaging sea life creatures.
They can get stuck inside sea turtle nostrils! What’s the next best thing? Opt for disposable metal or glass straws and use recyclable wooden or bamboo cutlery instead.
#5. Shop in bulk
The more items you buy, the more you save on packaging - and it’s more pocket-friendly too! Think which items you buy regularly that you can store for longer or freeze without losing its quality?
Long-life milk, juices, cereal, snacks, etc. are cheaper in bulk and often have a very long shelf life.
#6. Avoid frozen convenience foods
Convenience foods are among the worst culprits for excessive packaging waste. Frozen foods come wrapped in plastic and packaged in cardboard, which is often lined with plastic, too.
There’s not any way around it; it’s a shopping habit that will have to go if you’re serious about ditching plastic.
#7. Skip the plastic produce bags
When picking fruits and veg, skip the ones ready-packed in a plastic wrapper, and opt for loose produce instead. It’s an easy swap, and will quickly save a ton of plastic litter every year.
#8. Store leftovers in glass jars
Have a tasty lasagne left after dinner? Store it in a glass container. You can freeze it too - glass is much better for your health, as plastic can leak nasty toxins into the stored food.
#9. Share these tips with your friends
Want to make a difference? Share this article with your family and friends to help them improve their healthy lifestyle and ditch using harmful plastic.