Sometimes it seems we just can’t escape plastic; it’s everywhere. We shop at the supermarket and our produce comes wrapped in one, if not two, layers of plastic wrapping. Not forgetting the Whole Foods fiasco that sent social media into a meltdown when it was revealed they were selling oranges pre-peeled and wrapped in plastic. Why, why, why?!
July has been declared Plastic Free July, and here at Healing Lifestyles & Spas we’re fully embracing the month of July to be conscious over the amount of plastic we use. And in a world where bamboo straws, silicone food packaging and reusable water bottles are readily available, there’s really no reason why we can’t all try to bring less plastic into our environment.
The dangers of plastic
It may seem harmless enough, but plastic is causing a worldwide epidemic that is threatening not only our marine life but our planet and health, too. The biggest contributor? Single-use plastic. Think about how many times you purchase a drink only to trash the bottle a short while later. When we order food it comes in cartons of plastic; and we don’t even want to talk about the volume of plastic bags we accumulate when we’re out shopping. These plastics are only made to be used briefly and yet they stick around for many years to come.
And when they do break down (which can be in hundreds of years), they break into pieces and become a permanent cause of pollution. Instead of being recycled, they tend to become down-cycled, so that they’re made into even more low grade, single use products. That’s if they make it to landfill; on many occasions plastic escapes from trucks and becomes accidental litter, coating the world in which we live.
In the instances when plastic does arrive at landfill, this itself has repercussions; we inhale the toxic dioxins that are released when plastic is incinerated. And if you’re someone that is concerned over their eco-footprint, the process of plastic manufacturing consumes 6 percent of the world’s fossil fuels.
How to go plastic free
The bottom line is that we simply don’t need these plastic products. There are so many small changes you can make to lower your intake of plastic consumption while hopefully moving on to plastic-free living. A whopping 6 out of 10 of us are already refusing plastic shopping bags when we spend, which is a great achievement. But how wonderful would it be if we could make that statistic higher? So use Plastic Free July as an opportunity to actively seek out ways in which you can ditch plastic permanently. To get started:
- Refuse plastic carriers when shopping and invest in some sturdy reusable shopping totes. They’re lightweight so you can always have one on hand when out and about.
- Stop buying your drinks in bottles. Reusable water bottles are great, and they’re also BPA-free, which means the plastic won’t break down over time and become mixed in your water. It may be worthwhile investing in a water filtration system. It’s much better for our health and also much more cost effective over time when you stop buying drinks on the go.
- Try to limit the amount of foods you buy in packaging. Instead of ordering takeout, why not try your hand at cooking new and exciting foods from your own kitchen? Shopping at local farmers markets and farms not only means you’re limiting the plastic you take home with you, but you’re also supporting local businesses, which is a great feeling.
- Make a stand to always refuse plastic that will inevitably end up as litter. This means saying no to straws, takeaway cups, utentils etc.
- Sometimes you’re going to come across some form of plastic, what can I say? The world is a pretty imperfect place at times, so when you do have plastic hanging about be sure to recycle!
There are many ways for us to live without plastic. Simple changes such as switching your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo version, or ditching doggy poo bags for newspaper take little to no struggle to embrace. You can cut back on the amount of cleaning products you buy (that are not only plastic but can cost a pretty penny) by making your own from home. See some of the swaps you can make here.
In place of some popular products, there are so many wonderful replacements out there designed to be used in place of plastic, so here’s a few of my personal favorites, and ones that I think will make the step towards living a plastic-free existence a little easier.
Reusable food wrap
We all have leftover food at some stage, whether it be a slice of cheese, a slab of cake or a crusty loaf. We usually reach for a plastic food container or perhaps some clingfilm wrap, but there’s no need to reach for plastic with a product like this on the market. These reusable food wraps are made from beeswax, GOTS certified cotton, organic jojoba oil and tree resin, and are perfect for wrapping up leftovers. Each wrap can last up to a year with regular use so your food will be kept nice and fresh.
Reusable Refillable Baby Food Pouch
It’s not just adults that need to be mindful of wasting plastic. When it comes down to our little ones, a lot of kiddo food comes in plastic pouches that are thrown away after use. Pouches are a great way of feeding liquids to babies and toddlers, but once they’ve gobbled the food, the packet ends up lining our bin. So why not try these reusable baby food pouches and make the food before you go? It’s super easy to puree food and store it in these pouches (not to mention you have full control over what you’re feeding them) and then you can have them ready to take out and about with you. There’s no BPA, lead or phthalates in these pouches so you can rest assured they’re perfectly safe for your littles.
Reusable produce bags
One of the main contenders for single-use plastic is the fresh produce aisle. Well, no more. These reusable produce bags are made or supermarket shopping. Just toss fresh fruits and vegetables straight into these bags, eliminating the need for a plastic one. There’s five in a pack and they’re color-coded, making them perfect for arranging your produce. As they’re made from mesh it means your vegetables won’t sweat either, so they’ll be just as fresh once you get them home.
Reusable GROCERY bags
There are a lot of reusable bags on the market but some of them are so cumbersome, they’re near impossible to carry around for impromptu trips to the supermarket. But we’ve found the answer; these string grocery bags. They may not look like they hold much, but they can hold up to 20 pounds (or 18 tin cans, y’know, if you’re stocking up for an apocalypse). They’re 100 percent cotton, super lightweight and fold easily, and with three in a pack you can leave one in your car as well as your handbag so you’ll never be without one.
Reusable WATER BOTTLE
When it comes to our beverages, so many of them come in plastic. So to use less plastic why not invest in a reusable water bottle? It’ll save you money in the long run as you won’t need to buy drinks on the go; simply make a smoothie before you leave the house, or take some hydrating water along for the ride. The best part of these stainless steel reusable bottles is that they filter tap water on the go so you’ll be drinking fresh water. Inside the bottle is a filter that removes up to 99.99% of pollutants, so you’ll always have great tasting water. The food grade stainless steel bottle is non-leaching, BPA and lead-free, and lightweight, so you’ll really reuse this again and again.
collapsible silicone coffee cup
Can’t live without your morning latte? I feel you. Coffee is the fuel that feeds my tank. But sometimes, especially when we leave the house, we don’t want to be carrying around a heavy coffee flask. That’s when these reusable coffee cups are perfect. You can simply pop them up, get your coffee on the go and then collapse them once you’re done. They’re made from food grade, heat-resistant silicone and are BPA free, so there’ll be no plastic taste to your morning java, don’t worry.
reusable bamboo cutlery
Oh, cutlery – where do we begin… Disposable cutlery contributes heavily to the mass amount of plastic that pollutes our planet, yet it’s so easy to stop accepting plastic utentils and take your own along. This reusable bamboo cutlery set is perfect for when you’re out and stopping off to eat. They’re lightweight, and easy to store in your purse. You’ll be thankful when you’ve stopped off for a bite to eat and are offered a plastic fork or spoon. Simply say no, pull out your own and feel great that your cutlery won’t end up in the trash bin at the end of your meal.
Latest posts by Lora O'Brien (see all)
- The 7 R’s To Zero Waste: How To Live Without Excess - September 13, 2017
- 11 Super-Creative Upcycling Transformations - September 4, 2017
- 5 Women’s Wellness Retreats: Beyond Measure & Beyond Bold - August 17, 2017