Not only is this a garbage collection issue, but it is also contributing to health problems in humans and animals. As concerned citizens and companies, there are many ways we can reduce our use of plastics and be part of the solution. Read on to find ways to eliminate plastic from your life.
The harmful aspects of plastic are tremendous for the planet and it’s animal and human population. Many plastics have been prolifically studied and shown to be toxic. PVC, or #3, contains phthalates and heavy metals, and creates dioxins when it burns. Other plastics contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been identified as a chemical that disrupts hormones.
There are thousands of possible additives in plastics, and manufacturers are not required to disclose what is in their recipes. Any plastic can leach, depending on the conditions (light, heat) and what additives it includes.
See the chart below for a description of each plastic and its known issues and drawbacks.
In addition to these issues, plastics are littering our earth and oceans and have created something called the Pacific Gyre, an island of plastic larger than the state of Texas. It is unfathomable that we have created this much plastic waste in so short a time, in the name of convenience.
It is time for change now that awareness has grown with the impact that convenience may cost the health of our bodies and the environment that supports all life.
Plastic Negative is a term to describe the offset of more plastic than you use in your life or business. For example, you can sponsor a company that collects and recycles or reuses nature bound plastic on behalf of any plastic you may use.
At Mana, we have partnered with rePurpose Global in their One for One program which eliminates 1lb of nature bound plastic for each product we sell. Our products have a very small plastic footprint already so removing a 1lb of plastic for each of these products takes more plastic out of circulation than we are putting in. Learn more on our rePurpose microsite.
We shop for groceries often, so reusable bags can go a long way in cutting our plastic consumption at the checkout stand and when we are bagging our produce.
Tremendous resources are used to extract, bottle, and ship packaged water. Often there is not much that is special about this water, other than filtering, and the plastic it is stored in can leach chemicals that are harmful to your health. Reusable stainless steel bottles or travel mugs are readily available and all you need is the habit of filling it up before you leave the house. Insulated bottles are particularly nice and a big upgrade from a plastic water bottle.
Single serving containers use an immense amount of plastic. Make a shift by choosing larger sized containers, rather than single-serving sizes. For example, buy a large bag of chips vs single-serving snack-sized chips. Buy a large container of juice rather than single juice boxes. Avoid shrink-wrapped meats by ordering at the butcher counter. Buy blocks of cheese vs individually wrapped cheese slices.
Keep glass or metal in to-go containers in your car or bag so you are prepared to take home your leftovers or favorite espresso without creating more waste. Styrofoam containers leach styrene, a known carcinogen, and break down into small bits that end up in the ocean and in the stomach of unsuspecting marine life.
Single-use containers are a very modern invention which replaced other practical and efficient containers. You can make the effort to buy foods packaged in metal or glass. You can also use glass storage containers at home for leftovers and to break down larger containers of things into smaller containers.
As a consumer, we can influence those we shop with by making our concerns and desires known. Most companies want feedback from their customers, so take a moment to let them know you want less plastic in the packaging of what you purchase.
Each one of us can do our part to turn the tide with plastic and help clean up our environment. There is much creativity, inspiration, and innovation occurring in this arena. Here are two inspiring videos offering positive solutions.
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