Planet Earth is a thing of beauty and it’s also the only home we have. Sometime we forget how lucky and protected we are by our home planet. That layer of protection exists because of the Earth’s magnetic field and our very thin layer of atmosphere. Global warming and CO2 emissions as a GHG pollutant have been issues that are much talked about for quite some time now. However, there is another huge pollutant that threatens the entire eco system, and that’s plastic, in particular, single use plastics.
The good news is, in recent times the awareness to the damage its causing has been highlighted and most of us have already started taking steps towards greener alternatives.
Reducing and stopping our usage of single-use plastics may seem like a small contribution, but collectively, it stands to make a huge difference. Plastic firstly is not biodegradable, so whatever amount is manufactured will always remain on Earth. More of our oceans have become polluted with our single use plastic waste and it’s greatly affecting marine life. It’s estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans by weight than there will be fish. Plastic recycling is also one of the hardest and the slowest within the recycling industries, so most of the plastics end up as waste. Currently more than 50% of the plastic produced is for the manufacturing of single use plastic products. The more we reduce the demand for those products by using alternatives, the less the companies will produce.
There has been a welcome rise in the manufacturing of metal, glass and paper straws in the recent years. The latest and my favourite is quite possibly the eco-friendly bamboo straws. With such a diverse range there is no real reason why we would ever need to buy single use plastic straws. Many hospitality businesses have made the full switch to eco-friendly options, however many still serve with the plastic ones. If that’s the only option available, I usually opt for going straw free and drink naked straight out of the glass, so to speak.
Refillable glass and environmentally friendly metal water bottles are widely available everywhere and it’s a great alternative to buying water that are sold in single use plastic bottles.
Most of us have been through a stage in life, where we’ve accumulated a selection of plastic bags from our shopping. Thankfully, over the recent years, single use plastic bags have reduced greatly. Investing in reusable canvas or cotton tote bags is possibly the cheapest way to save money on buying the plastic bags for life to re-use. I’ve known friends to make their own cotton bags and of course there are countless designs available when it comes to buying ready-made ones.
There are many more ways for us to reduce the use of single use plastics, from packaging of products to using eco-friendly cutleries and coffee cups. Most of the things we can do to contribute towards reducing this particular pollutant is fairly easy and more and more manufacturers are listening to the consumer demands and are innovating new solutions.