Life without plastic - Why we should reduce our plastic waste
Can we live a life without plastic
The short answer to this is probably a simple no. Even in our daily lives without considering medical uses, for example, there is plenty of plastic that would be very hard to get rid of without changing our lives in a huge way. Our phones, computers, white goods and cars are all made with huge amounts of plastic.
However, just because we can’t live without plastic completely, at least in the short term, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things we can do to massively reduce our plastic footprint. Plastic-free toiletries, reusable bottles, not using plastic bags, and ditching single-use items are all great places to start.
So do we need to reduce our plastic waste? And if so how do we go about it?
Why we should reduce our plastic waste
According to the National Geographic 9 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year, causing harm to marine life and even entering our own food chain.
Plastic, for the most part, is made from oil, a non-renewable resource that is being diminished at an alarming rate. There are now possibilities from making plastics from plants but that’s not the type of plastic we are talking about here.
Plastic lasts a very long time. This means that almost every plastic item that has ever been made still exists somewhere, whether that’s in a landfill, the ocean, buried in the ground or recycled into something new. Of course, plastic can be incinerated to produce energy or even broken down into hydrocarbons that can be refined to make fuel but even so it is not a renewable resource.
Being as there are many incredibly useful applications for plastic it seems a little silly to be using so much of it for single-use applications such as straws, water bottles, tampon applicators, and food packaging. Especially as in most instances there are now plenty of reusable or renewable options available.
So how do we go about reducing the plastic we use?
As individuals one of the most powerful things we can do is vote with our wallets. Money talks and if people stop buying something then the alternatives become more profitable and more likely to succeed.
It’s not always easy but making a change really does make a difference. Packaging uses more plastic than anything else. And while it’s difficult to avoid plastic packaging in most instances it’s not impossible and we can certainly massively reduce the amount of plastic packaging we buy.
A huge amount of plastic is also used in textile production, allowing us to buy cheap clothing, but again there are plenty of great renewable alternatives that are far less damaging to the environment.
There are loads of simple swaps we can make in our homes such as not using plastic wrap in the kitchen, buying bamboo toothbrushes, or switching to reusable wipes. And there are plenty of ways we can change our habits while we are out and about, shopping or choosing ways to relax and unwind.
Why not start by looking at one area in your home or life and see how many simple changes you could make. Check out this article on how to make your bathroom plastic-free for a few great ideas to get you started.