These days seems that it is virtually impossible to avoid plastic in our daily lives. Plastic is at our fingertips all day long. From the toothbrush, the shower curtain, your personal care products, your take-out lunch, to your keyboard and your water bottle. Over the last ten years the US has produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century, and it sadly accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
Since we pretty much depend on plastic and don’t think twice in storing food in the mismatched Tupperware that inhabits in the cupboard, here are some facts to make you reconsider using plastic in your daily life:
- It is believed that 90% of all the trash floating in the ocean is made up of plastic.
- Researchers have found that plastic debris acts like a sponge for toxic chemicals, soaking up in higher concentration deadly compounds like PCBs and DDE. These particles become highly toxic poisons to marine animals who frequently consume them.
- Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, so even when an animal dies and decays after ingesting a bag, the plastic re-enters the environment, posing a continuing threat to wildlife.
- Only 14% of plastic water bottles are recycled. Americans consume 190 billion sodas, juice drinks, and other beverages packaged in plastic or glass bottles and aluminum cans each year. That’s over 650 containers per person per year—or almost two containers a day for every person living in the United States. (1)
- The average life expectancy of a toothbrush is about 75 years, and each of us will throw away about 12 pounds of plastic toothbrushes in our lifetime
- Straws can’t be recycled and most people only use them once. In the U.S., we use 500 million straws a day, enough straw waste to wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times or to fill the Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year.
Old habits are hard to break but I think it is worth the effort to minimize the use of plastic when you read about these crazy facts. Most of the plastic products we commonly use can be replaced with a Greener alternative. Just check these out:
Casabella Sponge Cloths
The alternative to sponges (normally made of plastic polymers) or topaper towel for that matter, is a reusable sponge cloth or dishtowel. The Casabella Sponge cloths are made of 100% natural cellulose, a material derived from wood pulp, which is a renewable resource. Just like a dishtowel that you can reuse several time to clean up spills, the Casabella is super absorbent and you can wash it and reuse it many times, plus it is sturdier than regular paper towel. You can order them here or here
Russbe Reusable Snack Bags
These snack bags and sandwich sacks provide an environmentally friendly alternative to regular plastic sacks. Yes they are made of plastic, but free of BPA, PVC, latex and phthalates and are easy to clean and very convenient to take with you since they are sturdier than regular plastic bags. They come in sets of four (two sandwich and two snack bags), and allow people to cut back on paper and plastic waste. Buy here or here
Bees Wrap was created as a more sustainable way to store our food. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap was created. It has a beautiful honey scent and it hangs on very well to bowls and works well as a wrapper for anything that you used saran wrap for. At the end of your wrap’s useful life in the kitchen you can reuse it as I fire starter! Buy here or here
Baggu Reusable Bags
These are made from 100% ripstop nylon and are machine washable. Each bag can hold 2-3 plastic grocery bags worth of groceries. After each use you can fold them into a flat 5 in. x 5 in. pouch and store them in an orderly manner. Can you really do that with a plastic bag? The truth is that Baggu bags are so cute that you can use them for more than just trips to the supermarket. Click here to see the different styles. Buy here or here
Stainless Steel Straws
Straws are such an unnecessary evil but it seems no cocktail or smoothie can’t go without one. Stainless Steel straws look stylish, are BPA-free and are the non-toxic alternative to disposable plastic drinking straws. They are manufactured from high quality grade food safe stainless steel so it is durable and dishwasher safe too. It does come with a small brush that you can insert for thorough cleaning. Buy here or here
It is the best alternative to plastic silverware and since it is made from a single piece of bamboo, it doesn’t need glue or lacquers so it is safe to use with your organic food. ts size and weight makes it super portable and considering that it’s made from bamboo it’s naturally antimicrobial, stain resistant, and won’t retain stinky odors. You can take it with you everywhere in this handy washable cork sleeve. You can buy it here or here
Weck Jars and Mason Jars
I think the green smoothie and pressed juices “movement” put the mason jars back in the radar. If you are still using plastic to store your food you are not only ingesting BPA but those containers will take years to decompose. Both mason jars and weck jars will keep your food fresh and will make it easy to take on the go and wash. The weck jars are easy to stack to save space and both can be used to store more than just food. Click here for more ideas on weck jars and here for mason jars. You can order weck jars here and here and for mason jars click here or here
So what do you think? Which item will be the first that you will replace at home? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
(1) Center for Climate and Energy Solutions