Reusable Planet Blog
Author: Rachel Date Posted:14 October 2019
The Overuse of Plastic
Do you know the overuse of plastic is one of the biggest problems our planet faces? Of course you do, everyone is talking about it these days. But you're not sure what to do about it?
We’ve all basked in the convenience of plastic. We’ve been brought up on it. We’ve relied on it. And until recently, never thought twice about it.
But the impact is showing. Eight million tons of plastic are entering the ocean every year. If we don’t change our plastic habits, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Microplastics are in the air we breathe, in the water we drink and in the food we eat. Yes, it is in our food chain, because it is being eaten by our food. And we are breathing it in, and we are drinking it. And the health implications are only now coming to light.
The stats are staggering. It’s time to wean ourselves off plastic. And it will take lifestyle changes to make this happen.
So where do you start? One step at a time…
One of the easiest ways to reduce your use of plastic is to avoid single-use plastic, and BYO when out and about instead. So what are the biggest culprits?
Disposable Coffee Cups; one billion of them annually in Australia alone.
They are plastic lined so can't be recycled in normal recycling streams. In fact, if you throw that coffee cup in the recycling bin, it could contaminate the entire load, seeing it all end up in landfill. Plus, it usually comes with a plastic lid that is made of polystyrene and not generally recyclable.
So BYO reusable cup to your fave cafe. You may even end up with a discount (check out Responsible Cafes for more on this fabulous idea!). Don’t have, or forgot to bring your reusable? At the least, say no the lid! Or take some ‘me time’ to dine in and use a mug.
Disposable Water Bottles; again, one billion of these babies gets disposed of in Australia every year.
But plastic can be recycled, I hear you say... yes, in theory. But we have a recycling problem in Australia and only12% of our plastic is currently recycled. So most of these bottles will end up in landfill (or floating in the ocean), taking centuries to break down into microplastics and contaminating the soil (or water) long after your kids' kids' kid's kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids' kids have left the Earth! Gah!
Plastic Straws; Always in the top ten at beach cleanups and renowned for getting up turtle’s noses. Literally! Plastic straws are lightweight and easily blown away, where they end up in the storm drain, and in our waterways and oceans.
There are so many reusable straw options: Bamboo, stainless steel, fancy coloured stainless steel, silicone, paper, bent, straight, collapsible. Get yourself one to stash in your handbag or manbag, or simply sip instead of suck!
But it’s only one straw – said 7 billion people…
Plastic cutlery; Again, it generally cannot be recycled due to the type of plastic it is made of, and its size makes it past the sorting machines, anyway. So off to landfill it goes… if you’re ordering delivery or picking up food on your way home, remember to say no to disposable cutlery. BYO for food on-the-go. Convenient and portable reusable bamboo, steel or plastic cutlery kits are readily available and often include chopsticks!
And we haven’t even mentioned the carbon and pollution footprint of making all this single-use stuff!
Make it easy on yourself, make up a BYO kit with everything you usually use for eating on-the-go and keep it in a dedicated bag hanging by the door or in your car. Grab and go! It can be like our Zero Waste Foodie Kit or make your own with items you already have at home.
Need more stats to be convinced? Read more here
You don't have to go plastic cold turkey, and you don't have to be perfect. Just start with one thing...