Your alarm brings your out of your slumber as you roll out of bed. You lumber over to the bathroom where you brush your teeth and hop in the shower. After you’ve, dressed, coffeed and packed your lunch you are ready to go. All in all, this took about 30 minutes. Do you know how much plastic you’ve interacted with in that time?
A quick run through:
1: Your toothbrush: made up almost entirely of plastic, toothbrushes are (supposed to be) disposed of every three months, and because of that, they are always in high demand. The constant creation of these plastic plaque-fighters results in vast sections of our landfills being dedicated solely to oral hygiene, as they are surprisingly difficult to recycle.
2: Your lunch: Yes, we all love those little ziploc bags that hold our goldfish and those sandwich bags that hold, surprise, sandwiches. But (let me not surprise you, but still ruin your day) they are terrible for the environment.
3: Body Wash beads: What? I was devastated to learn that my favorite face wash is chock-full of these bad boys. Essentially, they are small plastic beads that can pose a surprisingly large threat to marine life, because they are too small to be filtered out of the water system, and inevitably end up in the ocean.
I could go on, but you get the point. We use a LOT of plastic, whether or not we are aware of it, in our everyday lives. And the results of this usage are not great. From the huge eddies of plastic swirling in the North Pacific to the landfills overflowing with our recyclable trash, there’s a lot of it out there, and we keep making more.
For many, this information can be overwhelming – where to even begin to end the cycle?
Should I get rid of all my plastic? Should I vow never to touch it again? Should I start my own plastic recycling kit at home? (This is actually a real thing: check it out)
There are actually some simple ways (through a lot of amazing organizations) to help reduce plastic waste. Here are the coolest ones – to me, at least.
A website that helps bridge the gap between an earth-conscious individual and a place that will recycle whatever it is they have! (I just checked it out, and I can finally get rid of all the pens and mechanical pencils I have been hoarding since the seventh grade!)
Curious to see how green you’re living? Want to know the environmental details of that blush you’ve been eyeing? Just enter the product name into GoodGuide, and it will give you the health, environmental, and social impact of that product! It’s a great guide to becoming a savvy and green consumer.
While these sites are great, and are hopefully the beginning of a long list of environmentally-aware companies, the easiest thing for you, our reader to do, is to take small steps every day. Maybe get a reusable coffee thermos, or buy the product that has a less harmful effect on the environment, or even use recyclable bags at the grocery store instead of the plastic ones.
If you’d like to help us fight for the future, consider changing one thing. The African Rainforest Conservancy promotes the protection of the environment in numerous ways, from supporting the planting of millions of trees throughout Africa, to encouraging the use of reusable bags by creating our own. (link to a place where people can buy that tote)
Maybe that reusable bag will be the first of a repeatable act.