Why we need to stop single use plastics
At 33, and as a mother of 2 beautiful girls, I’m at an age where I'd like to think I'm conscious of my actions and their reactions. I know I want to preserve a bright future for my daughters, and to be honest, I thought I was doing ok.
I mean, I recycle, don’t I?
Don't get me wrong, recycling is good, but it’s not enough and there is so much more we could be doing. As a generation of forward thinkers with so many resources and so much information available to us, there really is no excuse to not be more aware of the damage we are currently doing to our planet. One of the biggest environmental disasters we have today is the constant use of single-use plastics, such as glad wrap, plastic bags and plastic straws to name a few.
SINGLE USE PLASTIC, AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER
Did you know that there is over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently floating in our oceans? Or that we, the human race, uses approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year? And if you took those bags and tied them together that they’d wrap around the earth 4,200 times? Australians alone use 130kgs of plastic per person each year! On average only 12% of these plastics are recycled. On top of those horrifying statistics, most of that plastic will end up in our waterways killing our marine life and leaking toxins into our water supply. When you see the numbers it’s scary to think that is the future we are leaving for our children.
But we can start to reverse the effects. With a few simple changes we can reduce the amount of single use plastics we use. You might think it’s all to hard but it’s easier than you think!
Here are some of my top tips:
1. Stop using cling wrap
This is a perfect example of a single-use plastic. Cling wrap can take up to 1000 years to decompose and can't be recycled. In place of cling wrap I highly recommend beeswax wraps. Not only is it natural, but it’s completely biodegradable. Beeswax wraps have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and are water tight yet breathable helping to keep food fresher, longer. One the best things about beeswax wraps are they are reusable; you can keep reusing them for 6-12 months and they are super easy to maintain - which in the long run saves you money. You can buy beeswax wraps ready-made, or if you prefer you can easily and economically make your own. We have different sized kits available and all come with easy to follow instructions. They also make a great educational crafting activity to enjoy with the kids. Our beeswax wrap kits are resin-free, containing only two naturals ingredients including Australian beeswax and organic coconut oil. Not only will you be helping save the environment, but they look awesome and smell amazing!
2 -Stop using plastic bags.
It seems simple, because it is. There are so many places that sell cheap and affordable reusable bags. Here are some I've found along the way:
Woolworths, they have their green bags near their check-outs and they are only $0.99c. If they fall apart, they’ll replace it for free. These are made from material that contains plastic, so although not ideal, with care they can last a lifetime.
If you're after something with a pattern or a picture there is always Cotton On, for an extra $2 you can get a fabric bag with some pretty cool pictures on them. I have a whole collection of them!
If you go on holidays somewhere you can always buy fabric bags from different places you've been. I went to the UK two years ago and fabric shopping bags were my souvenir to remember the places I’d been.
Or there is an amazing organisation called “Boomerang Bags”. We have one at our local independent grocer. They have a rack with reusable bags that you can use for free and return next time you shop. If you are a crafty/handy person you can even sign up to make bags. If you are not so good with sewing you can always donate fabric towards the cause. So far they've made 223,471 bags worldwide. If you'd like more information, check out their website here.
3 - Say NO to plastic straws
They end up in land fill, taking up to 200 years to decompose. Straws are made from polypropylene, a by-product of petroleum which requires a large amount of energy and natural resources to extract and refine. Plastic straws are used for only a couple minutes, but their negative impact can last lifetimes.
Most places these days offer paper straws, or you can simply just say no thank you. If you really like to use a straw you can also buy reusable straws, these are usually made from bamboo, silicone or stainless steel.
These are just a few starting ideas, but every little bit helps. If everybody does these little things, we can reduce the amount of plastic waste in our waterways and landfills and we can start to reverse the negative effects of single use plastic waste. I would like to show my daughters that even small change can make a difference.
If you have any ideas that can help reduce single plastic use please drop a comment below.