To change our beliefs we first need to understand the why?
We all know that plastic is no good for the environment but many of us avoid thinking about the actual truths as it seems like too big of a problem. Plastics have a very short life with us but stick around for a long time. Our landfills and sadly our oceans are becoming plastic minefield’s. Plastic products have a massive carbon footprint and are produced using large amounts of fossil fuels. Plastic pollution is having disastrous effects on our wildlife and environment. If you are still not convinced a few google searches of ‘Great Pacific Garden Patch’ should be enough to shock anyone into action.
We cannot deny that plastic has contributed to making food and product distribution more convenient and there are times in our lives where plastic is unavoidable. However, in many ways, plastics are taking over our lives (and quite literally our planet) and there are ways we can each reduce and limit the amount of plastic we use and expose our bodies to.
Plastic is not only bad for our planet but is also causing havoc with our bodies. Most of you would have heard of BPA (Bisphenol-A), a chemical which is often in the media. Unfortunately, this is just one of the chemicals found in plastics Our children are believed to have the highest daily intake of Bisphenol-A due to the use of plastic drink bottles, sippy cups, plates and lunchboxes. Most plastics are by nature leaching compounds which can be absorbed into liquids and foods especially when heated. Our babies and children are most at risk due to their underdeveloped endocrine systems and enzymes which make them particularly vulnerable to chemicals and toxins.
With the speed of changes to technology and products in our lives, there really is little known about the true effect of plastic and the complications to our health. We can see the disaster that plastic is causing for our planet but in reality, the human body is just a guniea pig for plastic... is it really worth the risk?
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Creating a plastic-free environment for you and your family is definitely not an easy feat, in fact, it can be daunting, just the thought of it. Here at Earth Mama, mysuggestion is to start small. Choose one of the below actions to focus on until it becomes engrained in your everyday life and then choose another. The truth is “ we don’t know what we don’t know”, so talk to others and help spread the word. Tell your family and friends about the changes you are making and why and encourage others to start making small changes also. You will find the transition is a lot smoother if you have your family on board and they understand as well. It is also a wonderful opportunity to educate your children and to guide them to make positive choices for their own futures.
These are my top realistic and simple tips to inspire you on your plastic conscious journey.
1. CARRY YOUR OWN REUSABLE DRINK BOTTLE
Are you still guilty of buying plastic water bottles? This is our number one action that you can start today! For something that may take you a few minutes to finish drinking, it can then take over 450 years for one little bottle to break down. Not only that, as plastic warms up or sits around for periods of time, chemicals are seeping right into that water that you are drinking. So, do Mother Earth, your wallet and your body a favour and buy a good grade stainless steel or glass bottle and stop buying plastic bottles.
2. BRING YOUR OWN SHOPPING BAG
New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year. Single-use plastic bags are used for just 12 minutes on average, but they’ll spend thousands of years contaminating our environment. If you use reusable bags your whole life, you’d stop around 25,000 plastic bags from going into circulation (70 years x 355 bags per year).
3. SAY NO TO THE PLASTIC STRAW
Every day we throw away enough plastic straws that, if joined end-to-end, they would go around the equator of Earth 2.5 times! Plastic Never Goes Away. Every single plastic straw that was ever made still exists today in some form. It has just broken down into smaller pieces. Marine life and birds are now mistaking these little pieces for food. They can't digest the plastic in their stomach and end up in a lot of pain. Many birds and fish, even whales, are dying from eating plastic. Plastic has now made its way into the human food chain.
4. PACK YOUR LUNCH IN A REUSABLE CONTAINER
Glad Wrap, Cling Wrap, Cling Film, whichever name you use for it, this stuff is just nasty. Why have we got to the point where we feel the need to wrap every little thing in a clear plastic coating? In most cases, Glad Wrap can be easily avoided. Although these can be pricey at times, at Earth Mama we are a big believer that a glass or stainless steel lunch box is certainly a worthwhile investment for any household. Not only does it stop your food from sitting in a toxin leaching plastic box all day but with the bento compartment options available these days, it is extremely satisfying looking into your well-packed lunch with zero plastic waste.
- BRING YOUR OWN CUP
Annually, over 500 billion disposable paper, Styrofoam and single-use plastic cups are used worldwide and this figure is rapidly rising each year. Shockingly, these cups deplete natural resources, increase C02 emissions and most are sent straight to landfill where they add to the global waste crises. That equates to 50,000,000 trees cut down and harvested for the sake of convenience. Please do Mother Earth a favour and invest in a reusable glass or stainless steel cup which is free of all harmful chemical nasties including BPA, lead and cadmium AND won’t affect flavour so you will taste your coffee or tea, not your cup.