The pandemic has made many realize the extent to which man has exploited the environment. From cutting down entire forests to choking the water bodies with plastic, each individual has played a role in disrupting the ecosystem. Plastic has seeped into our homes, workplaces, and businesses. While everyone is aware of its harmful effects, we consider it an indispensable part of our lives because it is convenient and cheap.
The number of plastic bottles produced each day is 1.3 billion, and only around 6% of the total single-use plastic is recycled. Single-use plastic affects health as they release toxins in food and beverages and continues to pollute the Earth for years together. Even high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that claims to be recyclable pollutes air and water due to inefficiencies in its manufacturing process.
Governments and corporations need to update their policies and invest in eco-friendly approaches. We need to make significant changes in our lifestyle to eliminate plastic from our planet. Plastic Free July 2020 is a global challenge initiated to decrease plastic consumption and adopt sustainable alternatives. The movement will turn out to be the first step towards a zero-waste lifestyle for many. We may not succeed in completely removing plastic from our homes, but focusing on mindful consumption can contribute in various ways. The challenge has also identified the top four single-use plastics to avoid—plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway plastic cups, and straws.
Do-able simple changes to get you started:
Swap the Plastic Bottles
Instead of buying a plastic water bottle when you’re outside or using takeaway cups at food joints, carry your reusable bottle. Even HDPE plastics are not entirely safe or recyclable; instead, we can opt for sustainable alternatives such as glass or copper bottles. Copper bottles are more durable and have many known health benefits associated with their use, making them a great investment towards your and the planet’s health.
Biodegradable Cleaning Scrubs
Most dish washing scrubs, made out of plastic fibers, will end up and stay in a landfill for a very long time. An alternative to these is plant-based cleaning scrubs made of coconut husks or palm fibers. They are a lot more hygienic because molds don’t grow on them, and after the scrubs wear out, they serve as a great addition to compost bins.
Eco-friendly Grocery Packaging
Changes in buying patterns, such as shopping from local vendors or at farmer markets instead of buying pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, can make your next shopping trip a step closer to being plastic-free. Brown paper bags, jute bags, and cotton bags made out of repurposed fabric are great alternatives to plastic shopping bags.
Sustainable Bathroom Products
Swap your single-use razors, plastic toothbrushes, and liquid soap bottles for reusable stainless steel safety razors, bamboo toothbrushes, and soap bars. Check the labels of bathroom products to avoid buying toothpaste or shampoos that contain microplastics.
Plastic straws, when carelessly disposed of, end up being a choking hazard for many animals. Just sip the drink instead of asking for a straw or plastic lid on takeaway cups. A reusable straw made of stainless steel is also a good investment for those who are always on the go.
Making changes towards a plastic-free path can be challenging, but the results lead to a better world for future generations. We can achieve our sustainability goals and an ecological balance if the plastic discarded is reduced and recycled. Plastic-Free July movement tips the scale towards achieving zero waste, which doesn’t need to be perfect. Instead, it encourages people, communities, and businesses to refuse plastic imperfectly on a large scale. We hope that you join us this month and reduce the use of plastic in your lives for good.