Well for one plastic production requires an enormous amount of energy and resources which then causes carbon emissions and contributes to global warming. But this is slightly out of our hands, the main reason is that recycling plastic is not efficient. Only 9% of plastic ever produced has been recycled. About 60% is discarded in landfills and oceans. 10-20 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. Animals such as seabirds, whales, and dolphins can become entangled in plastic. Sometimes animals eat plastic floating on the seawater because they confuse it with food.
Throwing plastic in the ocean does not make it miraculously disappear. The truth is that it breaks down into small pieces that are eaten by sea life and transferred up the food chain, carrying synthetic and toxic pollutants. Plastic waste also affects our quality of life. It affects our air quality therefore directly impacting the quality of life of people. Lacking technical health standards exposes people and workers in recycling facilities to a range of pollutants, injuries, infections, and other severe long term health problems. The most efficient and fairly easy way to fight the problem is by reducing our plastic waste. Here are some things you and your family can do to reduce your plastic waste.
Makeup Wipes are a No-No
Makeup remover wipes are just not cool. Most makeup wipes are super bad for the environment as they are made of non-biodegradable plastic fibers, and are key players in catastrophic sewer buildups. I personally just don’t like wipes because I find them too harsh, but that’s just me. You could however use micellar water and a REUSABLE cotton round (or even just a soft washcloth) to remove your makeup. You could also just use an oil-based cleanser to melt away your makeup instead of the wipes. Here are some suggestions…
- Greenzla Reusable Makeup Remover Pads (20 pack = $15.99)
- These are the pads I use, and I love them! If you do decide to use these be sure to wash them before using them otherwise some of the material will be left on your face after you use it.
- Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water All-in-1 (13.5 Fl Oz = $8.99)
- I use the fragrance-free version just because I don’t like fragrance in my skincare products. This is a great 1st cleanse for removing makeup and sunscreen too.
- Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil (4 Fl Oz = $8.29)
- I like this oil cleanser because I can find it at drugstores, and a little goes a long way. One bottle lasts me a while.
Use Reusable Grocery Bags or Don’t
A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade, so instead use a reusable bag! You can buy a reusable grocery bag at a lot of your local grocery stores, like Target, Walmart, and Publix. You could also just not use bags. For most people, this would be a lot of work, but when your load is not huge you can just put your products directly in your car. You also get a great workout from going back and forth between your kitchen and car to get all the stuff out.
Reusable Water Bottles are Awesome
There are so many bottles out there that you can use instead of one-use plastic water bottles or cups. You could get a stainless steel bottle (Hydro Flask sksksks) or even a glass bottle. Another great way to quit using plastic bottles is by using boxed water. I suggest Boxed Water Is Better products. Their containers are reusable and are completely recyclable. You can order a pack online and get it delivered to your front door. These are great for travel or school, and they are a great way to get away from plastic one-use bottles. However, boxed water is slightly a luxury in my opinion, and it is definitely not the only alternative to plastic bottles.
Use Environment-Friendly Sandwich and Snack Bags
There are a lot of reusable silicone snack and sandwich storage bags out there. You can find them at Target and Walmart. Also let’s not forget that Ziploc bags are recyclable, and they are way better than buying individual bags/packets of goldfish.
Stop using Plastic Straws/Lids and Utensils
You have probably heard about this one. You can easily buy a reusable straw kit at Target or even at Publix. You can ask the person at the register to simply not include these two things with your beverage. Reusable straws are now much easier to carry around with you since they come in cool carrier options and innovative ways to store them. You can easily slide some in your bag or hook some that come in keychain options onto your backpack. As for the utensils, you can always ask the register to again simply not include the plastic utensils.
Ask for the Paper Cup
This one is a really easy way to reduce your plastic waste. At Starbucks, you can ask for your cold drink in a paper cup instead. It still tastes AMAZING! And while the #StarbucksFrappuccino aesthetic might be hindered at least you will be doing your part in stopping global warming.
Use A Reusable Face Mask
Right now having a reusable face mask is absolutely necessary. We don’t know for how long we will be wearing masks, so having a reusable cloth mask is a great addition to your lifestyle. They are super cute and you can find cheap ones on Amazon. If you get a cheap one that may not be as filtered as it should be you can make a face mask filter from coffee filters.
While doing these things may seem small it will add up and really mean a lot. It is so important to lower our plastic waste. People aren’t aware of what they can do or turn a blind eye to articles like this because they aren’t ready to “commit”. But doing these things hardly takes much effort and will make you feel awesome about doing your part to help the world. I highly recommend implementing ONE of these small changes in your life. Start small and then eventually you could start doing more. Just remember that every small thing matters!