15 Jan Plastic ain’t so fantastic
People get up in arms about oil spills destroying our oceans but do not bat an eyelid when they make conscious decisions to buy plastic bottles, shampoo, individually packaged items that are heavy in packaging. And I honestly think that it’s because people don’t really associate their Herbal Essences with sad turtles in the ocean. Once you open your eyes to the amount of waste we produce on a daily basis, you (hopefully) will commit to making drastic changes in your lifestyle.
Our planet is worth it. It is naïve to assume that we can sustain this type of harmful lifestyle and expect our children to inherit a planet that will be functional. We are slowly harming our planet with every decision we make, and it is time to start incorporating the environment into those decisions.
There are a few reasons why it is so important to reduce our plastic footprint:
- Not all plastic is recyclable – there is a massive variety of different plastic and they are often used for completely different things, meaning a lot of plastic is simply discarded
- Recycling is great – but it is an energy intensive process, and often the energy used to recycle plastics comes from fossil fuels.
- Plastic that is not recycled ends up in landfills, and often times ends up on shorelines, which eventually means that huge amounts of plastic pollution are ending up in our oceans. From there, currents carry this litter huge distances away from where it was discarded. In fact, there is a place in the ocean where currents converge and there is simply a huge swirling mess of plastic products. It is called the Pacific Garbage Patch – and there is more information about it here.
- Plastic is bad for human health – you may have seen products that advertise themselves as being ‘BPA free’. Why does this matter? Bisphenol-A, a commonly used chemical in plastics, are causing concern about researchers who are beginning to investigate possible side effects to exposure to BPA. Plastic hasn’t been around for long enough to conclusively determine the long-term impacts of BPA on our bodies, but there are studies that link BPA exposure to disrupted hormone levels, cancer, heart problems… The list goes on.
Let’s be clear – plastic has been an incredibly useful creation of our time. The invention has revolutionised technology, improved hygiene in the medical field and improved convenience. Originally, plastic was praised for being a solution to pressure on natural supplies on materials like ivory – it was seen as a way to be environmentally friendly. Plastic is great, our use of it is not. We have become addicted to it – using throwaway bottles, single-use packaging of food, using three straws on a drink, picking up plastic bags every time we make a trip to the store.. The list goes on and on.
The biggest obstacle to most people looking to live a more environmentally friendly life is the mental block – like any habit, it needs conscious thought to do at first. Now, I don’t even think to take a cloth bag when I go to the store, but it wasn’t always like that! Don’t be hard on yourself – it’s just about encouraging positive habits.