Reducing Single Use Plastics March 05 2018
This post was supposed to be only about single use plastics and how we as humans need to start moving away from them and other petroleum based products. I am talking about straws, packaging for drinks and food, packaging in general, and Styrofoam, or polystyrene products. But then I went down a worm hole. I went to 5gyres.org and started learning how big of a problem plastic is.
These are the main ones:
1. Polystyrene: “better known as "Styrofoam"—are plastics made from styrene, a known animal carcinogen” (5Gyres).
2. Mirocbeads: Tiny pieces of plastic that come from face wash, hand soaps, and other skin care products used for exfoliation. They are too small to be filtered out and then end up in the water table.
3. Plastic Fashion: Acrylic, polyester, nylon, spandex, materials made from recycled plastic waste (PET- Polyethylene Terephthalate). Clothing made from “synthetic materials don’t biodegrade. In addition, many micofibers are treated with flame retardants like PCBs, which are endocrine disruptors”. (5Gyres).
4. Plastic Bottles: These are everywhere.
5. Plastic Straws: We use about 500 million a day. (5Gyres)
6. Plastic Bags: Let me just share this horrifying statement with you; “12 minutes. That’s the average amount of time a plastic bag is used. Yet plastic bags impact our environment—and our health—for decades. That’s because globally, one million single-use plastic bags are used every minute and only one percent of plastic bags are recycled each year. Yet the world’s manufacturers make as many as five trillion plastic bags annually. That means that each year, as many as 4 trillion, 950 billion plastic bags are trashed. Many end up in our ocean where they can harm animals and the ecosystem.” (5Gyres).
7. Balloons: This one makes me especially sad. I love balloons. But they are bad for our Earth. They are usually made from latex or mylar.
What a bummer. All of it. I look around our planet and see pollution everywhere. Its in our forests, on our roads, in our rivers and our oceans. Micro plastics are in our food chain in ways we are just starting to discover. There are giant floating plastic “islands” in the oceans. I can’t remember a road trip, hike, or fishing trip that didn’t involve picking up trash along the way.
Living in Montana can be frustrating when it comes to the topic of recycling. Most of my friends don’t recycle anything at all. It all goes in the trash or down the drain. There is no glass recycled that is offered. And the recycling centers are often used incorrectly and are kind of disorganized and dirty. I am privileged enough to live in a house that requires you to recycle as much as possible. I don’t have to pay for this service, it is included in my rent. I know I am lucky to be able to put my clean recyclables into a bin and have them disappear.
It is hard not to feel depressed after reading about all the plastic pollution that humans have created and then thrown away. There are small ways to help reduce plastic pollution. And there are companies all of the world working hard to combat this problem. There is an awesome organization; called the Rozalia Project-
http://rozaliaproject.org/ - these folks are committed to working on marine pollution from many different angles. There is a German company, Guppy Friend, who has made a washing bag designed to remove microfibers from the water system. You can purchase one through Patagonia -
I also work for a company, The Green Light (hi, its me, the Manager, just promoting my store), which sells a multitude of products that help reduce plastic pollution.
These are some of the brands The Green Light carries that I am particularly proud of.
Klean Kanteen- stainless steel water bottles and staws. https://www.kleankanteen.com/
Bees Wrap- An alternative to plastic wrap and bags for food storage. https://www.beeswrap.com/
To Go Ware- Bamboo utensils and reusable food containers. https://to-goware.com/
RePlay- Kids dishes made out recycled milk cartons. https://re-play.com/
Chico Bag- reusable bags and produce bags. https://www.chicobag.com/
Envirosax- Reusable shopping and tote bags. http://envirosax.com/
Full Circle- Responsibly made house cleaning supplies. https://fullcirclehome.com/
Please check out the 5Gyres website and learn for yourself. They also have an awesome instragram account. And whether you shop with us, online, or at another store, please try and remember to purchase products that help reduce waste. Not create more.