Plastic Challenges

AboutPlastic

We are addicted to disposable plastic trash. National Geographic reported of 8.3 billion metric tons of all plastic produced, 6.3 billion metric tons is plastic waste. Of that, only 9% has been recycled. 79% is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter: See https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

But with a bit of effort we can change this by changing our habits. Here are the challenges:

Level 1: REDUCE by BYOR (bring your own reusable):

Use one of the following instead of a disposable. Once you are comfortable carrying one of them in your bag, try more. It is all about creating habits and reducing the amount of disposables we use.

  • Cloth bag (in case you want to purchase stuff)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Cup as many places serve plastic.
  • Plate and cutlery to canteens and parties that serve plastic
  • Take away containers for restaurants
  • Towel – to dry your hands in public bathrooms

Level 2: Reuse & Refuse

REFUSE

Work your way through this list:

REUSE

  • For bin liners consider reusing the empty plastic food bags if you purchase foods with plastic packaging.
  • Freecycle (https://www.freecycle.org/search) stuff
  • Lots on the web for craft and ways to reuse plastic, especially plastic bottles
  • For women – consider “reusable sanitary ware” such as a menstrual cup and/or cotton cloth pads that can be washed (web searches will tell you what you can get locally)

Level 3 Challenge: Repair and Upcycle

  • Learn to fix stuff and upcycle. Lots of resources on the web to show you how.
  • Repair cafes are popping up around the world. The USA and UK have Repair Cafe. Singapore has Repair Kopitiam.

Level 4 Challenge: Request

  • Request the government installs water dispensers in public places like air ports and train stations so that you can fill up your own bottle
  • Request events like marathons to consider encouraging participants to bring their own bottles and provide water dispensers at tables.
  • Request organisations package goods in environmental packaging.

A final on types of packaging as there is confusion between the terms Degrade-able (and some companies mean this but call their packaging bio-degradeable) vs Biodegrade-able vs Compostable: http://green-plastics.net/posts/85/the-difference-between-degradable-biodegradable-and-compostable/

Thank you if you have gone all the way to level 4. Collectively we can make this a better world.

What happened to Recycle? Plastic is a low priority to many municipals around the world. So get this: glass, metal, cardboard has a recycle rate of about 99%; plastic on average around the world has a recycle rate of 10%. That means over 90% of the world’s plastic is landfilled / illegally dumped / incinerated. We can stop this.

Look at what’s in your bin and be responsible for what you throw away.

AboutPlastic

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