We are addicted to disposable plastic trash. It is a problematic pollutant in our societies that is solve-able with effort. It is great to see more governments banning or adding a tax on disposable shopping bags: http://www.bigfatbags.co.uk/bans-taxes-charges-plastic-bags/
France is trying to be free of plastic cutlery/tableware by 2020. San Francisco has already banned selling plastic water bottles and am sure there are more initiatives in our world.
The plastic chain
– we continually put it down our waterways with micro-beads
– we throw it away believing it is no longer our responsibility or we think we are doing good by recycling plastic
– recycled plastic eventually ends up in our environment. An example: Fleece is plastic. Fibers from fleece wash into our waterways and our animals are consuming those micro-plastic particles.
– local governments may or may not dispose of it correctly…too many illegally dump
– animals eat it, plants absorb it causing problems to other animals
– ….and we eat it causing a number of problems to ourselves.
But with a bit of effort we can change our habits. If you want to support the Tyre Lady, start by reducing the amount of plastic you use. Here are the challenges:
Level 1 Challenge: Refuse single use plastic by bringing your own:
- Plate and cutlery to canteens and parties that serve plastic
- Cup as many places serve plastic.
- Cloth bag
- Reusable water bottle
Refuse to purchase or accept items that will be sold in plastic (such as those served from drink dispensing machines).
Refuse products that contain micro-beads. For a list of those products see here: http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/product-lists/
Level 2 Challenge: Reuse & Refuse
- For bin liners consider reusing the empty plastic food bags if you purchase foods with plastic packaging.
- If you are at this level, then consider finding places that require you to BYO “packaging” to reduce plastic food packaging. This is a great article for those wanting to “kick the plastic habit” https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/shop-without-excess-packaging/ and there are shops (though rare) that sell goods in zero packaging. The web is your friend to find these places 🙂
- 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)
For people with babies – consider elimination communication to ditch the nappies, save money and have a closer relationship with your child 🙂
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.