Plastic pollution – it’s everywhere you turn. And we’re not just talking about the pollution on the ground. That’s important too, but we’re talking about worldwide plastic use and disposal.
But you (yes, YOU!) can make a difference through simple practices, zero–waste products, and ultimately working towards a zero-waste lifestyle.
Here are the top 5 reasons you should give up plastic immediately.
Landfills Are Full of Plastic Waste and Running Out of Room.
One of the biggest culprits in our plastic pollution causes?
The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
It’s a hazardous approach to take with landfills because we need to stop plastic pollution before it’s too late.
In 2018 the United States produced 292.4 million tons of waste. That’s equivalent to 4.9 pounds per person per day! And only 32.1% of that waste was recycled or composted.
(Here’s an important time to note – to create less waste, you can reduce, reuse or repurpose items, and even create a DIY compost instead of sending it to the landfill.)
Plastics accounted for over 18% of all the waste produced in 2018. This may sound small, but imagine the scale here – 18% of almost 3 million tons of waste is a LOT. And while there are new innovations for disposing of trash, it’s not enough to depend on.
One of the most significant issues with landfills – they leak methane, which is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide and contributes to global warming.
There are much simpler, less costly solutions for plastic pollution like living a plastic-free lifestyle and purchasing zero-waste products.
Scientists and climate activists have been hard at work for decades trying to find a way to dispose of plastic pollution. They’ve even discovered a worm that eats plastic!
…But as you might guess, there aren’t enough worms to eat away our plastic pollution problem.
While discoveries like these are helpful, even these scientists agree – one of the best immediate plastic pollution solutions is to use less plastic.
Plastic Pollution in the Ocean is Destroying Our Ecosystem.
Plastic pollution in the ocean is growing by the minute. We need to eliminate (or at the very least reduce) our plastic use. The ocean is critical to our survival as humans, even if we don’t realize it.
Plastic pollution in the ocean is expected to outweigh the fish in the sea by 2050. And each year, 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans.
Much of that waste is from single-use plastics and microfibers that get washed off our clothes. Once plastic pollution is in the ocean, it gets broken down by the sun and waves – creating microplastics… that end up in our food sources.
We’re literally eating the trash we throw out…
To make matters worse, much of the plastic pollution in the ocean is invisible to the naked eye. As you can imagine, this creates an even larger problem with convincing the public when the ocean “looks” clean.
And even when plastic in the ocean eventually breaks down (after 400+ years), it releases harmful chemicals into the ocean, which is why we’ve got to stop letting plastics into our oceans.
Plastic pollution in the ocean is everyone’s problem to solve.
Our Recycling System is Broken. It’s Not a Solution for Plastic Pollution.
You’ve probably seen the stat plenty of times: Only 9% of recyclables make it through the recycling system.
Want another dose of hard truth? We don’t even recycle most of our plastic here in the U.S. Instead, we spend money and precious natural resources to transport our recyclables overseas to other countries.
What’s worse is we know these countries poorly handle recycling and have no standards. Yet we send them there anyway. And most of the plastic sent overseas is thrown away!!
There are a lot of complicated issues with people not understanding the recycling system, not paying attention, or not receiving communication and support from local governments.
Check out our blog to learn why recycling isn’t the answer anymore.
A Plastic-Free Lifestyle Means Less Stuff and More Happiness.
Here’s a perk: Cutting plastic out of your life means less waste and a simpler lifestyle that’s easier to manage. When you have less stuff, you have less stress.
Plus, most of the wasteful items we use involve plastic. Removing plastic from your routine could also eliminate the majority of your waste, period.
There have been studies proving how materialism affects your well-being and health. When you switch to a less wasteful lifestyle, utilizing reusable and zero-waste products, you find you don’t actually need all those things.
Try it out. It’s incredibly satisfying!
Animals Are Suffering From Plastic Pollution Everywhere.
The need for solutions for plastic pollution isn’t only for our ecosystem. And it’s not just for us. We need a solution to plastic pollution for the animals who can’t help themselves.
As you know, plastic pollution in the ocean is destroying habitats. It’s causing animals to ingest and get tangled in plastic. But it’s not just ocean animals, though that’s often the focus.
Land-based animals, including elephants, hyenas, zebras, tigers, camels, cattle, and other large mammals, are affected by our plastic waste too. These land animals are also vulnerable to choking, ingesting, being trapped, or being poisoned by plastic in their digestive systems. In some cases, it even causes death.
According to National Geographic, nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics.
And nearly every species of seabird eats plastics, which expands in their stomach and they starve to death.
It’s our responsibility to protect the incredible creatures that roam our planet.
How You Can Create Change in the Plastic Epidemic
It can feel impossible with depressing statistics and an overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done. But here’s the thing: that’s the exact mindset that plastic producers worldwide depend on. We have to prove them wrong with our choices.
Here are a few simple ways you can contribute to the plastic-free movement.
Choose Mindfulness with Your Actions
It goes a long way to stop and think about your purchases, considering their end-of-life.
Where can you swap out a wasteful item for a sustainable item or a zero-waste product?
Don’t let our “now” culture convince you you need an item before considering its impact.
Boycott Single-Use Plastics & Recyclable Plastics
Yep, even when it’s inconvenient. Especially when it’s inconvenient.
We have to prove we care, or significant changes won’t happen. Make the inconvenient choice to prove your point. It adds up when we all do it.
Choose a Zero-Waste Lifestyle with Plastic-Free Products and Zero-Waste Products
This is the only real solution for plastic pollution. But it can feel overwhelming.
So start small. Here are a few ideas:
→ Bar Soap and a Soap Saver Bag.
A soap bag doubles as a sustainable, plastic-free alternative for a loofah and a handy storage tote for traveling. Oh, and it keeps your bathroom surfaces free of soapy gunk.
→Cellulose Sponges in the Kitchen or for Cleaning.
Cellulose sponges function exactly like a regular sponge, without an ounce of plastic (did you know traditional sponges are made of plastic?).
Even though your cellulose sponge might not have as much scrub power, don’t let that stop you. Keep a zero-waste bamboo scrub brush, coconut scrub pads, or an eco-scrub sponge handy.
You might be surprised to learn that zero-waste products don’t have to be outdated and frustrating to use. In fact, many of them today work just as well as conventional items and are impressively innovative!
Educate Yourself on Plastic Pollution.
Stay sharp. Know what creates waste and don’t fall victim to greenwashing or falsely advertised eco-friendly products.
If you can’t get enough information before making a purchase, that’s usually your answer.
There are plenty of resources and guidance on understanding how your plastic waste is harming the world and how you can do better.
Our Survival Depends on Learning to Waste Less and Reduce Plastic Use.
Have you ever considered that we’ll have no choice but to live with and among our trash when we run out of landfill space? Let’s paint a story:
It’d be like living on a remote island farm where your only food source is the crops you grow.
You just get tired one day, it feels like too much work, even though you know they’re essential to your survival. You keep putting off the most crucial steps – tilling the land and planting the seeds. You’ll just wait it out till next year’s season…
Except you won’t!
You wouldn’t do this – it would be insane to not help yourself if you had the ability to... even if it required some effort. If your life was dependent on it, you’d do the hard work.
You’d make the effort.
This is where many of us fail to realize the deep connection of plastic pollution to our lives. Plastic pollution solutions are not just for the earth – they’re to keep us alive.
It’s all connected.
We have to choose to say no to plastic, go plastic-free and choose zero-waste products!
What zero waste products can you begin to implement in your lifestyle? Shop our products and let us know if you need support on your zero-waste journey.