I love being informed as a consumer and as a parent. My husband and I quite often watch documentaries. We love to think outside of what our government and society is programming us to believe. Most of what we are taught is untrue. We as consumers need to start looking at things instead of just taking them as fact.
I just finished watching a documentary on plastic called “Bag It” by Reel Thing Film. Great video, I learned some things that I didn’t already know about plastic and things I should think more about that I don’t already.
Why make the change:Plastic is made from fossil fuels, which is a non-renewable source. Once they are gone there isn’t anymore of it.
In the United States we go through 1 million plastic bags per minute.
Many countries have banned ultra thin plastic bags. In San Francisco, they decided to do that as well and charge for plastic bag use. But the American Chemistry Council, (who is a promoter for plastics), quietly pushed through a law not allowing businesses to access a fee for plastic bag use. Because if given the choice to bring your own or be charged for each bag, most consumers would not pay for the bags. Government knew a good way to stop that and they did!
So what is better paper or plastic? If given a choice paper bags are 10 times more likely to get recycled than plastic bags.
They also talked about disposables. Why are we making something like say a disposable coffee cup, that we are going to use for maybe 20 minutes and then throw it away? Especially when that item was made from a non-renewable source, and it took thousands of years to make. Plus if that coffee cup was made with styrofoam it is going to be around forever.
300 million disposable coffee cups per day are used.
1 million plastic cups used on airplane flights in 6 hours.
60,000 plastic bags consumed in the US every 5 seconds.
Recycling…something to look into, another big marketing scam from plastics companies.
That little continuous triangle that is put on all of our plastic containers, does not mean that they container is recyclable. Another good marketing trick for the consumers. The only ones that are recyclable have a #1 or #2 in them. Most items giving to the recycling center gets thrown back into landfills because they can’t recycle them.
There is more plastic produced from 2000-2010 then the entire 1900′s.
Most all of the plastic eventually goes from landfills and gets into our water system which ultimately ends up in our oceans.
Do a google search on North Pacific gyre. It is one of many huge garbage patches out in the middle of the ocean. It isn’t so much big chunks of plastic that can be cleaned up, it is plastic that has been broken down into smaller chunks and it is just floating in masses out in the water.
There are many beaches that are just covered in tiny bits of plastic from all of the garbage that gets washed ashore. Hawaii is one of them. Do some searching on your own, it is there just not readily available.
The damage it is doing to our wildlife is dangerous as well. Most of the dead animals that they do autopsies on having numerous plastic items inside their stomachs. It would be like us having our bowl of cereal for breakfast plus a handful of styrofoam peanuts. Yuck!
There are many dangers to plastic as well. BPA and phylates have been in the media lately and thankfully some have been removed from items. But not completely. Chemical use in products in America is innocent until proven guilty that they are dangerous to humans. In other countries it is the opposite, they have the consumers interest in mind verse their paychecks.
How to make the change:
So what can we do as consumers?
- Cut way back on single item purchases, like snack sized items.
- Don’t drink bottled water.
- Buy things with less packaging.
- Buy things used.
- Bring your own containers.
- Buy less stuff.
- Simplify your life.
Sometimes the best things to do are to rethink the way you do things. Our grandparents never had plastics and they did just fine in life. We just need to get creative in the way that we do things. Think plain and simplify.
Are you up for the challenge this week? Try and go all week without using a disposable plastic or paper product. If you are going to be reusing them like a plastic bag that you will wash out, then that is okay. But try and not use any that will be put in the trash for waste. It will be hard. But a little bit of cutting back is much better than none at all.