Choked up landfills, polluted rivers, dead whales washing up ashore, sea turtles with straws up their noses, thousands of fishes with plastic detritus in their bodies – there are countless insouciant incidents of plastic pollution. We have subjected other living beings to our feckless acts of mindless consumption, justified by the overly marketed term ‘convenience’. We are killing our oceans just to afford ourselves languor.
It is not just the killing and torturing animals of the sea that is a bother: all this plastic in the oceans is finding a way back to us in the form of the fish we eat. Fishes often mistake plastic bits for food and we end up eating the fish, unknowingly consuming plastic ourselves.
Small changes, by a large group of people, can bring out an everlasting positive effect. You can kickstart your goal to go plastic free by making these easy swaps for single-use plastics that have invaded your life.
1. Reusable Bottles & Coffee Flasks
A complete no brainer. If you are on the move often, consider investing in this natty stainless bottle, which will fit snugly in your handbag or backpack. Coffee lovers, you wont be able to say no to these dapper steel mugs!
2. Compostable Trash Bags
Each home uses plastic to line up the inside of their trash cans. What we don’t know is that these bags are often made of the lowest-quality plastic which cannot even be recycled. Its fate is to land in a dump yard. Thankfully, there has been plenty of innovation on this field, and now we can use liners made of compostable plant fibers. Compostable bags must be composted after they are used. They do not degrade in a landfill or marine environment and should at all costs be kept from reaching them.
3. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Billions of toothbrushes are disposed of each year – all made of plastic. Like every other plastic product, they often find their way into the oceans. An extremely easy to swap option is a toothbrush made of bamboo. Bamboo is fast becoming popular as a highly sustainable material. It grows rapidly, is fairly low-maintains and absorbs CO2 in the atmosphere. When choosing a bamboo toothbrush, make sure you buy one which has bristles also made of biodegradable fibres. We recommend this one.
4. Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups have (surprisingly) taken the world by storm. Women completely love wearing menstrual cups in place of the traditional sanitary pad. It’s not only reusable, (hence saves tonnes of menstrual plastic from reaching landfills), but is also known to cause fewer allergies. Unlike a pad, they are not lined with synthetic fibres laced with artificial fragrances or contain BPA, latex or phthalates. Most often they are made from health grade silicone which is the safest you can use. You may also like sea sponges, which act like a tampon and a fair few women completely swear by it.
5. Beeswax Food Wrap
Beeswax wrap is one of the cutest eco-inventions. A perfect alternative to plastic cling wrap, they are often made of cotton lined with beeswax, tree resin and oils which makes it easy to cling around bowls, boxes, fruits and veggies and keeps them fresh. They are highly reusable and washable and come in the prettiest of designs. We recommend this one which comes with a tie-around string.
6. Cloth Grocery & Shopping Bags
An old warcry, but not one that can be forgotten. Reusable bags help us steer clear of the unfriendly polyethene carry bags which are at the forefront of plastic pollution. However, a highly important piece of information that no one tells us is that treating cloth bags as disposable is even worse than plastic bags. The carbon footprint of water-intensive cotton is ridiculously high. Bottomline – REUSE. Whatever bag you choose to buy, buy such that it lasts you a lifetime. Here are some you would definitely be tempted to keep forever.
Lastly, just say a big NO to straws and stirrers. Unless you have a medical condition, straw has absolutely no benefit to our lives. On the contrary, doctors advice against the use of the straw as it can lead to excessive intake of gas cause flatulence.