Plastic-free solutions, first steps

Living plastic-free seems daunting, perhaps even impossible: plastic is ubiquitous, it’s cheap and rather useful in fact ! handy Ziplock bags, my toothbrush, my phone case, Tupperwares… who wants to get rid of those?

When I think back to the amount of plastic I saw on our Plastic Tides Expedition in Bermuda I’m always motivated to limit my plastic consumption as much as I can, and so should you.

This is a sad reality :

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plastic maize

What about solutions though – what’s the best way to get started in the plastic- free maize?

As you can imagine, single-use plastics are the worst:  they are used once, discarded and often not recycled.  Even if they are recycled, the amount of energy it takes to recycle  hardly makes it worth it. In March I attended a conference at Oxford on the future of our oceans, and scientists confirmed that 50% of the plastic found in the ocean and on the shorelines is single-use plastic.

So let’s begin by eliminating  simple items that can make a HUGE difference

  • plastic water bottles & soda bottles. The water in plastic water bottles isn’t necessarily ‘better’ for you (1/3 of bottled water in the US comes from the TAP!), we all know soda is bad for you,  and plastic leaches from many types of plastic bottles and ends up in your body! So what you thought was better for you might even be worse.

 

  • plastic bags . Please bring your own bag! It’s really not that hard. Besides, plastic bags look like crap when you’re walking down the street. Just think about the turtles
1415967874-turtle-eating-bag

Photo: Sergi Garcia. Photo retrieved from 5gyres.org

  • utensils. Again, huge contributor to plastic pollution in our waterways.

 

~ SOME AWESOME ALTERNATIVES ~

  1. Reusable bottles/ cups, preferably glass or stainless steel. Edible cups are now on the market too !

 

Patagonia provisions stainless steel cups, loliware edible cups, Klean Kanteen reusable bottles…

 

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2. Bring your totes, canvas bags, backpacks to the supermarket ! These are some of my favourite :

Eno bags, Patagonia bags, Trill farm Totes

 

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3. Bring your reusable utensil EVERYWHERE ! Just because some companies are starting to give away compostable utensils and wooden cutlery doesn’t mean these don’t have an environmental footprint. Unless you personally put your compostable fork in a compost bin that goes to an industrial composting facility, it’ll end up in the regular landfill . Wooden utensils still require cutting down trees. My favourite reusable utensils are bamboo utensils , bamboo is a very fast growing grass that is simply a great perennial. And YES edible cutlery exists !

 

Patagonia provisions bamboo utensil set

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Just remember: try to avoid single-use plastics when you can. That’s a great first step into the ‘zero-waste’ world.

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