“Plastics are bad but it’s impossible to avoid them completely”. This is my conclusion after 30 days of staying away from plastics. I was almost rebellious when I was refusing to use plastic materials for the past month. However, I have to admit I have violated my rules more than once.
Within the past month, I was served plastic straws two times with my drinks, used four plastic garbage bags for throwing away my ‘wet’ garbage, purchased shaving foam which comes with a plastic cap, ate a chocolate bar which comes in a plastic-aluminum wrapper, bought a 5-liter vinyl water bottle for my road trip to Los Angeles to share with 3 friends, and despite all my efforts I was served with a plastic fork and knife one time at a restaurant during my lunch break.
When I look at my ‘plastic crime’ list, it is obvious that I wasn’t even close to being successful. However, I was amazed by how much I can reduce my plastic consumption. I am proud to say that I stayed away from plastic bottles, plastic cups and containers for a total of 30 days; and fortunately it was not difficult at all.
Every time I went grocery shopping, I brought my own shopping bag so that I wouldn’t purchase extra plastic bags. I reused the plastic products that I already possess, including the plastic zipper bags. I washed them so that I could reuse them. By just staying away from plastic bottles, containers and bags, I consumed less than 0.2 kg of plastic this month. That’s quite a successful reduction considering that the national average for many developed countries falls between 7-20 kg of plastic per month.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to calculate the amount of plastics that I use by owning a computer, a telephone, sunglasses or polyester fabric clothes. It’s obvious that I am living in a world of plastics and humankind has underestimated the environmental danger of plastics. I share the TED presentation of Charles Moore who explains once again the ocean debris caused by plastics.
I am glad that I have gone through this learning process so that I know that it’s really easy to pay attention to the unnecessary items we may purchase daily. Consuming smart is cheap, clean and it feels great! Although insignificant, I have made a positive impact to the environment by talking and writing about my 30-day-anti-plastic attempt which now turned into my life style.
As the last word:
Think twice when you have to purchase plastic bottles, containers or bags. Remember that 9 out of 10 of the plastic materials that you purchase, are not going to be recycled and will exist longer than your own life!
photo credit: whitecat singapore