Today we celebrate World Wildlife Day, created by the United Nations to raise awareness for the need of protecting animals and plants as a worldwide effort. The protection of wildlife must be a common goal responsability, and so we decided to write about the huge impact of plastic on our everyday life as an example of a contribution we can all give for the sake of all of the Earth’s inhabitants.
These last months there have been lots of news, videos, posts, photos and alerts about the use of plastic, its impact on the oceans and how urgent it is to stop this threat to life in our planet.
The truth is we no longer have the option of being passive on the battle against pollution, that starts with the choices we make on a daily basis.
We’ll try to sum up the problem: plastic is a wonderful material, indispensible in several areas, but, on the one hand, we can’t keep wasting it (let’s not forget its origin in petroleum products and energetic costs in its production) and, on the other hand, we must guarantee it is properly treated after becoming rezidue, so it doesn’t end up in the ocean.
When plastic is littered we miss the chance to recycle it, as well as it can easily be taken by rain to a stream, a river and, eventually, the sea. Here, its journey will end on a beach somewhere (where it be picked up) ou will continue to degrade for hundreds of years being eaten by an animal, resulting in its death (we have all seen taunting photos of whales, dolphins, birds and fish stomachs full of trash) ou transforming into microparticles than easily enter the food chain but not so easily get out of it.
Remember plastic never fully degrades – all plastic we have once produced and littered degrades to microparticles that will last for centuries.
Confronted with this dark scenario, we must take responsibility and switch our daily habits.
Although it may sound hard to or even impossible to pursue a Zero Waste lifestyle, there are lots of changes we can do, but we suggest the easiest tips, and that also save money, meaning you can start changing today:
- reusable bags – avoid disposable bags as much as you can, and use strong plastic or cotton bags, rattan baskets and wooden boxes
- disposible dishes – why use something that costs money and can only be used once when you can use the regular ones?
- balloons – we don’t know where helium filled balloons end up when they bust, but we’re willing to bet it won’t be inside a recycling bin
- packaged goods – whenever possible buy produce with as little packaging as possible, in bulk or large quantities
- disposable goods – choose durable products: blades, aluminium or bamboo straws, cloth napkins, dish cloths…
- soap and shampoo – use bars instead of liquid soap and shampoo: they are equally effective, last longer and the packages have a lot less plastic
- mason jars, cans and lunch boxes – avoid plastic wrap and aluminium foil using any of these to carry and store food in your fridge and freezer
- water bottle – carry your own aluminium or reusable plastic bottle (if you’re coming on a tour with us, make sure you read this blog post)
Can you adopt all these suggestions? If you think you can do more, just make a quick internet search to find out how much we can individually do to reduce your ecological footprint. A great place to start is Plastic Pollution Coaltion website.
Above all, always remember this “mantra”:
- Reduce – do I really need to buy this?
- Reuse – before tossing it away, can it be useful for someone else or have a different use?
- Recycle – dispose trash in the proper containers and compost organic waste