Strong, durable, light and not so expensive; those are just some of many advantages of plastic, and also reasons why we are facing a plastic crisis in the last decade. Thanks to all the good qualities of this material it is used in a very wide range of goods. But, extremely slow to decompose, plastic is also staying behind. We, obsessed with plastic, unable to recycle it properly, and with a tendency to pollute, created plastic apocalypse threatening to swallow our Blue Planet.
Unfortunately, we are champions in being blind if we need to. So we were blatantly sightless to the increasing amount of plastic appearing all over the world. And we kept walking around thinking I didn’t throw this plastic bottle here, others are so messy! Why can’t they just throw it in the bin like every normal person? Well, even if you did throw your bottle in a bin, it could still end up on the beach, in the river or in the middle of the ocean.
We like plastic so much because it is durable. That is a double-edged sword, its superpower, and our doom. Plastic is impossible to break down by natural biodegradation processes but it will eventually be broken down by the sun, i.e. photodegrade. Eureka! So we can get rid of it! We just need to wait long enough for the sun to do its job. Well, no. Even though the plastic can be broken down to the molecular level, it is still plastic. No matter how small pieces, it is still there. And that is even more dangerous. Because now we can’t even see the threat. And it’s in the water, therefore, in the animals we are eating. It is in us already.
It all comes back to us
We have a problem. Unfortunately, there are still people keeping up their blind game. This disaster seems too difficult to deal with. Impossible even. But in the end, all we need is one little change in everyone. And I don’t necessarily mean just individuals. Also companies, and governments. We need to make our planet, hour home, and our health our priority. Not just money.
It all works in a circle. Only in the USA, the consumption of plastic bags is huge. And most of it is not recycled. Well, it is not so usual to get a free plastic bag while shopping around the world. For example, in Europe or China, you have to pay for them. And guess what, we all bring our own reusable bags for groceries. It is working in even in San Francisco, why not everywhere else? And it is not just pollution from plastic, it is also resources needed for making it. Just imagine how much oil would we save! Only in the US, they would save 12 million gallons of oil every year. In Ireland, they put a big tax on plastic. Its usage dropped by 90% and the tax money was put into recycling programs. That is the way to go!
Finding the positive
It is bad. We have many problems to deal with. But let’s try to see the bright side, shall we? This is a big opportunity for innovation! We have the ability to come up with new solutions, new approaches, technologies, and goods.
If you cannot imagine your drink without a straw but you are against using plastic ones, try bamboo, glass, steel or paper ones.
Reusable shopping bags
You can buy friendlier reusable and recyclable plastic bags or bags made from fabric. Paper bags or bags especially made from recycled material. So many options!
Drink coffee from your cup
You can not imagine a morning without Starbuck? No problem, just ask them to make your drink into your own cup! I can’t really imagine many places that would refuse to do so. In some, you will even get a discount, because those portable cups cost something too.
Eco-friendly sustainable clothes
It is not only about straws and bags. It is also about clothes and shoes. Try to do some research. Buy high-quality items that will survive longer. You can buy clothes made from recycled materials too.
Stop buying those plastic bottles over and over again. Just invest in something durable. The material is up to you, there are many options out there! And they look good too.
It maybe does not seem so important, but try to count how many toothbrushes have you used so far. I bet it is a really high number. Make sure that your toothbrush is from recycled materials, or buy wooden, bamboo or maybe aluminum one.
I am not saying that those ideas itself will solve our plastic problem. Also, there are other things to take into account, like water consumption and carbon pollution. In general, I would say it would not be the greatest idea to, for example, replace all plastic bags with paper ones because we would need a lot of water and trees to make them… It is important to see not just cutting plastic usage but also the impact of the products we are choosing to use instead. But I guess that’s the part of the problem. It is not perfected, just a little better than plastic.