Plastics are harmful to the environment — there’s no doubt about it. They aren’t biodegradable; they’re simply broken into smaller plastic pieces and, eventually, plastic particles. Next thing you know, wildlife is ingesting them and entire species are being threatened. They can also end up at sea, trapping helpless marine life. What else? Well, they burn fossil fuels and release pollutants when being manufactured, contributing to global warming. In this article, I’ll look at various ways to eliminate plastics from your life, from giving up bottled water to using green bags for grocery shopping.
Stop drinking bottled water
Think about — it’s a waste of money anyway! Why on Earth do we insist on continuing to pay for something which we can get for free wherever we go? Okay, granted — some people like their water cold, but this is a luxury you can afford to go without. Do away with the bottles and you’ll be doing untold amounts of good for the environment. Chill a couple of reusable aluminium or stainless steel water bottles each night. If you’re offered a drink as part of a meal, opt to take it in a paper cup or choose an aluminium can.
Buy fresh bread from the bakery
Most of us buy bread on a daily to weekly basis, and most of these breads are stored in plastic packaging, bound together by plastic clips. Here’s an idea — support your local bakery! Buy your bread from them instead of the packaged alternatives you can get from the grocery store. Go on, do it — it’ll be the best thing since, well, sliced bread. Make sure they serve it to you in a paper bag though, otherwise the whole exercise is null and void.
Eliminate frozen foods
Spend a little less time in the frozen food section and a little more time in the fresh produce section of your supermarket and you’ll go a long way to eliminating plastic from your life. Yes, yes, I know — frozen foods are convenient — but no one said this was going to be a walk in the park. However, there’s no doubt that fresh fruit and vegetables taste a whole lot better than their packaged alternatives, so you’ll get that benefit, as well as doing untold amounts of good for the environment.
Avoid buying CDs and DVDs
Guess what CDs and DVDs are made out of? You guessed it — plastic! Now, guess what MP3s and AVI files are made of? Uh… I don’t know either… but it most certainly won’t harm the environment. If the accessibility, convenience and cost of purchasing your music and movies online isn’t reason enough for you to jump on the downloading bandwagon, then perhaps the fact that you’ll be saving the environment from the harmful effects of plastics will. Remember, however, not to download copyrighted files without paying — it’s not so much harmful the environment, but it is illegal.
Stop using plastic bags
You’ve seen them in grocery stores, you’ve accepted them in the form of promotional bags from a range of businesses, and you probably have at least one or two of them lying around your house. They’re called reusable bags, and it’s time you started using them to begin with. Many supermarkets are making the transition from plastic bags to reusable bags anyway — in South Australia, for example, plastic shopping bags have been completely banned. These green bags are often made from jute, a biodegradable and compostable natural fibre which also has incredible strength and durability.