This time last week (Sunday 22nd April 2018) was Earth Day. But really Earth Day is everyday. I want to share some really simple ways that you can help care for this beautiful planet that we live on. After all there is no planet B.
Earth Day is all about ending plastic pollution, plastic pollution is poisoning our oceans and land, injuring marine life, and affecting our health! If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Plastic is everywhere in our lives and I know how hard it is to avoid it. But you must remember where that plastic ends up and how long it takes to decompose. Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. But plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-1000 years to decompose, while plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.
Here are some really easy things you can do to be more plastic aware and environmentally friendly.
1. Don't buy fruits and vegetables in plastic wrapper or plastic nets. These are completely unnecessary and you can easily buy loose fruit and vegetables. If you really want them wrapped up, invest in a cloth bag which can be reused many many times.
2. Don't buy plastic toothbrushes. There are now so many brands of Bamboo toothbrushes so it is so easy to make this change. You can buy The Humble Toothbrush in all Fresh stores in Dublin but you can also buy them online.
Plastic toothbrushes are made from a combination of plastic (made from crude oil) and rubber for the hand piece, nylon for the bristles, and a mix of plastic and cardboard for the packaging. None of these items are biodegradable, therefore they remain in landfill indefinitely. They might even end up in our oceans and washed up on our beaches or consumed by marine life. If they are burnt, they release a combination of toxic and greenhouse gases.
3. Stop buying plastic bottles of water and other drinks. Invest in a glass or metal bottle and fill up your water either with tap water or filtered water. Many cafes will also be happy to fill up your water.
Some people drink bottled water because they think it is better for them than water out of the tap, but that’s not always true. There is also growing concern that chemicals in the bottles themselves may leak into the water. People love the convenience of bottled water. But maybe if they realized the problems it causes, they would try drinking from a glass at home or carrying water in a refillable steel container instead of plastic.
Disposable Coffee Cups
4. Bring your own cup to coffee shops and cafes instead of using disposable coffee cups. Though they are made largely of paper, disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic polyethylene, which is tightly bonded to the paper making the cups waterproof and therefore able to contain liquid.
In addition, the difficulty of recycling coffee cups is increased by the fact they are contaminated with drink.This means cups cannot be recycled at standard recycling plants. Less than 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled and half a million cups are littered every day.
Instead of using disposable coffee cups, invest in a reusable cup. My favourite is the Keep Cup, I have a glass one but you can also buy plastic ones which are a little cheaper and you can get them in many colours and five different sizes.
5. Please stop using plastic straws. Did you know? Over 500 million plastic straws are used each day in the United States. When you are ordering a drink, simply say "no straw please". If you need a straw, and many people do, you can invest in a bamboo, glass or steel straw and bring it with you. Or use compostable paper straws.
An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate. You might have seen or heard about the video of a turtle with a straw in his nose and he couldn't breath. It was heartbreaking, for those who haven't seen it, you can watch it here.
Here are some other really simple things you can stop using:
- Cotton Buds
- Cling Film
- Plastic Cutlery
- Plastic Stirrers
I found a great plastic pollution calculator online that you might like to try - click here.
I hope some of these tips can help you be more environmentally conscious. Have a wonderful day friends.
Love, Light & Namaste,