Plastic-Free World – Is it possible?

As we enter another year of the plastic free movement in July, I am surprised that through grassroots initiatives and government policies, the world is slowly on the path of enlightenment and progress. Reading news about single-use plastic bans around the world brings a heartwarming and hopeful step towards the right future. For instance, Canada plans to ban single use plastics manufacturing and importing by end of this year, and by 2025 the entire single use ban prohibits the sale of and export of such products. These efforts alone estimates to eliminate more than 1.3 Million tons of plastic waste around the world. Other countries in Asia such as China, India, and Japan also promises to ban single-use plastics within the next 10 years. And California was one of the first states in the US to ban single-use plastic bags in retail stores and just last year, the ban on single-use plastic straws served in public places.

When you think about how other countries in Europe and Asia are moving away from the single-use plastics addiction, we can easily compare the standard of living to the US. Is it because we are too addicted to convenience and the ease of just picking up a bag of chips at the grocery store? We all fall victim to it. To the comfort of knowing that we can buy practically anything in grocery stores in the US. But is it right to be so easily seduced by this kind of convenience?

 

Whether or not we choose to buy things because of convenience or need or both, we must all take a look at why we are making such purchases. Sometimes when I’m at the supermarket picking out fresh fruits, I see packaged fruits sitting perfectly complacent next to freestanding fruits. Why are some of the same fruits packaged while others are not? They were the exact same organic apples albeit a different brand. Are we so accustomed to just picking up a prepackaged bag of fruit, tossing it into our carts instead of taking the time to pick out the ones we actually want? Wouldn’t it be both fun and beneficial to the environment to be able to pick out your own fruits rather than have the store decide that factor for us? While the world governs almost every aspect of our consumer lives, it has become a double edged sword. On one hand, we have become accustomed to the convenience of a Starbucks Iced Mocha served in a single-use plastic container instead of making the drink at home. On the other hand, because society has made convenience a lazy route to the standard of living, how do we branch away from buying things that are so inconveniently packaged? And you’ll know what I’m referring to when it takes more than the usual effort to open up a bag of chips or a plastic water bottle. Essentially, a waste of time and a waste of plastic.

Before I dive even further down the rabbit hole of single-use plastics, one thing we can think upon is how to reduce the use of them. Is it convenient to buy a bag of chips rather than make our own at home? Well, yes, of course. But is it necessarily healthier? Making our own potato snacks means less ingredients to ponder about and less waste for sure. So in the long run, reducing plastic use also enhances our own health and well being. And I’m not even talking about how those microplastics can end up inside our bodies each time we eat something that comes in a plastic container. But wait, you might think – I don’t know how to make potato chips! Well, neither do I but I could also skip a bag of chips when I’m grocery shopping and instead, eat something much healthier like fresh fruits or vegetables. If you can regularly correlate good health with convenience of food, then you can slowly get on the path of reducing the need to buy products in plastic containers.

So how do we reduce single-use plastics dependency? Let’s start with a few easy steps that you can make a conscious effort to change.

Steps to reduce single-use plastics:

  • Choose loose fruits and vegetables rather than prepackaged ones.

  • Choose healthier homemade snacks or buy bulk. Homemade snacks can include sliced seasonal fruits and vegetables, cookies, granola, and anything that you can set your skills to or improve upon.

  • Refuse takeout containers that are in Styrofoam and plastic. Even better, order food that you will only eat at the restaurant or bring your own containers. In certain parts of the world, people easily incorporate this habit when they’re eating out.

  • Store food in reusable containers. Glass and aluminum are the best materials as they last a long time and are easily recyclable and reusable.

  • Drink tea using loose tea leaves instead of tea bags. Most tea bags are not compostable as they might claim. Loose tea leaves are often packaged in elegant aluminum containers or whimsical cardboard boxes.

  • Make your own coffee and fancy coffee beverages at home. Better yet, most coffee places will allow you to bring your own cup. Or take some time to sit at the coffee shop and enjoy beverages with their own cups.

  • Skip the straw while you’re outside. At home, you can use your own glass or stainless steel straws. Unless there is a real need for plastic straws, try not to use them or request them.

  • Skip the use of plastic trash bags. I know it might sound yucky, but you really can use a paper bag to line your kitchen trash cans.

  • Choose plastic free beauty products. More and more companies are jumping on the plastic free bandwagon. Make sure these companies offer a take-back program of their containers where they can reuse the containers for future products. Check out Plaine Products and their goals to reduce single-use plastics: https://www.plaineproducts.com/ref/Suzan%20C./

  • Do a home and business audit on how much waste is accumulated. Check out Plastic Free July’s tips on how to do this: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/get-involved/what-you-can-do/bin-audit/?mc_cid=f1fa6fff3d&mc_eid=594b2f4046

  • Choose food products in recyclable or reusable packaging. While not all packaging materials can be easily recycled, try to buy these products packaged in paper, aluminum, or glass.

  • When vacationing, try to apply these same techniques, especially if certain areas you’re visiting has completely banned the use of single-use plastics.

These may seem like easy and simple tasks, but it takes one step at a time, especially if you’re new or not too keen on reducing plastic use. Soon, you’ll be on the path to improving your health, mentality, and the planet. The point isn’t to feel guilty if you went on a plastic binge or if you never thought of reducing single-use plastics. The goal is to be more aware of your purchasing decisions and where and how you use single-use plastics.

***For some great tips and information on Plastic-free July, visit their website:

https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

*Images courtesy of Plastic Free July

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

10 Easy Ways to Help Your Kids be More Plastic Free – Plastic Free July Month

If you’re reading this, then maybe you’re wondering what the title of this article really means. It sounds almost contradictive – how can kids be waste free? Aren’t they notorious for leaving LEGO on the floor or begging for a snack one minute then turn their noses up the next? How can the capricious moods of children make a difference when it comes to reducing waste?

The term “zero waste” is really a philosophy that started decades ago in an effort to make the world more aware of product consumption. Purchasing something just because you think you have to have it has contributed to overabundance of things in our lives that we don’t really need. But we can teach our children (and perhaps ourselves) that consumerism leads to lots of waste in our lives. These waste, such as single use plastics, end up in our pollution waste stream.

We can teach our kids to reduce waste and maybe eventually, when they become more experienced, to eliminate the need for single-use plastics overall. Below I’ve listed 10 steps you can take to help reduce plastic waste and learn to Live a Life Less Plastic!

1- Buy consciously. Think about how many times you’re going to use that product. If it’s a plastic sandwich bag, skip it and buy reusable bags such as ones made from silicone, paper, or a stronger plastic that will last for many years. Paper sandwich bags are great in that they will break down when wet and can be disposed into your recycling bin. Try Lunchskins – they’re durable and reusable(https://www.lunchskins.com) *right now if you sign up for their SMS program you’ll get 30% off!

2 – Use natural materials. Natural materials and materials that are sustainable include bamboo, organic cotton, wood, and glass. Natural materials are a lot safer for children as they are usually manufactured without toxic by-products.

3 – Bring your own lunch containers. There are tons of cool looking lunch containers for your kids. Best materials are stainless steel and glass.

4 – Reusable straws. Reusable straws are great for reducing plastic waste. Reusable straws can be stainless steel, glass, or made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, wheat, and non-gmo corn.

5 – Reusable beverage bottles. You can find reusable bottles almost anywhere. Pick some up made from stainless steel, glass, or BPA and lead free plastic.

6 – Bring your own utensils. When packing lunch for your child, be sure to pack reusable utensils. They can easily put their used utensils back into their lunch bags/containers to bring home.

7 – Look at brands and websites that offer sustainable products. Check out websites such as this for ideas: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/8-simple-ways-reduce-your-plastic-use-ncna984396

8- Upcycle. Upcycling is a fun and clever way of turning something old into something new and delightful. What happens if you’re tired of your old shoes? Turn them into planters! And those plastic laundry containers? They’re truly such a waste especially when you’re constantly doing laundry. But you can turn them into planters as well, or upcycle them into holders for your magazines, coloring pencils, toys…there are endless ways! 

9 – Look to support brands that care for the environment and provide products and services that benefit our planet instead of adding more destruction. Try brands such as: EC30 (https://ec30clean.com/) which promises that no plastics are used in the production of their products as well as lower emissions, and Plaine Products (https://www.plaineproducts.com/ref/Suzan%20C./) which uses natural ingredients, aluminum packaging, and a subscription service where you can return your bottles for refills. Use discount code: HappyMom to get 20% off total purchase!

10 – Switch to non-plastic products slowly. You might feel at a loss in how to reduce your plastic use. You don’t have to throw away all of your single-use plastics or plastic containers just to buy sustainable ones. Use them up as much as possible, or donate them, and then slowly integrate sustainable materials such as glass, aluminum, and wood. Better yet, the next time you buy something at the grocery store, look only for sustainably made containers which you can use infinitely.

Depending on the age of your children, these are all fairly easy for them to try. You can even ask your children for ideas on how to be less wasteful and to reduce plastic use. Most importantly, make it fun and make it worthwhile.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

*photo of Goby Fish in India