Last month we saw this trend on social media with the hashtag #PlasticfreeJuly. Many people and organizations came forward and supported the move with alternatives and reasons to eliminate plastic forever from life. It was a wonderful initiative, supported by millions worldwide. The only problem is that why have just a month dedicated to such an important problem of the planet? Why can’t we push and encourage more people to bring this lifestyle change and make this planet greener?
Take a walk in your locality and you can find at least 10 different kinds of single-use or limited use plastic products within 10 minutes. Ranging from take-out containers to toothpaste tubes, kids’ toys to lawn chairs – most of these products are used once or a few times before they are thrown into trash to occupy precious space in a landfill for an indefinite period of time. There is a common misconception that it is ok to buy plastic products because they can be recycled. Here is the truth – Not all plastics can be recycled.
Using plastics that are already recycled or can be recycled further are certainly better than single-use plastics. But that doesn’t mean it is a good idea in the long run. It is a bridge between moving from a plastic-filled world to a plastic-free world. The ultimate goal is to avoid them completely and adopt alternative, sustainable options like reusables, wooden, cloth, bamboo items.
Going plastic-free is a change in lifestyle that carries a surprising feel-good factor with it. The best part about it is that there are ways to start small and grow as we move further along. With more and more innovative and sustainable counterparts available, there is no excuse for mankind to not change their habits. Try the following simple changes to go plastic-free and see how it brings about a positive change in your life.
- Refuse takeaway coffee cups, plastic straws, plastic bags and water bottles. Carry your own reusable cups, bags, bottles and straws
- Refuse single-use party decorations and products. Instead use flowers and fabric ribbons for decorating and switch to bamboo utensils instead of plastic ones (or use the silverware that you may already have)
- Avoid pre-packaged food. Instead use cloth bags or paper bags and purchase your food at bulk stores.
- Buy Less. Before purchasing anything, consider the packaging it comes in. Ask yourself if there are any low or no waste products. Notice if the package is recyclable.
- Carry lunch and snacks in a reusable lunch box, use beeswax wraps, compostable paper packaging instead of plastic-lined wax paper and plastic zip bags.
- If you are hiring a caterer or event manager, make sure they provide plastic-free samples and packaging.
- If you are selling any kind of merchandise or know someone who does, consider your supply chain and reduce/eliminate the use of plastic.
- Have a plastic-free picnic, post it online and challenge someone to do the same. This can get the ball rolling and encourage more people.
- Instead of buying cheap, plastic toys, encourage kids to play with wooden or brass toys.
- When you shop online or in-store, support the stores that deal with eco-friendly products. If you are able to support local businesses, it would help your community at large due to increased awareness about the eco-friendly options available nearby.
You could make all these changes or pick a few that you are comfortable with. An infant learns to turn over, soldier crawl, crawl on all fours, stand, walk and finally run. After a point, walking and running becomes second nature to the child. Similarly making a lifestyle change has to be done step-by-step. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect from the beginning. But it is imperative for us to make the change and be consistent whenever it gets challenging.
This is a wonderful opportunity for us to make a small and simple change to create a greater impact that will save generations. Green Schools Green Future highly encourages and supports people and organizations that wish to bring this change in the world. We are together with anyone who wishes to eliminate the plastic and replace them with more sustainable and eco-friendly products. Be sure to check out the links in the sources below to some of our articles on how to make sustainable changes.
Think about it. Why would you make something that you’re going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever, and you’re just going to throw it away.
Jeb Berrier, BagIt movie
By Kritika Rao
Mali Maeder from Pexels