We cannot seem to live without a lot of plastic in our lives. It is convenient, it is cheap, it is durable and has a lot of benefits. However, almost 50% of all the manufactured plastic that we humans use every day, are transitory. This group of plastics has turned us into a state of throwaway consumerism. We grab a cup of coffee, get it in a styrofoam or plastic cup, drink it and throw it away once done. A cup of soft drink at a restaurant comes with a plastic straw, that has absolutely no use after it few second purpose is over ... it cannot even be recycled. It will live on for ever.
Calvin Coolidge once said, "We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once."
At the face of it, it seems that the world is reaching or has crossed the threshold of plastic pollution and that there is nothing more anyone can do except wait for doomsday. That is incorrect, and maybe someday soon, we will find some chemical that will disintegrate all the plastics in all the oceans of the world. Science and scientists have a way of inventions and we do not know what the future holds. Given that, in the immediate term, each of us can do some things that do not perpetuate the problem. And, if enough of us can live a plastic-free life, at least the problem will be stemmed, without it becoming worse.
Let us each start with just a few items - single-use plastics. These are essentially disposable plastic items, not the more long lasting ones like the plastic in your car, or phone, or computer, or elevator, or the many other things that have plastic in them.
Specifically, we are talking about the following products. If we can negate the use of these eight single-use plastic items, the world will start becoming cleaner almost overnight.
- Plastic shopping bags
- Disposable drinking straws and stirrers
- Disposable crockery and cutlery
- Disposable lighters
- Disposable pens
- Wet wipes
- Disposable razors
- Packaged goods (by buying loose items or in bulk)
By some estimates, one million plastic bottles are bought globally ... EVERY MINUTE.
All each of us needs to do is to stop buying water in plastic bottles. In just a single day, ONE AND A HALF BILLION bottles will not be disposed off, In three years time, that translates to almost TWO TRILLION bottles. Almost all of these would otherwise end up in a landfill or end up in the oceans. And that is certainly good.
EACH ONE OF US CAN HELP MAKE THIS CHANGE.
At the lower estimate range, each human being on Earth is responsible for 1.5 kg of plastic trash reaching the ocean a year. Over the next 30 years of our lives, we will contribute almost another 50 kg. And this will grow will increasing consumerism.
How much are you willing to sacrifice to reduce your plastic trash footprint?