Plastic, short for pliable elastic, was invented in 1907 and contained no molecules of nature whatsoever, making it hazardous to the environment as it does not biodegrade like other natural substances. Within just a few decades plastic has managed to pollute our planet to a great degree by being falsely marketed to us as an inescapable part of our daily life. Little do we realize that plastic was popularized only in the 1960s and many of us had relatively plastic free childhoods. Here are some easy ways we can return to a greener lifestyle.
- Bring Your Own Bottle: We instinctively buy a can or bottle of juice or water when we feel thirsty outside but this habit can cost us our planet. Cans and bottles used in packaging beverages account for a majority of our plastic waste all over the world. According to this Greenpeace report on plastic, of the 480 billion plastic beverage bottles sold in 2016 alone, less than half were collected for recycling, and of that only 7 percent was turned into new plastic.. We can easily change our one behavior pattern and save the world, and our money, by simply carrying a durable and long lasting bottle of water from home whenever we set out.
- No Unnecessary Disposables: We do not really need straws to sip liquids. Similarly we do not always require disposable shopping bags if we simply carry a spare bag with us. Electric razors could reduce plastic waste as compared to disposable razors. We could use cardboard applicators instead of plastic ones for tampons. Disposable plastic cups, spoons and stirrers can easily be replaced with regular mugs and durable cutlery. Better still, having our coffee at home could be great for our health, wallet and for the environment than cafes that serve us in disposable plastic.
- Go Micro-bead Free: Fine plastic beads in our toothpastes, exfoliating scrubs, shower gels, face wash and other cosmetic or personal care products are likely to be commercial gimmicks that are neither very helpful to our health nor good for our environment. As they go down the drain they contaminate our water bodies such as rivers and oceans threatening life and health by entering our food chain. According to this shocking report on micro-plastics, 80 percent of tap water all over the world is contaminated, Simply do not purchase products containing micro-beads.
- Eco-friendly Grocery: While ordinary supermarkets have been selling plastic packaged food items, we also have fantastic organic farmers that home deliver fruits and vegetables to us in eco-friendly boxes and paper bags, as well as green grocers who sell whole foods without plastic bags and boxes. We can also use our own shopping trolley and say no when offered plastic bags at checkout. Reducing pre-packaged food in our diet is also great for our health as our bodies love fresh and raw produce. Eating fresh would also reduce the need for storing foods in plastic bags and zippers in the fridge.
- Beware of Hidden Sources of Plastic: Many people are surprised to know that some of the things we consume everyday, such as teabags and chewing gum may contain plastic which could be hazardous for health. Using a tea-strainer with loose tea, especially herbal infusions and getting rid of the chewing gum habit could be healthier and more eco-friendly.
- Alternatives to Plastic Packed Toiletries: Most of us find it convenient to use plastic packaged washing products, however paper wrapped soap bars could minimize our dependence on plastic bottles, while natural alternatives such as Shikakai and Reetha (Soap Nuts) are considered great for hair and can also be sealed in a muslin cloth and tossed with our clothing in the washing machine for cleaning and a wonderful aroma in our linen too. Natural homemade products such as avocado pulp cream, banana mash face pack, olive oil for hair can be good alternatives to packaged brands.
- Be Natural: By having a simple, minimalist and spiritual lifestyle we can reduce our overall consumption of unnecessary cosmetics, hair products, plastic gadgets such as hair dryers, personal care brands and other lifestyle products that rely heavily on plastic packaging. By loving our natural hair, skin and healthy body and using less plastic we not only enhance our well being but make our planet more beautiful from within and outside.
- For Babies and Children: Many parents are trying cloth nappies instead of disposable ones, not only to save up on their expenses but also to reduce non-biodegradable waste as disposable nappies or diapers do contain plastic. Similarly glitter used in crafts and many stationery products such as pens and glue-sticks may contain plastic, the usage of which we can keep to a minimum by using pencils, eco-friendly glue and stationary. Many eco-conscious parents try to buy wooden toys instead of the common plastic ones for their children.