Hi guys and girls, I’d like to share these thoughts on ways to reduce plastic use with you. I really hope this will be the beginning of many inspiring stories and ideas to be shared in this forum!
Anyone who has ever been to a beach knows this sad view. Plastic wrappers, plastic bottles and just countless remains of products made of synthetic materials scattered over the sand. A shocking amount of up to 12.7 million tons (!!) of plastic enter our oceans every year (!!) and ends up on the coastlines around the world, if not worse …
Plastic garbage in the ocean is exposed to the aggressive radiation of sunlight and also salt water 24/7. Because of that, it continuously looses microscopic particles into the ocean. Those small fragments are then consumed by every living creature in the ocean, from plankton, to fish, to turtles, to wales.
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Because of the natural food chain in the oceans - smaller species are eaten in huge amounts by larger species and those are eaten by even larger species and so on - the amount of microscopic plastic accumulates in the tissues of living creatures. The particles are so small, they can pass the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. But because of their non-organic nature, the particles are then not detected by the body to be excreted.
Those pieces of plastic that have not yet been broken down into tiny pieces still are a threat to ocean wildlife. Oceanic creatures swimming in the water, but also birds, mistake these plastic parts for food and swallow them. The plastic gets stuck in the stomach and in the end fills it up with countless chunks that these living creatures cannot digest. This leads to starvation, adding to the drastic decline of wildlife populating the oceans.
While the people gathering for ocean and river cleanups all over the world are true modern day heroes, they are tragically only fighting a symptom. If we as a society do not change the way we habitually throw away plastic products, those heroes are only going to be fighting a never-ending stream of plastic coming from our households, shops and production sites.
A good opportunity to start reducing the amount you are adding to this stream of plastic is following some simple rules to lead a more eco friendly life. While these tipps cannot get rid of already existing plastic from our oceans, this is a way to decrease the horrific amount of plastic that ends up in the water. Every little step counts and especially by being a good example, creating awareness for the problem and breaking up current habitual patterns, you take important actions in the fight against plastic pollution.
Bring a bag or a backpack when you go to buy groceries or other items.
Buy water in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles. The extra weight to carry might even save you the money for your gym!
When buying food, try to stick to fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. They can often be purchased without any wrapper, so they are waste free. Also, they are the best choice for your health
Replace liquid shower gels that come in plastic bottles with soap bars that do not even have a wrapper. If you cannot find soap bars without a wrapper, try to go for those wrapped in paper.
Avoid using plastic straws. There is no drink in the world, that your mouth cannot handle without the help of a straw…