Today I’m sharing three everyday plastic habits to kick to reduce the amount of plastics you consume and in turn, help the environment. If you didn’t jump on board the Plastic Free July movement, or you did and found yourself overwhelmed, this post is for you!
Podcast: Play In New Window
Earlier this week I organised a screening of the environmental documentary A Plastic Ocean in my local town as a fundraiser for my upcoming trip to Antarctica.
The evening was a big hit in terms of opening up the eyes of everyone who attended to issue of plastics in our environment.
Seeing everyone’s faces and how moved they were really energised me. It was simple feedback to once again inspired me to continue this important work of sustainability education.
I asked the crowd at the end what were their key learnings. So many commented that they just didn’t realise that plastic never truly broke down and that it only broke up. And of course, so many were shocked to see images of how it’s impacting wildlife.
Many of our town’s Cubs and Scouts came along to the screening. In question time following the film one of the Scouts asked “Does every seabird have plastic in their tummies?”
She had such a pained expression on her face like she was willing me to answer no, but I told the truth (there is no fairytale ending to the plastic story… yet) and replied “Yes, over 95% of seabirds have been found to have plastic in their tummies ….. but not all to the extent of the bird in the film. Like the scientist in the film said, that was one of the worst she’d seen.”
She looked devastated.
Kids get it. They really do.
My green heart was jumpstarted 30+ years ago by a talented textile artist – come – naturalist who just happened to be one of my brownie guide assessors. And I get the feeling that I had a similar impact on many of our local scouts and cubs last night.
But fielding questions and talking to many of the adults in attendance also made me realize just how eye opening the film was to them too. When I’m studying and learning about this stuff all the time, I often make the assumption that everyone else is doing the same. In doing so it’s easy to overlook the fact that as a general population we’re only just becoming aware about the impact of plastics on our environment and our own health.
It also made me realize that dishing out 100 odd ways to break up with plastics can be too overwhelming (although if you’re ready to knock yourself out check out my post here where I cover 19 Ways To Break Up With Plastics in Your Home). So in this post I’m going to give you three areas to focus on when making changes to the amount of plastics you use (to decrease waste).
Next week I’ll take it a step further and share another three areas to focus on when changing the way you use plastics. These steps will focus on decreasing your risk of harm from plastics.
When focusing on reducing the environmental impact of plastics, it pays to look at ways that will decrease the amount of plastic you use. Avoiding single-use plastics is the key here.
Three simple plastic habits you can kick here include:
1. CREATE A ZERO WASTE LUNCHBOX
This one’s as much for the adults as it is the kids.
Aim for your lunchbox to be single-use plastic free. This means eliminating processed foods and drinks. If you’re often on the go and regularly eat out at lunchtime, take a cut lunch instead avoid food courts and the take away packaging that accompanies meals on the go.
Most schools now have kids eating lunches for 10 minutes in the classroom before venturing outside to play. This is all to reduce playground litter.
Choosing a Bento style lunchbox (such as Yumbox) or using reusable wraps like those by 4MyEarth or HoneyBee Wraps will ensure your lunchboxes are waste free in no time!
2. Take Your Plastics With You
We lead such busy lives and are often on the go, which means that it’s all too easy and convenient for us to buy take away food and drinks. By taking your cutlery, coffee cup and straws with you, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastics you use.
Can even buy reusable coffee cups now that fold up in your handbag! How’s that for convenience!
Or be a granny like me and use a travel mug and thermos.
3. Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Many States in Australia are now implementing plastic bag bans and this is so welcome (albeit overdue). South Australia, the State where I live has had a plastic bag ban in place for several years now and I really notice the difference in plastic bag consumption, and litter, when travelling interstate. It’s just commonplace for us to take reusable bags with us when shopping.
Tuck bags in your pram, keep them in your car, or purchase the type that squishes down to nothing and keep in your handbag.
By making the three simple changes above you’ll be well on your way to reducing your consumption of single-use plastics.
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If you’re keen to learn more about the impact of plastics in our environment and on our health, check out these other blog / podcast episodes: