Where does the plastic we use end up? Sure some of it ends up in the landfill sites (those are filling up fast), some is used in waste to energy plants that create electricity, some is reused, some is recycled and some of it just gets lost or seems to disappear – where does it go? We may have found out where it is ending up. If you look in the right places in the oceans you’ll find huge floating rafts of plastic that has accumulated over the years and still is accumulating.
The most prominent is the so called Pacific ocean garbage patch – and it is currently the size of Africa and growing daily. Every Ocean has the same issue – and that’s just the stuff that floats. Imagine the stuff that sinks. If you look at the water in our oceans today under a microscope you will see finely ground up plastic – almost invisible to the human eye from the deepest oceans to the very top.
If you go to the Antarctic and drill through the ice you’ll find in certain places a thick layer of brown smelly goo just underneath the ice. If you analyse this you’ll find every chemical known to man and a few new combinations that have never been made – DDT, PCBs etc are all there and they are collecting in our oceans. Can you wonder why our fish don’t want to live there anymore? If we continue to rely on industrial plastics then the future is gloomy to say the least.
So how can we reduce the amount of plastic we use?
- Buy your food locally from farmers markets/farmers directly
- If you have to use the supermarkets then choose unpackaged products where ever possible
- When ever you see an over packaged product on sale – refuse to buy it and tell the customer service team
- Ask shops and stores to not use secondary plastic carrier bags – if a carrier is essential then use a recycled paper one or even better use a cloth one that’s already been recycled.
- Don’t buy bottled water – buy a filtration jug and save money in the process or buy your water in glass bottles – there are many good stainless steel refillable water bottles on the market today
- Make your own bread – without plasticisers – yes the put plastic/polymers in bread to make it soft.
- Make your own salad dressings rather than buy them from the supermarket – 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon/wine vinegar plus seasoning works well and saves a fortune
- Grow your own salad and vegetables
- If you do buy plastic items see if you can reuse them.
- Take your own mug when you get a coffee at a high street outlet – they might even give you money off.
- Clean with baking soda and vinegar instead of cleaners packaged in plastic
- Use bar soap to wash your dishes. Dr. Bronner’s is perfect.
- Do not use air fresheners. Light a candle or incense instead.
- Buy milk in paper cartons.
- When ordering drinks, say “no straw please!”
- Don’t use plastic cutting boards. Use wood or glass.
- Make your own yoghurt
- Send junk mail back to sender saying not required
- Use reusable plastic food storage boxes for storing excess food
- Buy cheese from the deli and ask for it in paper bags rather than prepackaged items in plastic