Plastic constitutes 10 % of the total waste we generate. It is estimated that 10-20 million tonns of plastic end up in ocean every year. The use of single use plastic is growing like never before. Items like plastic bags, take away containers, plastic bottles and plastic cutleries are some of the many items that we use just for few minutes but last forever.
The Plastic Free July challenge was started to raise awareness about the single use disposable plastic and encourage people to think and do something about this.
Why is plastic a problem?
Once produced it takes forever for plastic to degrade. Instead it breaks down into smaller pieces causing severe problems to animals and human health. The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production. It is estimated that worldwide 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed every year. More than one million bags are used every minute.
Plastic items thrown into public bins on the street, in the park or picnic area might accidently escape the bins and may end up in streets, open spaces or water ways causing threats to human and animal health.
What can we do?
Here are few practical yet simple ways we can easily help reduce the amount of plastics entering the waste stream.
- Let’s avoid plastic especially single use plastic and plastic packaging as much as possible. Ask yourself if you really need to buy it. Choose alternatives like cardboard paper, glass, metal and wood over plastic.
- Reduce everyday plastics, such as replace sandwich bags with reusable lunch box and glad wraps with container with lids or bees wax wrap.
- Buy in bulk and opt for refill and use reusable containers.
- Refuse single use plastics especially straw, cutlery, plates and cups.
- Carry your own reusable bag and water bottle. Plastic bags and bottles constitute a huge portion of plastic waste.
- If Recyclable, recycle all that cannot be avoided. Donate and giveaway the items you no longer use.
- Collect unavoidable plastic packaging separately and take them to your nearest supermarket.
- Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the impacts of plastic pollution.
Lastly but most importantly, don’t compare yourself with others. We all have different priorities in life and living it in a different way. Plan your life and to what you can. You don’t have to do everything at once. Start small and one at a time. You will find solution to the plastic in your own way. Just remember every single action when multiplied by many can make a significant difference.
Do share what you are doing to keep up with this challenge.