Written in collaboration with Jeremy Bowler.
How well-informed are you about the effects of climate change? Which of the following best describes your level of expertise: David Attenborough, or a novice who is eager to learn? Regardless of how much you know, you are likely already aware that the use of plastic is extremely detrimental to the ecosystem and that we need to make adjustments to the ways we live our daily lives to reduce plastic waste. Today, we are going to take a closer look at how the use of plastic is detrimental to the environment.
A look at the environmental impact of plastic pollution
Humans, animals, and plants are all susceptible to the harmful effects of the toxic pollutants that are released by waste plastic. The degradation of plastic can take hundreds or even thousands of years, which means its effects on the environment are long-lasting.
Plastic impacts all organisms that are part of the food chain, from the smallest organisms like plankton to the largest mammals like whales. Toxins are released into the environment whenever plastic makes its way into the food chain. These toxins eventually make their way to humans through the food they eat.
How can we reduce the use of plastic packaging?
Over the last decade, the majority of consumers have become aware of the overuse of plastic in packaging. Only 14% of the plastic packaging used around the world makes it to recycling operations, and only 9% of that gets recycled. This is a big problem for the environment. As a result, a third is deposited in landfills, while 40% is left in environmentally sensitive areas. Reusing plastics is one way to reduce plastic packaging, but there are others. Here are some steps you could take to reduce plastic waste in the kitchen:
- Cooking from scratch is the best way to reduce food packaging waste.
- Replace the plastic bags you use for food storage with beeswax wraps.
- If you want to reduce the amount of packaging in your food, consider shopping at places like scoop shops or greengrocers and delicatessens.
- Use sustainable household products
- Avoid cling film by covering food bowls with a reusable lid.
- Get loose tea leaves instead of teabags.
- Make your own lunch for the day or eat leftovers from the previous night.
- Purchase reusable cups instead of disposable ones. The practice of reusing and refilling containers is becoming increasingly common in grocery stores and coffee shops all over the world.
What’s the best way to dispose of plastics?
Avoid using plastic as much as possible. If you must use plastic products, dispose of it by recycling. Plastic should only be recycled as a last resort since not all recycling is actually able to recycled, and because it requires additional energy to complete the recycling process. By selecting products with multiple uses rather than those that need to be recycled, you can avoid having plastic waste altogether.
Plastic is a material that is toxic to the environment, including humans. By taking steps to reduce plastic consumption and recycle plastic as a last resort, we can have a positive impact on the earth!
xoxo Laura (in collaboration with Jeremy Bowler)
P.S. – This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a product using a link from this post. Read more here about my disclaimers/disclosures.