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TBG Sustainable Living Guide: Disposable Plastics Pt. I

Before I begin, I want to reiterate that these articles on sustainable living come more from experience than expertise. My time as web editor at Pure Green Magazine (and now contributing writer) helped build the foundation and fuel the passion and growth. Although I covered this in my first post I feel strongly about having transparency and authenticity when writing about green living: things change and we are always learning, so I’d be silly to claim I know it all. But really, isn’t that the fun part?

Disposable Plastics

I like this topic a lot (a lot, a lot) because it’s truly something we can all work on. Consider for a moment how many times a day you use single-use, disposable plastics (i.e. straws, baggies, cups) and how much waste that could possibly amount to in a year — over 300 million tons worth. Environmental Health News offers us some statistics on the impact, saying,

  • Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
  • Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife.
  • Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats.
  • Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater.
  • Around 4 percent of world oil production is used as a feedstock to make plastics, and a similar amount is consumed as energy in the process.

Plastic Straws TBG

I dislike the scare tactic because it tends to be uninspiring rather than encouraging. Until you know these things how can you really be held accountable for your impact? So take heart. These are steps you can certainly take; One of the reasons why I started really cutting back on disposable plastics is because it is truly so simple and you can take it a step at a time. We’re lucky that these days we have a tremendous amount of small businesses coming out with beautifully-designed, ergonomic sustainable products. Like these BPA-free reusable straws by Zak Designs. My friend Stacy and I had a good amount of fun photographing these spotted straws and it’s even more enjoyable to use them over and over again.

Not only does this bring your attention to waste but also to water. Pure Green has a great article on how to cut back and conserve water in ways you might not have realized were possible for you!

As always please feel free to write in the comments, on social media, or send an email if you have thoughts or even a question or two about green living. I’d love to hear from you.

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6 Comments

  1. Such a great intro and I look forward to reading the other parts! I’ve never found scare tactics to work. My ideal is for people to learn to be more sustainable out of genuine interest, and so we all have to lead by example! Then again, a few scary facts thrown in can give people the kick in the pants they need. It’s a constant balance I try to figure out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Girl! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s so heartening to hear your words of encouragement — I have the same core values as well and believe that your passion and commitment can only inspire people to do the same. On that note, just took a peek at your blog and am SO looking forward to diving in and reading your work!
      Thank you so much again for being here!
      K

      Like

  2. Hi Kat!

    I love this new blog of yours! Or maybe you’ve had it for a while already; I’ve been absent from the blogging community for a while! Anyway, it’s so inspiring.

    The topic of this post particularly caught my interest because since moving to California, I’ve certainly become more aware of my ecological footprint! Recycling and composting are no jokes here! Every home and facility is provided with designated bins for landfill scraps, recyclables, and compost. Just last year, San Francisco banned all sales of plastic bottles. In most Bay Area cities, plastic bags and styrofoam containers are banned at retail stores and restaurants. Everyone brings their own bags to the store, and if you don’t, BYOB, you pay 10-15¢ for a PAPER bag. It is the way of life.

    Just in the past two weeks, the city of Oakland made it mandatory to properly separate food scraps into compost. (It was a real victory for us when our apartment building finally started to provide compost bins for all tenants!) Since starting to compost, I haven’t even had to change my garbage bag yet. It’s been 2 weeks; I used to need to change it once a week! This just goes to show that VERY LITTLE of what we dispose is actual landfill. MOST of it can go either to recycling or compost! Now if this realization can’t get someone using less single-use plastic, what will!?

    Furthermore, I work at a daycare where most of the parents even use compostable diapers for their babies. IMAGINE! Everything can be made compostable.

    It’s super fun for me to find multiple uses for containers and even plastic packaging once the original contents have been removed or used up. Glass honey jars turn into food storage containers. Cans of tomato sauce turns into plant potters. The plastic bags we use to carry our produce home from the grocery replace any ziploc bag!

    One single-use plastic item that, I do admit, I haven’t found a solution to yet is floss! I started taking flossing seriously last year and have been surprisingly consistent, but the single use floss picks definitely helped me create that habit. It takes me less than 30 seconds to floss my teeth, and I know that switching to floss reels would add a few more minutes to my night time routine. BTW- you might be interested in this blog:

    http://myplasticfreelife.com/2010/04/plastic-free-dental-floss-not-quite/

    Anywho, I’ve gotten carried away with this response! I clearly agree with you that minimizing the use of plastic in our everyday lives can be super rewarding . Thank you so much for writing this. You will always be one of my favorite online writers of all time!

    Hugs,
    Izzy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah Iz!!!!! My dear! Never too long of a comment from you 🙂 I absolutely love to hear all of this and I have heard about CA’s regulations on plastic and styrofoam and I think that NYC is not far behind. Woop! You are so right about how much is landfill v. how much is compostable. I think a huge argument in favor of composting is that even when those biodegradable materials end up in the landfills they don’t get enough oxygen to start breaking down. So they sit there forever. Sigh. The more we talk about this and share our stories, ideas, and optimism the better it can get. Let’s do this together huh?! You’ve inspired me so much to do an article on composting soon, so stay tuned!!! Also, I hope you find some eco-friendly floss and yes I have seen that blog before. It rules.
      SO much love, K

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: TBG Sustainable Living Guide: Disposable Plastics Pt. II | The Basic Goods

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