To start, we are not here to shame, we are here to educate ourselves. The reason why there are only a few numbers chosen is to just get a glimpse of the magnitude of the amount of plastic in our lives and the cost of convenience.
75 - the number of years that have passed since the start of mass production of plastics. Something to think about. All the plastic that has every been created is still with us, unless it was recycled. 32 - the predicted number of years we have until the amount of plastic in our oceans surpasses the number of creatures who call the oceans home. Some predict it will happen in 10 91 - the percentage of plastics that are not recyclable 1 MILLION - the number of plastic bottle purchased globally every minute 60 - the average amount of grocery bags a family of 4 use every month if the shop weekly 24 MILLION - the number of disposable diapers heading to the landfill everyday in Canada alone 100,000 - the number of marine creatures who die each year from plastic entanglement (that is only the ones who are found). It is estimated over a million birds each year die from plastic. Did you know plastic bags look like food to many in the ocean (they look like jellyfish) 1 - The number it takes to make a difference and every 1 becomes a global shift for positive change. We may not be able to change what is already done but we can change the future outcome.
Can Make a Difference
My story is very simple. My journey to less plastic in my life wasn't born out of 'doing the right thing' for Mama Earth or showing my kids I care about their future, it was just me being stubborn.
I lived in the country, had an amazing vegetable garden to feed my family, created a compost trench that was animal friendly (we all should work together), purchased my eggs and beef from local farmers, recycled everything I was supposed to (and believe me not much was acceptable then) and didn't give a thought about the amount of plastic that came in to our home until I made a large purchase for my business.
I had purchased 5 new vacuums for my cleaning techs. I was standing there in the middle of the store waiting for someone to help me load them into my car and all I could think about was how much it was going to cost me to get rid of all that packaging. See, we paid $2.50 a bag and it cost us $5 a week to put our garbage at the curb and I didn't want to have to pay more than that so I made the decision to leave the packaging behind, at the store, for them to deal with. They would have to dispose of it, not me.
Like me, the store paid for their garbage to be picked up and it is based on how many containers they need to have behind their store for disposal. The more garbage they have to dispose of the more they will have to pay. If there came a time where they had to order more containers, I guarantee they will rethink the packaging that comes in to their store.
When I got home, I decided to do a walk through of my home and find out how much single use plastic and other items I had in my home that could not be recycled ending up in garbage bags and made the commitment to change.
At the end of the month, our family of four went from 2 garbage bags a week to 1 garbage bag every 2 months. It was hard and I was alone in my mission at first (the family wasn't happy because of the items we no longer had in our home) but after a while it just became second nature.
Today, the kids are grown and out on their own and I am working towards living waste-free. I am limited to what I can accomplish as I live in an apartment, in a city that does not have curbside composting but hopefully we will see change soon.
Put Us All
We Can Create Change
I felt like we, as a family, had made such a major difference in our ability to lessen our dependence on plastic. Could you imagine the sheer global impact if we all made the pledge to live with less plastic in our lives.
To Break Away From Plastic
It's not impossible to live a life without plastic but I guess it all depends on what you are willing to give up to live with less. Take a tour of your home and look for the plastic, you will be surprised to find how much of it we actually live with. We work on it, watch it, cook with it, talk to friends with it, It's in our fridges, every small appliance and electronics piece we own. It holds our food, shampoo, soap and toothpaste. We sleep under it, wash with it, clean our homes with it, wipe our babies bottoms with it, we wear it. The amount of plastic in our lives is out of control
It's Time to Find Balance!
Unless you are planning on living off the grid, without any of the comforts created for us in the 21 century, you are going to have to live with plastic.but you can create a balance by following these 4 R's to remove much of the unnecessary single-use plastic
the produce & grocery bags
A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade so make it a habit to always have a reusable grocery bag handy wherever you go. Try to purchase bags that are made from natural fiber and not plastic (I am not rewarded for showcasing the brands on this page)
There a lot of single use items made with plastic we use every day that can be switched over to a more sustainable choice. The alternative might seem like an inconvenience at first but all we are really doing is breaking a habit .... the habit of what we have been conditioned to think as convenient in this fast pace world we have created.
Yes, the single use coffee cups are recyclable but how many actually are being recycled. You are normally out and about when you are ordering your 'to go' cup of joe and when it comes time to toss, it seems garbage cans are more accessible than recycling bins.
Something to think about. If you feel like having a cup of coffee while you are out, take the time to enjoy it. Go in to your favourite cafe, order in a china cup and sit for a few minutes and enjoy just being.
the plastic package
Individually wrapped items create huge waste that is not recyclable. By purchasing items that are not individually wrapped you automatically cut your plastic waste in half. That is a huge accomplishment!
where you shop
SHOP BULK STORES, LOCAL SMALL RETAILERS and FARMERS MARKETS - You get to control the use of packaging, bringing your own or returning bottles to the store or stand for reuse.
and how you shop
to be influenced
Advertising is meant to sell a product by offering a you, the consumer a solution to your problem. That solution is just a quick fix without stating the obvious we choose not to see. The convenience of plastic leaves an everlasting problem as it doesn't disappear as fast as we use and discard it and even though it looks like it is decomposing, little mini plastic particles are with us forever. We are eating it and breathing it, our ecosystem is slowly being suffocated by it.