From 2 million tonnes per year to 381 million in only 65 years. Our plastic consumption is increasing immeasurably, especially in recent years. We can’t even imagine how our life without plastic would be because everything is made of plastic in our life’s as we saw in the last Blog. However, our life of plastic has disastrous consequences for the natural environment. Just 9% percent of our plastic will be recycled and only 2% will be recycled effectively the other 7% will be downcycled. The remaining plastic land in our environment especially in our oceans. Oftentimes the marine creatures think the plastic waste in the ocean is food but, plastic is indigestible, and the animal can thus no longer eat food and starves to death with a full stomach. And with the seafood, the plastic is landing on our plates. That is just one example of how plastic has catastrophic impacts on our environment, but it shows that we need to reduce our plastic use.
I began to think about how I can use less plastic in my daily routine, and I was surprised how many opportunities I have to reduce my plastic. The following table is showing some examples:
|Type of Grocery item||Brand I buy now||Less Plastic Alternative|
|Waterbottle||Vittel||Reusable bottle made of glass or stainless steel|
|Cornflakes||General Mills||Cornflakes packed in a cardboard box (Mymuesli) or buy it in a Packaging free grocery store|
|Choclate||Hersheys||Packaging made of cardboard and compostable film cellulose
|Detergent||Tide||Packed in cardboard box (dropps)|
From Plastic to plastic-free Care and Cleaning items
|Type of Product||Brand I Buy now||Less-Plastic Alternative|
|shampoo||Kérastase||solid shampoo without plastic packaging packed in a cardboard box (Foamie)|
|Face mask||Luvos||Made it own your own|
|Brush||L’ange||Brush made of wood and has natural bristles (Aveda)|
|soap||softsoap||Packed in Cardboard (Dr.Squatch)|
Those are just a few examples but there are various plastic-free alternatives especially in this to categories of items. Besides I found for the products easily and rapidly after searching on the Internet a plastic-free alternative which is more sustainable. In the Grocery store, it was more difficult and took more time to find the plastic-free alternative and there was not a wide of goods. Another disadvantage is that plenty of plastic-free items are much more expensive than plastic items. For example, my pack of Cornflakes General Mills costs 5$ whereas a pack of Mymuesli would cost 10$ which is the double price. Unfortunately for me as a student with not much money it is difficult to replace many items I use now and buy instead the expensive plastic-free alternative. However, there are as well fewer Plastic Alternative, which is cheaper especially if you focus on reuse, refuse, or repair the items. For example, if I use a reusable bottle and fill it up with tap water instead of buying always new water bottles, I would save money as well as if I made a face mask on my own instead of buying it in the store.
I believe that little changes in our daily routine can make a difference, particularly when everybody thinks like this. Therefore, I considered that I will replace, reuse and refuse some plastic items in my life (In addition to them I mentioned in the last section). The first item I will replace is my shower soap the same brand I use at the moment has a plastic-free alternative and costs just 2 euros more. Another thing I will refuse is the plastic cutlery and cups in the dining halls. Instead, always get new plastic forks, knives, and spoons I will bring my plastic-free cutlery, or I will reuse my plastic cutlery. And I will try to bring my reusable water bottle to the dining halls that I don’t need to use a plastic cup. An item I will reuse are bags then always when I purchase something I get new bags now I will try when I go to the grocery store to always bring my bag with me that I don’t need to get another one.
Nevertheless, there are plastic items I can’t replace at the moment and one of the items is my laptop. I use it every day and depend on it for example to write this Blog. Furthermore, I couldn’t find a plastic-free option and if they are some, they are probably not financeable for me.
In conclusion, we must stop using so much plastic because it has already catastrophic consequences for our environment, and it will have huge impacts on the future of our planet. Therefore we need to reduce our plastic use. We don’t need immediately to live a plastic-free life because of plenty of necessary items we can’t refuse or replace at the moment, but we can try to take little steps to a more sustainable and plastic-free life. If everybody in the world just takes a little step and refuses a few items in his daily life it would be a big step for all of us and will make a huge difference for our planet.
Maja I really like how you approached the plastic-free lifestyle. I did not even think of food items! Overall I agree with the availability of these plastic-free items, but similar to you it is hard to obtain these items when we are living a student lifestyle with barely any money.
I like that you also consider REFUSE in your post – that often doesn’t cost anything! The most sustainable item is what you already own, so don’t worry about replacing plastic durable items until they are really worn out or broken (like your brush).