In order for Americans to live a plastic-free lifestyle, they would have to reconstruct multiple aspects of their economy. Businesses have relied on plastics for storing, transporting, and protecting their products for decades. Plastics are such a huge part of our lives, it seems almost impossible to live a plastic-free lifestyle. Instead of living a completely plastic-free lifestyle, we can start by using plastic-free alternatives here and there and become more conscious altogether. Becoming more aware of the issues surrounding sustainability is the first step in revolutionizing the future. I don’t think there are many people who purposefully pollute the world, but there are many people who are uneducated about the implications of single-use plastic. By spreading the world and encouraging plastic alternatives, Americans may begin to open their eyes to the issue at hand.
After reflecting on how much plastic I use as a consumer, I realized that there are several things that could be altered. Personal care items such as shampoo and conditioner could be replaced with bars of soap, which do not use plastic. Toothbrushes can be made of bamboo, rather than plastic as well. Toothpaste has even been converted into solid tabs in glass jars by several companies, which reduces plastic in the long run. Women’s sanitary products are a huge problem regarding sing-use plastics, because they contain several different kinds of plastic within one single product. Tampons have plastic packaging and wrappers, while sanitary pads are also surrounded by endless plastic. There are alternatives such as multi-use menstrual cups by Fair Square and OrganiCup, with many more developing brands and alternatives to single use products.
One plastic item that would be very difficult to replace is medicinal pill bottles. There are millions of orange pill bottles that become distributed throughout the world every year. They are given out by pharmacies, which are highly regulated, so I do not think it would be possible to find an alternative. Pill bottles are made of polypropylene which is recyclable, but difficult to do due to the size of the product. There are several different programs that recycle orange pill bottles, but it would be difficult to get rid of altogether.
I attempted to replace my shampoo and conditioner bottles with bar soap. I have previously used the product Ethique, which is a solid bar of shampoo and conditioner. I liked using that before, so I purchased the same one again and I was not disappointed. It is exactly the same as using liquid shampoo and conditioner from a plastic bottle, without the plastic left behind afterwards. This product arrived in a cardboard box with no plastic on it, which categorizes it as a plastic-free alternative. I was happy with the outcome of this mini experiment, and I am willing to try the toothpaste tabs as an alternative in the future.