Single-use plastic has to be one of the most damaging inventions our generation has seen. And this is the main reason why we need to start using more reusable items.
But before I give you ideas on which reusable items you should use, I want you to understand the damaging effects single-use plastic is having on the planet. By the end of this article, you’ll know why plastic is so bad, and what reusable items to use.
Sound good? Great, let’s get started:
Why Single-Use Plastics Are So Dangerous
Single-use plastic is made primarily using fossil fuel chemicals. This means drilling the oil out of the ground, which is dangerous in its own right. You only have to think back to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which released over 130 million gallons of crude oil.
This event was extremely damaging to the environment, but I guess we can’t blame plastic alone for this one. But what we can blame plastic for is the throwaway culture that comes with it.
The world is currently producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic each year, and to make it worse, 91% of plastic is never recycled.
In the end, this means the vast majority of plastic ends up in landfill sites. And when plastic is left alone, it doesn’t break down. Instead, it turns into microplastic (tiny pieces of plastic).
These tiny pieces of microplastic work its way into our ocean and soil, killing the wildlife it meets.
But the damage doesn’t stop there:
Eventually, it will end up inside of us, and the exposure to the chemicals found in plastic is undoubtedly causing more harm than good.
Plastic chemicals can cause hormone imbalances and reproductive problems in humans.
The pollution caused by plastic is overwhelming, yet it’s often unseen.
We can walk down the street and find plastic every day, but what we rarely see is how much plastic there is in the ocean.
There are a few ways plastic makes its way into the ocean, but the most common way is when the rain picks it up.
On days when we see heavy rainfall, pieces of plastic get picked up and washed down drains and then into rivers and streams. From there, it can make its way into the ocean.
It’s thought that the top 122 rivers carry 90% of the world’s trash that enters our ocean. If you want to check out the truly devastating effects this is having; you should check out the National Geographic site.
It’s our marine life that takes the brunt of the impact. Whales are found washed up on beaches with stomachs full plastic.
The University of Exeter ran an experiment and found that nearly all sea turtle species are found with pieces of microplastic in their intestines.
This is nothing less than a tragedy!
But luckily there is a solution that could help turn the tables and reduce the amount of waste we generate each year. And that’s to switch to reusable items.
Everyday Reusable Items
Nowadays, you can take advantage of a wealth of everyday reusable household items that weren’t available a few years back.
Reusable items don’t just reduce the amount of waste we create, but they help us save money and lower our carbon footprint.
So, let’s take a look at some reusable products you can get involved with:
- Water Bottles
Single-use plastic water bottles are one of the most commonly found plastic trash items. And this can be easily avoided by switching to a reusable water bottle. The best thing about a reusable water bottle is they are often BPA-free, which means you ingest no harmful chemicals.
- Reusable Ice Cubes
They don’t exactly cut down on plastic waste unless you’re buying the bags of ice. But reusable ice cubes are much better for your health. Ice cubes can safely harbor harmful bacteria within, which is then released as the water melts.
- Bamboo Straws
Plastic straws are causing severe problems to wildlife; there are countless videos online that indicate this. Some of which include a plastic straw being pulled from a turtle’s nose. Bamboo straws are the way forward; they are sustainable, reusable, and compostable.
- Canning Jars
Reusing your jars is an excellent way of lowering your carbon footprint. They use natural materials that can be recycled or reused. If you opt to reuse them, you could start making jams and pickled veg.
- Stacher Bags
They are the best reusable ziplock bags on the market, and due to them being made with silicone, they are more durable, last longer, and healthier than plastic bags. It also allows them to be reused without the fear of BPA leaching into your food.
- Reusable Zip Ties
You’ve probably not thought about this one, as most of the time, we only need to use them once. Zip ties are difficult to be reused, so if you’re adding a new cable to a bunch, you’d have to cut the old zip tie off. Reusable zip ties stop this from happening.
- Reusable Notebook
Deforestation is a huge problem we’re facing, and using paper notebooks isn’t helping anyone. Reusable notebooks allow us to take notes over and over again without having to buy a new book.
- Reusable Washing Nuts
Washing powder is usually packaged in either a plastic box or a cardboard box, neither of which are very good for the environment. Reusable washing nuts are an eco-friendly alternative that is plastic-free and can be used over 125 times before it needs replacing.
- Lint Roller
The sticky plastic sheets that come attached to lint rollers aren’t great for the environment. But if you have a pet, you can’t live without one. Luckily there’s a reusable option out there to help lower our impact.
- Reusable Cooler Bags
I’m always astonished when I walk down the beach and find little styrofoam cooler boxes littering the beach. And what’s worse is when they get swept into the sea. Reusable cooler bags stop this from happening.
If you interested in finding more reusable items such as:
- Travels bags
- Dog food bags
- Swim diapers
- And cloth diapers
Then this page has an extensive list of reusable items for you to check out.
Rounding It Up
The war on plastic will continue to go on until people start actively trying to make a difference. Buying your first reusable item might not seem like a big deal, but just think of all the trash you’re going to save for that purchase.
Think about the future you’d like to see for your grandchildren. Do you want them to swim in an ocean full of plastic and no wildlife? Or a beach that’s crystal clear and full of marine life?
I know which one I’d choose!