Tips to reduce plastic waste

Hello everybody and welcome back! 🙂

The Ocean cleanup started on the 8th of September 2018 and it is one of the best news of 2018. The number of plastic waste in our ocean is shockingly high. Nowadays, we have more plastic in our ocean than fish, which is more than sad and we can’t ignore the fact that every single one of us is responsible for what is happening on the planet, earth.

The ocean cleanup is a Dutch start-up company focusing on our biggest problem, which is the world’s „ocean garbage patches“. In 2016, the 24-year old developer Boyan Slat and his employees introduced their first prototype, which was successfully tested in the Dutch coast. The first stop is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the size of the patch is three times as big as the size of France).

Cleaning up the Pacific Ocean is not simple, the ocean is big and using conventional methods like vessels and nets would take thousands of years. With the help of the new system, the start-up company estimates to clean up the ocean to 50 % in just 5 years. For more information and donation, you can check out their website.
GIF Source: The Ocean Cleanup

Facts

  • every year 1,000,000 seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals die, due to our plastic waste
  • In most parts of our ocean, there is six times more plastic than plankton
  • one plastic bottle needs 450 years to fully dissolve, but it still does not disappear, it just dissolves itself into small plastic particles – sadly most animals mistake it for plankton
  • an average of only 7 % of plastic bags are being recycled in Europe

Source: Plastikmüll Statistik 2016

How can I help?

Plastic can be found in nearly everything we use nowadays. In our food, car, phone, hygiene products and in our apartments. Everyone can help by following easy steps in our everyday life. In order to decrease the plastic waste in our environment, we must start living sustainably.

Here are some tips on how to live with less plastic

Reusable produce bags

Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit centre for Marine Conservation. (Source)
We can do better than this and start using a reusable bag every time we go shopping, whether if it’s groceries or clothes.

Avoid Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are a huge problem for our environment, it takes 500 – 1,000 years for plastic to degrade which is insane. Use reusable bottles and coffee cups. A lot of different coffee shops and other brands offer a wide range of reusable and portable coffee cups.

Give up gum

To be honest, before I started my research for this blog post I had no Idea about how bad chewing gums are for our environment and the human body. But it is quite simple, chewing gum was originally made of chicle, which is a latex sap of the sapodilla tree. Later on, scientists created a synthetic rubber and replaced hence the natural rubber. Which means we are chewing on plastic.

Disposable plasticware

Plastic knives, forks, spoons, and plates are hard to recycle and we should pay more attention to it especially when we order food online or buy a lunch in the supermarket across the street.

Reuse glass jars

You can find a wide range of prepared foods in glass jars, just like tomato sauce, jam, peanut butter etc. Instead of throwing the glass jars away you can reuse them to store food like cereal, flour etc.

Your lunchbox

Pack your lunch in reusable containers instead of plastic wraps. Avoid fruit in serving cups from the supermarket and pack fresh fruit for lunch.

Watch out for microplastic in shampoos

Unfortunately, a lot of hygiene products contain microplastic, whether if it is in our toothpaste, shampoo or makeup and face washes. Microplastic is everywhere, even in our clothes, but how can we spot if microplastic is involved? Next time you are out on your shopping spree, watch out for these ingredients: Polyester (PES), Polyamide (PA), Polyethylene (PE), Polyimide (PI), Acrylate (ANM) etc.

I can only recommend the CodeCheck App, where you can scan the barcode of a product and get a full list of the ingredients inside and how good and bad they are for our body.

 

 

 

References:

Mother Nature Network

The Ocean Cleanup

Mother Nature Network – Gum

T-online – Microplastic

Plastikmüll Statistik 2016

GIF and Featured Image Reference:

The Ocean Cleanup

 

 

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