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The Plastic Epidemic

   

Plastic Epidemic

We’ve reached a dangerous turning point on this planet. Microplastics are literally raining from the sky, according to a recent report published in the journal Nature Geoscience. This is no longer a problem, it’s an epidemic.

Microscopic pieces of plastic have seeped into our waterways, oceans, food, drinking water, and now, the air we breathe. Each piece of plastic that ends up in a landfill or water source slowly breaks down, shedding tiny pieces of plastic into our ecosystems. Plastic is harming the natural world. Plants and animals are already experiencing the negative effects of our disposable lifestyle. Now is the time to create change.Awareness is the first step to addressing any problem, followed by informed research and taking positive action. It’s common to feel helpless when we’re facing global scale issues because they seem so vast and overwhelming. It can feel as if the actions of one person cannot possibly have an impact, but individual action can be a catalyst for change, like a ripple effect moving outwards.

You have the power to inspire those around you to make changes as well, and shift our society. It can be intimidating, but we’re here to provide the necessary information to take small steps forward. 

Related: 10 Reliable Resources to Help Improve Your Sustainable Practices

Plastic-Free Swaps You Can Make Right Now

Shifting to a plastic-free lifestyle is a matter of interrupting pre-existing habits and forming new ones. If you’re ready to move to a more sustainable lifestyle, we’re excited to share a list of zero-waste swaps for various realms of daily life to spread awareness.

Swaps for the Kitchen

  • Coffee pot -> French Press (and put your coffee grinds in the compost)
  • Paper towels -> reusable cloths
  • Packaged produce -> individual fruits and vegetables
  • Bottled dish soap -> dish soap bars
  • Plastic food storage -> glass or stainless steel containers

Swaps for the Bathroom

  • Beauty products in plastic containers -> products packaged in glass containers
  • Plastic toothbrush -> bamboo toothbrush
  • Plastic floss packaged in a plastic box -> compostable floss packaged in a cardboard box
  • Bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash -> shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bars
  • Plastic toilet brush -> bamboo toilet brush

Swaps for On-The-Go

  • Plastic water bottle -> reusable water bottle
  • Plastic single-use utensils -> travel set of bamboo utensils
  • Paper coffee cup -> reusable coffee mug
  • Plastic or paper straw -> reusable stainless steel, glass, or bamboo straw
  • Plastic shopping bags -> reusable mesh produce bags and grocery bags

Waves of Change In Your Community

Getting involved in movements for a plastic-free world in your area is a way to feel empowered and more connected to people in your community who are passionate about the same issues as you. There are numerous resources you can use to find events taking place in your region:

  • 350 is dedicated to supporting renewable energy and eliminating the use of fossil fuels around the world
  • The Sunrise Movement is “building an army of young people to stop climate change” with a focus on creating new jobs to help support the planet
  • The Global Climate Strike is taking place this September 20-27 to rally against the use of fossil fuels
  • Use The Ocean Conservancy’s map to find a Coastal Cleanup near you, or volunteer for upcoming events
  • Can’t find a movement near you? Create your own using this step-by-step guide by Freshwater to plan your own community clean-up

Related: Getting Employees Involved In Local Volunteering

We needed to be conscious of our buying patterns and plastic use years ago. It’s long overdue, but it’s time to stop buying plastic whenever and wherever we can. Plastic does not simply go away when it’s thrown in a garbage or recycling bin. It will continue to haunt us for the rest of our lives unless we shift the way we exist on this planet immediately. 

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