The earth is becoming burdened with our plastic waste. From everything from plastic straws to takeaway cups, our consumption needs to decrease and our compassion for this planet needs to increase. The seesaw effect is in favour of plastic at the moment, and the earth is being weighed down because of it.
We need to take care of this planet as much as we take care of our own children.What are we raising them for if not to live and appreciate the beautiful world we live in? Mother Earth was here first and we need to respect and take care of her.
These five plastic items are, in bulk form, harmful and need to be done away with:
1. Plastic cutlery
Recently, France has banned the use of plastic cutlery, cups and plates in order to reduce their carbon emissions. This is a response to the fact that 150 single-use cups are thrown away every second in France.
SOLUTION: Carry a ‘splade’ in your bag (spoon, fork and blade in one) or a ‘spork’ (fork and spoon combo). Variations of this are available at a number of places, including Cape Union Mart.
Avoid these at all costs! Ninety percent of the debris found on Australian beaches consists of plastic water bottles and straws. The problem is these pieces are broken down to such small pieces that marine animals are able to digest them. Then they make their way up the food chain when a predator eats their prey that has just eaten the plastic.
SOLUTION: Say no thanks to a straw at a restaurant and simply sip your drink. (Only use straws that are biodegradable.) Instead, carry around a stainless-steel reusable one in your bag. These can be found at places such as Faithful to Nature’s online store.
3. Bottled water
This simple commodity is actually not so simple. The plastic contains BPA and phthalates, which have a negative impact on our bodies. In the US, 1 500 plastic bottles are consumed every second.
SOLUTION: Keep a reusable bottle in your bag. This will allow you to fill up at work or in public places and you won’t have to buy bottles over and over again. There are many outlets that offer BPA-free bottles so you can drink without the guilt. Woolworths is one such outlet with a great selection.
4. Plastic toothbrushes
Interestingly enough, your plastic toothbrush is also a no-go. Most toothbrushes are made with nylon bristles, with a metal staple to hold them in place. These would have to be separated before recycling, and the plastic is not recyclable.
SOLUTION: Use a bamboo toothbrush, which is just as effective and user-friendly. A company called Naked Toothbrush offers such a product and South African users can order a two-pack online for only $9,95 (about R132).
5. Plastic shopping bags
Australians are said to use 10-million new shopping bags every day. Now they are banned in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. They are dangerous to the environment because they can easily make their way into the oceans and harm sea as well as land life.
SOLUTION: Keep a selection of reusable bags in your car when you go shopping. Always remember to put them in your bag before leaving the car.
Special thanks: Sarah Wilson