Plastic is bad. But plastic is also so damn convenient. We use it to keep our morning coffee warm during surf checks, we tote groceries home in plastic bags for post-surf grinds, even some of our surf wax comes wrapped in plastic. In short it’s part of our daily surf life.
But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some helpful hints from blogger Kate Nelson to cut down on your use of plastic.
Plastic never biodegrades and each individual piece poses a serious threat to wildlife. In just one week we go through 10 billion plastic bags worldwide. Australia burns through more than 50k takeaway coffee cups every half hour. In the USA an average of 2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour and over 500 million straws are used daily. The choices we make truly matter—if each of us cuts back, we can lower these statistics.
Plastic does not biodegrade. Scientists are not totally sure how long it takes to go back into the earth in a healthy and happy way, but it surely will not even be in the lifetime of our great great great great great great great grandchildren. So, it seems wise to stop using this durable material for single-use items.
Plastic Free is a challenge to avoid single-use plastics. It may seem daunting! To prepare for success, follow these simple steps:
1. Audit your Trash
Hold on to your plastic trash for the next few days to understand what kind of plastics you will have to replace and consciously avoid
2. Plan your Shopping
• Restructure your routine to include the farmer’s market & bulk food stores, this helps avoid plastic packaged foods that line the grocery stores
• Stick to the produce section of the Grocery Stores
• When you go shopping bring your own bag, if you forget
• Bring your nutmilk bags or small cloth bags for produce. If you forget, use the paper mushroom bags (try to reuse these, they also have a large environmental impact)
• Buy things in glass jars and reuse them for food storage
3. Make your own Meals
• With all the fresh veggies and fruits from the markets and bulk grains, seeds, nuts, pastas, spices and herbs from the bulk foods store, you have all the ingredients you need to craft up some delicious, nutritious meals!
• Pre-make granola for breakfast, crackers for snacks, and salad dressings to set
yourself up for success. Recipes: iquitplastics.com
4. Make your own Beauty Products
• Plastic containers of face lotions and shampoos are packed with harsh chemicals, avoid drenching your skin (the largest organ in our body) in unknown ingredients and stick with simple, organic ingredients.
• Use natural oils like organic black sesame oil for skin in the winter and coconut oil in the summer.
• Use bicard soda with water for shampoo, apple cider vinegar with water for conditioner
• More recipes: iquitplastics.com
5. Adopt the “Bring Your Own” Mentality
• Try to always anticipate where you might encounter single-use plastics and be ready with your own reusable item!
• If you forget everything else, try to avoid these four items, considered the worst and most easily avoidable:
– Plastic bags: Bring your own bag, use a box, or even your t-shirt like a pouch.
– Straws: Skip the straw, they suck! (Need convincing? Search “straw up turtles nose” on Youtube)
– Drink bottles: Reuse, refill and bring your own bottle, or abstain if it comes in plastic.
– Takeaway Coffee Cups: Get your own reusable cup! If you forget a cup, ask the friendly barista if they have any mugs for “here.” In fact, consider pausing and enjoying your coffee there at the cafe. If all else fails, skip the plastic lid, go topless on your coffee.