Are you considering the Plastic-Free July Challenge to reduce the amount of plastic in your life? Plaine Products has set the goal of avoiding the Big 4: plastic bags, to go cups, straws, and water bottles. And of course no plastic shampoo bottles!
Why those? 50% of all plastic is used just once and thrown away. This is a terrible waste of resources, since they will last for hundreds of years after only being used for a few moments.
The easiest way to avoid those four single use plastic products is to carry around a few extra items. We brought these with us on our trip to Puerto Rico: reusable water bottle, reusable tea mug, stainless steel straw and a reusable bag. We actually had a few bags along as they come in so handy. This one, from Dry Case, is also water proof so it’s great for adventures on the water as well as land.
Not convinced about Plastic-Free July? Here’s a little more about the Big 4 that might change your mind.
Plastic bags: Lightweight, single-use plastic bags are a unique threat to the environment. Unlike other waste, these bags can travel long distances overland, pushed by the wind like a tumbleweed. They are blown by the wind out of trash cans, garbage trucks and landfills, and often do not stop until they reach a stream, river or the ocean. Once in our waterways, they do not biodegrade, but instead break apart into smaller pieces. As this is happening, according to scientists, they start to soak up toxins. Once they are consumed by fish, turtles, and whales that mistake them for food, those toxins make their way up the food chain. The Ocean Conservancy recently deemed plastic bags as the #2 deadliest threat to sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals.
To Go Cups: To go cups come in many forms, but usually they are paper or styrofoam. Hopefully you know styrofoam is bad news. It can’t even be recycled. But did you know that your coffee cup lid is probably the same type of plastic? Expanded polystyrene foam— known as “Styrofoam”—is basically polystyrene that’s expanded with air. In the US we use more than 25 BILLION of these cups each year, most have a polystyrene lid. Polystyrene and expanded polystyrene foam are plastics made from styrene, which was found “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program.
If you don’t want to carry a reusable coffee mug around, or you forgot it, there’s still hope. 5 Gyres started a campaign for people to “Go Topless” and skip the top, you can take their pledge here.
500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone. That’s 175 Billion a year filtering into our landfills and littering our waterways and oceans. How can you help? Ask your servers to skip the straw when ordering drinks at restaurants. The tricky thing is to remember to ask before they bring the drinks!
If you can’t live without straws there are lots of sustainable options. Stainless steel straws, like the one we used in our coconut, are indestructible and great for travel. There are also beautiful glass straws options and bamboo straws alternatives. If you want to get serious you can take the OneLessStraw pledge with our friends at One More Generation. Plastic-Free July is a great time to sign up.
Water Bottles: Right now the world is using 500,000,000 water bottles a year and the number is only expected to grow. We just wrote a whole blog about bottled water and the myths around it. By carrying around a water bottle with you this one can easily be avoided!
Plastic shampoo, conditioner and body wash: While these aren’t on the Big 4 list, Plaine Products does make it easy to avoid using them! Consider us an #easywin for the environment. We’ll keep you posted on how our Plastic-Free July is going. Let us know if you’re going to take the challenge! Remember our motto for the month: progress, not perfection!