Let’s Turn This Plastic Straw Ban Into Something Bigger
Start writing a post

Let’s Turn This Plastic Straw Ban Into Something Bigger

"Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest."

120
Let’s Turn This Plastic Straw Ban Into Something Bigger
Instagram / grumpyturtledesign

The effect of single-use plastics on marine life has just recently been prioritized after a video from 2015 resurfaced. The video shows a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose, clearly in pain. Half a million straws are used in the world every day. Since the video has become a hot topic, banning plastic straws has become a trend. Everyone asks for no straw with their meals at restaurants, and plenty of food joints are finding alternatives. Metal and paper straws are now found everywhere, as well as more creative alternatives, such as bamboo, and even pasta straws.

This wave of interest has been a huge step in the right direction, but we need to have this much interest when thinking of other types of plastic, such as plastic packaging, and how those plastics affect the rest of the environment too. Basically, all single-use plastics.

Single-use plastic refers to any type of plastic that is meant to be thrown away after one use. Most of this is packaging. Think about it: whenever you purchase something new, chances are it comes wrapped in some form of plastic that you're going to immediately remove and throw away. Plastic is extremely convenient because when you're done with it, you can just toss it and never think about it again. But, it has everlasting effects on the environment.

In 2015, nearly 50% of the plastic waste generated globally was plastic packaging.

Plastic is bad for the earth, no matter how careful we are to dispose of it safely. Pollutants from plastic can still make their way into our water from landfills. Most plastic is not biodegradable—instead, plastic breaks down into small particles called microplastics, which make their way into the environment and can be found in some of the food we eat. Numerous wildlife consumes microplastics or gets tangled up in our garbage. And as much as we like to think recycling is going to fix the problem, recycling doesn't work to save the environment as well as we think it does. Worldwide, only 10-13% of plastic is recycled.

Recycling is expensive, and most recyclables end up being incinerated, which releases hazardous waste and harmful fumes into the atmosphere. Overall, recycling doesn't do enough to stop our society's constant manufacturing of plastic goods. It's generally cheaper for a company to make more plastic than to go through the process of recycling.

If we want to make a serious change, shaming one type of single-use plastic like a straw is not enough. We cannot stop at caring about the sea turtles. The best thing to do is eliminate our use of plastic altogether (or try our best to). If every single person thought that one plastic item would not make a difference, that would be over 7 billion plastic items being piled onto our earth every day. We are constantly filling our lives with single-use plastics—some we don't even realize.

If you're wondering how to make a change, here are 10 more easy swaps you can make to limit your daily plastic use:

Use reusable bags at the grocery store.

Instagram / packagefreeshop

Every time you go to the grocery store, chances are you're putting plastic bags into plastic bags, and only use them to carry your food home. Most of us are familiar with reusable shopping bags, but you can also use mesh bags to store your produce, so you don't waste those tiny produce bags. Even better, visit a farmer's market to get local produce that doesn't take fuel to travel.

Get a biodegradable phone case.

Instagram / pelacase

We go through phones every few years, which always calls for a new piece of plastic to protect it. Companies are now making biodegradable cases out of flax straw fiber or non-GMO corn rubber that keep your phone, and the earth, safe.

Bring your own drink cups.

Instagram / wastelessgirl

Reusable water bottles are becoming more and more popular and for good reason. Plastic bottles are unhealthy, containing toxins that seep into the water. But, reusable cups aren't just for water. Bring your own cup to get your morning coffee or whenever you go get food. You'll quickly realize how much less plastic trash you're producing.

Carry around reusable utensils.

Instagram / packagefreeshop

You never really use plastic utensils for more than 10 minutes, so it makes sense to stop using them altogether. 10 minutes of use isn't worth a lifetime of attempting to break down in a landfill or in our oceans. Reusable utensils can come in their own little pouches so you can stick them in any bag and always be prepared.

Forget plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles.

Instagram / lushcosmetics

A lot of beauty and hair care products come in plastic bottles. These are things that we buy all the time and are constantly replacing.

Search for shampoo and conditioner bars that come in boxes or have no packaging at all or things that come in glass bottles that you can reuse. Some companies sell large refill containers to eliminate the constant buying of more plastic products.

Stop chewing gum.

Piaxaby

Gum is made from polymers, meaning we are chewing on synthetic plastics. Gum also usually contains polyisobutylene, which made up the sludge that covered animals during the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010. Gum is not biodegradable—it could take hundreds of years to decompose, and most of it isn't even thrown away.

Scientists are starting to make biodegradable gum, so maybe you won't have to stop chewing it for long...

Ditch the cling wrap.

Instagram / wrappawraps_

Aluminum foil can sometimes be recycled—but an even better option is a natural product, such as a food wrap made of soy wax or beeswax.

Make use of grocery store bulk bins.

Instagram / zerowasteguy

Bulk bins allow you to fill up your own container with as much of a product as you'd like. Storing food in your own containers will drastically reduce your plastic use. If you can't buy certain foods in bulk, try searching for items in boxes or glass containers.

Use a bamboo toothbrush.

Instagram / packagefreeshop

We change our plastic toothbrushes every three to four months for our entire lives. Bamboo toothbrushes are easy to come by and are so much better for the environment.

Invest in a steel razor.

Instagram / biomestores

Like toothbrushes, razors are something that we throw out and replace constantly. So why not get a steel one and switch out the blades? Many people say it's the best shave they've ever experienced, so it's a no brainer to make the switch.

There are some amazing resources online that provide you with all your plastic-free needs in one place. So, start small with at least one of these suggestions and make a conscious effort to eliminate as many single-use plastic products from your lifestyle as you can. The environment will thank you.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.

134199

While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.

6904

Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.

29656

When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

9633

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.

4999

We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.

4154
CBS

The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.

2740

Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments