It’s not a surprising fact that plastic is bad for the environment. It breaks into micro plastics and takes forever to degrade. Plastic is piling up in landfills, forests, seas, and oceans. It kills animals and harms human health. These are just a few reasons why it is important to stop using plastic and replace it with plant-based alternatives. Here’s how…
How to replace plastic packaging?
Plastic is everywhere and it may seem impossible to stop using it. Plastic packages surround us in supermarkets and drug stores, cafeterias, shopping malls, work, and school – it’s everywhere. But there’s always an alternative for plastic packaging.
Farmer markets are great examples of plastic-free groceries. Plan what you need to buy, create a list, and grab some reusable bags and boxes from home. This way, you will not only protect the environment but also your budget. You won’t buy anything off the list and therefore, save a few dollars.
When it comes to supermarkets, it’s a bit harder to make your shopping plastic-free but still possible. Look for carton, metal, or glass packaged items instead of plastic. Also, remember to keep reusable bags in your pockets for fruits and vegetables.
Plant-based alternatives to everyday items
Some of the most common and the most harmful everyday plastic items are bags, straws, cups, and bottles. Thankfully, there are now many ways to replace them.
Companies like KeepCup make reusable plastic-free coffee cups which help to lower your footprint and save the environment. Forget the disposable cups and take a look at their forever-lasting alternatives.
As paper straws have proved ineffective, the new types appear to replace plastic ones. In case you can’t say “no” to drinking straight from the cup, take a look at metal, wheat, and bamboo straws. Metal ones last forever! Wheat and bamboo straws can be easily composted.
Plastic bottles can easily be replaced with glass and metal ones. Carton “bottles” (see boxed water) have also become popular in recent years. Try to avoid plastic bottled drinks, but instead opt for a long-lasting bottle and refill it whenever needed.
Paper bags vs. tote bags
When it comes to bags, there are a lot of plant-based alternatives nowadays. Sometimes it seems like too many. But which bag is more sustainable and better for the environment?
A 2018 study from the UK Environment Agency shows the difference between five types of bags: paper, plastic, biodegradable, compostable, and tote bags. Several factors were taken into consideration and the result of the study was mind-blowing. Cotton tote bags showed the highest global warming potential, and conventional plastic bags, on the contrary, had the smallest impact.
The overall results of the research showed that it is important to reuse both plastic and paper bags at least twice, and tote bags require 327 uses for the same amount of carbon emissions.
So the most climate-friendly option is to reuse one item as many times as possible, and recycle whenever it’s impossible to avoid packaging, whether plastic or plant-based.