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Lifestyle,  Sustainability,  Things to Try,  Tips

This September, ‘S’ is for ‘Sustainable’: Reducing Your Single-Use Plastic Use

As we all know, single-use plastic is a huge environmental problem. The EPA has stated that nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to grow. The following is an excerpt from the Center for Biological Diversity:

In the first decade of this century, we made more plastic than all the plastic in history up to the year 2000. And every year, billions of pounds of more plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Studies estimate there are now 15–51 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans — from the equator to the poles, from Arctic ice sheets to the sea floor. Not one square mile of surface ocean anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution.

Center for Biological Diversity
Animal Welfare. Marine Pollution. Seal Caught In Discarded Plast
Seal from the Horsey colony UK, caught in discarded plastic fishing net. This seal was later freed but countless wildlife lives are lost to plastic pollution each year. Sea life is especially vulnerable.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the problem but there are things each one of us can do to cut down on our use of single-use plastics. And while some methods, like avoiding plastic straws to save sea life, have gotten lots of ink recently, the fact is, while straws are prevalent, plastic from commercial fishing makes up approximately 20% of all ocean plastic and nearly 80% of all ocean plastic comes from land-based sources.

How Much Plastic is in the Ocean?

infographic showing 18 billion pounds of plastic flowing into ocean each year
Graphic courtesy of National Geographic

Even as the novelty of plastic has faded, the demand for it has continued to grow exponentially over the last 70 years. According to Plastic Ocean, approximately 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally every year. And nearly half of the plastic produced is used to create disposable, single-use items. The result is more than 18 billion tons of discarded plastic entering our oceans each year.

While plastic straws have become a rallying cry, they’re dwarfed in comparison to other types of single-use plastic pollution like food packaging and cigarette butts. Image courtesy of SloActive.com

Estimates show that the average American produces 4.40lbs of unrecycled trash each day, the majority of which is some kind of packaging.

I’ve made other attempts to ditch single-use plastic and there’s definitely been some progress. But, in the interest of making a bigger impact, both for myself and for anyone also looking to improve, I’ve decided to dedicate the month of September to finding more sustainable alternatives to my most wasteful personal care items, from ‘that time of the month’ necessities, to toothpaste, skincare, and shaving.

Thinx is one of several brands on the market helping to replace traditional, high-waste personal care products with more sustainable alternatives. Photo Credit: Thinx

I hope that these posts will help inspire you guys to reduce your own single-use plastic usage and find more sustainable alternatives in your everyday lives as well as introduce you to some great brands.

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Fitness/ Fros/ Vegan Food. Graphic designer/illustrator, entrepreneur, marketing swiss army knife, amateur coder, & lover of pugs, chocolate, & travel.

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