Over the last 10 years global production of plastic has grown at an astonishing rate. Just our use of plastic bottles has almost doubled over this incredibly short time period, and eight million metric tons of general plastic waste is dumped into the ocean every year.
When faced with scary statistics like this, you’re likely to do the same as us.
You promise yourself to reduce the amount of plastic you’re using.
But in 2018, is this really an option? Is it possible to live without plastic these days? And if so, how does it compare to ten years ago?
Plastic is everywhere
Over the fifty years or so since plastic was first invented, it has slowly crept into almost every part of our lives.
Most of our food comes wrapped in plastic. Our cosmetics, cleaning products, and other household items are usually made from plastic (and usually come wrapped in plastic too.)
Our phones, computers, tablets, televisions, and eBook readers are made almost entirely of plastic.
Our kitchen equipment is made of plastic and so are many of our clothes. Even our medicines packaging and our takeaway foods, drinks and straws are made of plastic too.
Plastic is often hidden in places that you’d never think of, like the lid on your jar of chocolate spread, the lid on your water bottle, the zip on your bag, the net around your oranges and many other places besides.
It’s only when you take a closer look at how much plastic you’re actually using, that you realise the full extent of the problem.
Surely it’s harder to live without plastic than ten years ago…
It’s easier to live without plastic than ten years ago
Considering the sheer quantities of plastic we use now compared with ten years ago, it might seem practically impossible to live without the stuff.
But that’s definitely not the case. Here’s why:
#1: There are many plastic-free alternatives available now
Ten years ago, it wasn’t so common to see reusable coffee cups, water bottles, bamboo toothbrushes and other alternatives to plastic on the market. But now you can find these great plastic-free items online, and on the high street too.
#2: It’s more socially acceptable to use reusable plastics than ten years ago
You’re unlikely to get a second glance if you hand the barista your reusable coffee cup when you go for your morning latte, or if you pop your groceries into reusable bags at the supermarket because using reusable products is much more common than it was.
#3: Plastic-free and reusable items are actively encouraged these days
Numerous campaigns and initiatives are encouraging people to reduce their plastic waste these days. You’ll find water bottle refill stations in many airports across the world, some companies offer a discount if you return your packaging, and UK supermarkets recently announced their plans to take steps to reduce the use of disposable plastics.
So, while it might seem extremely difficult to live without plastic these days, the reverse is true.
Yes, we produce much more plastic than ever before. But there are now many more plastic-free alternatives that reduce our impact on the environment and help make a difference.
Besides humanity thrived for hundreds of thousands of years before plastic was invented, and we can do so again.
With a bit of thought, a few habit-changes and a few plastic-free, reusable alternatives, we can reduce the amount of plastic we’re using, and perhaps learn to live without it again.
What’s the one thing you can switch to reusable today?