Plastic is everywhere, and today, you'd be hard-pressed to find a home that isn't filled with plastic products, whether purposefully or not.
Plastic is in everything from packaging and consumer products to landfills and natural environments, which is precisely why plastic has become the target of environmentalists throughout the past few decades.
Now, more people than ever before are determined to live a life without plastic by eliminating plastic products from their lives.
By making conscious choices for the environment's sake, it is easy to reduce your carbon footprint while protecting the planet from plastic pollution.
How Much Plastic Is In the Ocean?
More than 150 million metric tons of plastic waste are currently floating freely through oceans and other water bodies, polluting vital ecosystems and inhibiting millions of marine creatures' health.
Our ocean's pollution, which is hard to grasp, includes both industrial and consumer waste plastics.
In just a few years, plastic waste could surpass the number of fish dwelling in the ocean.
Bits of plastic are easily mistaken for floating pieces of food and snatched up by unsuspecting marine birds, fish, and mammals.
Thanks to decades of illegal dumping and thoughtless plastic litter, a shocking 60% of all seabirds and 100% of all marine turtle species have been found to consume plastic, according to the Ocean Conservancy.
Ultimately wreaking havoc on their sensitive digestive systems, often resulting in death.
Why Is There So Much Plastic Waste?
Plastic is used in virtually every industry, whether as a product additive or for packaging before the sale.
Clothing, packaging, household products, commercial products, and much more are made from plastics.
In some cases, plastic has become the standard/required material choice.
Plastics come in a wide range of forms, which is why many consumers may not even realize that their purchases contain plastic.
In all its forms, plastic is affordable and relatively durable, making it ideal for mass manufacturing a wide range of products.
Try going into any room of your home – we guarantee you'll find plastic everywhere!
Isn't Plastic Recyclable?
Sure, plastic is used in tons of products, but why does that matter? Isn't plastic recyclable?
In theory, yes, most plastics are recyclable, but being technically recyclable does not guarantee that an item will be recycled.
Essential plastic products made from non-mixed materials are straightforward to recycle (i.e., plastic water bottles).
Still, even so, few consumers throw their plastic items in the recycling.
Other plastic items are too complicated or costly to recycle and are often rejected by recycling facilities.
Additionally, mixed material plastics can't easily be separated and reused, making them virtually impossible to recycle.
So, is plastic recyclable? Sort of, but that doesn't mean it gets recycled.
Instead of relying on the recycling process to make plastic items less environmentally harmful, the best approach is to eliminate plastic from your life entirely.
How to Eliminate Plastic
Worried about the impact plastic waste is having on the planet? You're not alone!
Today, millions of people worldwide are making choices that help eliminate plastic from their homes, landfills, and oceans.
Ready to join the plastic-free movement and begin eliminating plastic products from your life? Try following these simple tips.
Each time you go shopping, remember to B.Y.O.B: bring your own bag!
Single-use plastic bags are mostly non-recyclable and difficult to dispose of, which is why most end up in landfills or floating through lakes and oceans.
Some states have banned plastic bags altogether, whereas others have instituted fees to deter customers from taking plastic bags.
Whether your local government has taken steps to reduce plastic bag use or not, it's never too soon to use your own reusable bag.
Stop Using Plastic Straws
While plastic straws should be recyclable, they are considered ‘too lightweight' to be recycled by most commercial recycling companies.
They are often spoiled by food/beverage residue.
Because of this, plastic straws are actually non-recyclable, helping to make them one of the most commonly found plastic products in lakes and oceans.
Straws can easily be mistaken for food by marine creatures and can become lodged in nostrils, eyes, ears, and mouths.
Rather than using another plastic straw that will inevitably pollute the planet, choose reusable stainless steel, glass, or bamboo option instead!
Support Eco-Friendly Brands
One of the best ways to combat plastic pollution is to support eco-friendly brands making an effort to be plastic negative and use more environmentally sustainable practices.
For example, Hawaiian wellness company Mana Artisan Botanics works to create a greener, cleaner planet by combating plastic pollution.
When you purchase products, like their turmeric hemp oil, a portion of your purchase is put towards efforts to remove plastic from the ocean.
For every bottle sold, Mana Artisan Botanics helps to divert one pound of plastic from being dumped in oceans and natural ecosystems.
This story is brought to you in partnership with Mana Artisan Botanics.
When not working for his agency 420interactive, Kyle is constantly researching (consuming) the latest in filmmaking and pop culture, playing tennis, or enjoying long walks with tokes on the San Diego beach.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.