Feeling worried about the dead whale found washed up in Bergen with a stomach full of plastic?
Worried about the garbage patches that create plastic soup in our oceans?
Concerned that the microplastic that fish eat end up in our stomachs?
Plastic marine debris is now found on the surface of every ocean on Earth. Even when – and if – big pieces of plastic break down they turn into microplastic. These concentrate waterborne chemicals like a sponge. Pieces are ingested by plankton, which are again eaten by fish and the plastic accumulates in every step of the food chain. With plastic waste, we are changing the whole oceanic ecosystems. Even the plastic that gets broken down, is troublesoume.
Want to make a difference?
Here are 7 steps to reduce plastic waste:
Replace, Reduce, Reuse:
1. Never Leave the House Without the Basics:
- Reusable bags.
- Glass bottle or canteen for water.
- Travel coffee mug.
- Food container and cutlery for your lunch and eventual take away food.
2. Plastic-free Clothing
Many fabrics contain plastic, like polyester, fleece, acrylic and nylon. Every time you wash these, small pieces of microplastic is washed out and ends up in the sea. Go for alternatives with natural fibers that last, for example linen, soy, hemp, cotton or wool. Wearing wool, which you don’t have to wash as regularly, simply air out and wash of individual spots. Also, make sure you have a clean and functional filter on your washing machine drain.
3. Replace your Plastic Hygiene Products and Cosmetics
Liquid soap, shampoo, toothpaste, washing products often contain plastic particles. The same goes for many types of makeup. Watch out for products with “polyethylene” and “polyethene”, and replace these products with ones with environmental friendly and sustainable ingredients without plastic. You can find good alternatives like LUSH, which offers biodegradable soap, toothpaste, makeup, shampoo, and conditioner without plastic ingredients or plastic containers.
4. Walk More – Drive Less
53% microplastic in Norway comes from car dust from the tires of cars. What about starting to carshare? Or biking? Taking public transportation to work? Or maybe scheduling in an extra walk? This will do wonders to your health, wallet and the environment.
5. “No straw, please!”
Avoid one time use of plastic products. If you have an intense urge to use a straw – add it to your essential basic list and bring a reusable one with you of glass or metal. Same goes for the thin plastic bags for vegetables. This is usually not necessary as you can wash vegetables before use. To minimize plastic packaging, try food cooperatives and stores where you bring your own container and fill it up.
6. Recycle Plastic Properly
Most important thing is to clean your plastic from food debris. If your plastic is too oily or has food waste on it will end up together with your normal thrash. Also, check up on your local recycling of plastic and if there are certain kinds of hard plastic that should be sorted separately.
Start using second-hand stores. Think of new uses for old items, instead of throwing them away and buying brand new ones which might be wrapped in plastic. Get out your sewing kit. Try to upgrade or repair electronics, or find a place to sell or recycle them.
Spire Ås has addressed the topic of plastic waste in our local chapter by screening the movie “Inside the Garbage of the World” with a following discussion of how to reduce waste. Inspired by the event, we have created a Plastic Challenge to motivate people to create habits that does not produce unnecessary waste. The challenge is to reduce plastic waste to a minimum for one week.
Want to get involved?
Plastic challenge: https://www.facebook.com/events/245267789255267/
For further information, contact email@example.com.
Skrevet av Rebekka Ween, Spire Ås