For the third week of the Sustainability Challenge, let’s talk about and tackle plastic! Plastics have negative environmental impacts throughout their lifecycle: from being made from fossil fuels to ending up as litter. It’s estimated that plastic bags will take 500-1000 years to biodegrade, but the truth is that we don’t even know because plastics have only emerged over the past 50 years. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a huge congregation of trash floating in the ocean between California and Japan that is about the size of Texas and mostly made up of plastics. Not only does this plastic have harmful impacts on marine life, but it can even make its way into our seafood.
Plastic contributes to serious environmental problems, but since these impacts are not factored into the price of plastic, it’s cheap and widely used. We’re talking items designed for single-use such as bags, packaging, beverage and food containers, and straws. Plastic is part of most our purchases and integrated into our daily life, but the good news is that we can reduce our use of plastic and contribution to these problems!
This week, try to incorporate at least one of these three habits into your routine:
- When you go to the store, bring reusable bags –including for fruit and veggies
- When you are out and about, rely on a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug
- Say no to plastic straws. Did you know straws rank in the Ocean Conservancy‘s list of the top 10 most collected items during its international coastal cleanup? Avoiding them is the only way to ensure they won’t become litter.
We also encourage you to continue reducing your meat consumption and water use, and stay tuned for next week’s sustainability challenge!
Participating in the Sustainability Challenge? Share your pictures and stories via comments on this post or through Twitter and Instagram, tagging us (@sustain_cooptve on Twitter and @sustainability_cooperative on Instagram) and including #SustainabilityChallenge or #SustainabilityMadeSimple.