The other day I saw an article with the above picture attached to it. It hit me hard. It turns out that it’s an art installation by Greenpeace Philippines, but it drives the point home. I’ve been reading lots of articles about whales dying from too much plastic in their stomachs. The picture inside the article, by the way, is even worse. A skinny, wasted-away sperm whale dead on the beach. The animal had ingested 64 pounds of plastic. 64 pounds! Almost 30 kilos.
From the Forbes article by Trevor Nace: ‘ Approximately 5 trillion pieces of plastic are estimated to be floating around the world’s oceans based on a recent study. To make matters worse, marine experts believe the total weight of plastic in our oceans could outweigh fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. ‘ And, ‘ Just two years ago a pod of 13 sperm whales all washed ashore dead from ingestion of plastic waste. ‘
We collectively have been ignoring climate change and global warming for decades and now we’re feeling the effects. Reducing our use of plastic is only one way to initiate change, but we have to begin somewhere. We all seem to be overwhelmed by the dire reports, so we must start somewhere, anywhere.
My friend Andra is my recycling hero. She is so good about always going out with a reusable water bottle, and she won’t buy any new plastic bottles. When she was visiting recently I noticed how observant she was, and it was really inspirational. If we all cleaned up our acts even just a little, think how much we could do. It will take much more than that, of course, but if we start with ourselves, perhaps companies and corporations will follow suit. I am trying to be optimistic here but it’s hard. Greta Thunberg is right when she says we don’t have much time left.
Like most people, I’ve been reducing, reusing, recycling for awhile now, but that whale picture has made me review everything I do on a daily basis. Am I really doing enough? Nope. Not even close. So it’s time to try harder.
Some things I do or have begun to do to stop one-time plastic use:
- We bought a bunch reusable mesh bags to bring to the store for buying fruits and veggies. Just keep them in your bag at all times.
- If we ever get takeout, we bring glass or Tupperware to the restaurant for them to put the food in.
- Bring my reusable water bottle whenever I go out. If I forget it, I drink water from a fountain or get a glass in a restaurant. Or I buy a glass bottle.
- My mother bought me some metal straws to carry with me. I admit I forgot about them for a long time, but I don’t really use straws anyway. But I’ve started carrying them with me again just in case.
I had to look up some other tips.
- Buy in bulk instead of single serving
- Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic (who knew?)
- Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic. There are lots more too of course. The point is to start somewhere. It’s dire.
What are YOUR tips for using less plastic?