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8.8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. The estimated time for plastic to completely biodegrade into its constituent molecules ranges from 450 years to never.

 The impact of this on the environment and on our health is phenomenal, so it only makes sense for each and every one of us to try and live more sustainably. Read ahead to find out the why, what and how.

 

It is a good idea to live in a more environmentally friendly way, however have you ever wondered how plastic impacts our health? All kinds of chemicals are used in order to create plastic and make it stronger, more or less flexible etc. National Geographic says:

Some of these chemicals are considered endocrine disruptors—chemicals that interfere with normal hormone function, even contributing to weight gain. Flame retardants may interfere with brain development in fetuses and children; other compounds that cling to plastics can cause cancer or birth defects.

Scientists are discovering microplastics in our everyday products such as bottled water or fish. However they are still reviewing what it really means for our health in the long term.

Image by Szafa Sztywniary

These facts are terrifying but we want to persuade you that we all can make an impact by implementing some small changes into our everyday life. The Plastic Free July challenge is a perfect opportunity to start living a more sustainable and healthier life. However since aspiring to live a zero-waste lifestyle can feel a little bit overwhelming. We decided to gather simple steps you can take to live a more conscious life:

 

  1. Water bottles
    The easiest way to reduce your waste is by swapping from plastic to reusable water bottles. It is possible to drink tap water in most developed countries, however if it’s not for you, you can always switch to filtered water bottles.

  2. Say no to straws
    Plastic straws are especially bad for our environment as it’s something you usually use only once and immediately throw it away. It takes hundreds of years to break down. More and more restaurants are stopping using straws and you can simply say ‘no straw please’ when ordering a drink. However if you can’t live without them, you can switch to stainless steel straws.

  3. Shopping bags
    Are you aware that more than 40 percent of plastic is used just once, then tossed? People usually use these small, thin plastic bags when shopping for vegetables or fruit and throw them away when unpacking shopping at home. We suggest using reusable cotton bags that are more eco-friendly and look much better.

  4. Reusable coffee cup
    If you can’t imagine starting your day without buying a cup of coffee, we suggest investing in your own reusable cup. More and more coffee shops even give a discount when you bring your own one.

  5. Bamboo toothbrush
    Do you know that each toothbrush ever made still exists? Bamboo toothbrushes are sustainable, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and compostable. Try it out.

  6. Ethical clothing brands, swapping, second-hand shops, charity shops
    Start paying attention to the way your clothes are made. Are the materials sourced sustainably? Do the factory workers get a fair living wage from the company? Check out an app called 'Good On You'. Try buying more consciously, perhaps take a look into your local charity or second-hand shops. We recommend watching ‘The True Cost’ to find out more about the fast fashion industry. Truly eye-opening!

If you are interested in the topic, here are some links for you:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/18/penzance-britains-first-ever-plastic-free-town-cornwall

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/plastics-explained/

http://trashisfortossers.com/

Reusable cotton bags available to purchase here: stanglewiczart.etsy.com

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