Like it or not, plastic is everywhere. We sit on it, store our food in it, drink from it, text with it, type with it, wear it, and carry our groceries home from the store in it. Yet we know that plastic is harsh on the environment in its production and even harsher when it winds up in our landfills, or worse, on our roadways, in our forests, and in our oceans. Sure, it can seem overwhelming to try to live a plastic-free life, but what if you only had to commit to it for one day?
Consider these statistics: Americans purchase 50 million plastic water bottles every year, and we throw away enough plastic items each year to circle the Earth four times. We know that these items aren't really going "away" when we toss them. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, there is so much plastic floating in the world's oceans that more than half of all turtles, seabirds and marine mammals are estimated to have ingested plastic.
What can you do about a problem that seems so large?
Broadreach, a North Carolina-based global educational adventure company for students, has organized a worldwide Plastic-Free Day on Feb. 21. This is your chance to make a small commitment that could make a huge difference to our planet. Here's how:
Don't purchase anything made of plastic. There are lots of items like water bottles and kids' toys that are obviously included on this list, but be sure to check out some of the items in this post that you may not realize contain hidden plastic.
Just say no to single-use plastics like straws, cups, grocery bags, wrappers, etc. I love to drink from a straw as much as the next gal, but this post convinced me that they're an environmental disaster.
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5 billion plastic caps from plastic bottles are released to the environment every year in California alone. Plastic caps litter streets, parks, inland waterways, beaches, and oceans, and harm wildlife who mistake them for food. California Assembly Bill 319 would require that all single-use plastic bottles sold in California have the cap connected to the bottle. Connecting the cap to the bottle will allow the cap and bottle to be recycled together, instead of contributing to clean-up costs, and harming wildlife and our environment. If you live in California, please take action using the link in our bio and urge support of AB 319. If you're outside of California, tell us, do you think connecting caps to the bottle should be industry standard? This photo shows a dead albatross that had ingested plastic, including plastic caps. Photo by Tandem Stills + Motion. #ConnectTheCap #AB319 #plasticpollutes #RefuseSingleUse #BreakFreeFromPlastic #SaveThePlanet
Stay clear of products containing microplastics and plastic microfibers. Like bath beads or fleece clothing and even, sigh, yoga pants.
Bring your own utensils if you're planning to eat somewhere that doesn't provide silverware. This one can be hard to remember but even just grabbing a reusable fork and stashing it in your briefcase or purse can go a long way toward helping you stay plastic-free all day. Just don't order the soup.
Carry a reusable water bottle and travel mug with you. You know you're going to need some water to get you through your day so grab a reusable bottle (or a travel mug for that cup of joe) to refill along the way. That will help you avoid plastic bottles and coffee cup toppers. Bonus points: You'll save loads of cash too. Score!
Sign up here to take the plastic-free pledge and commit to ditching plastic for just one day on Feb. 21. You may find that it's not as hard as you thought to keep plastic out of your life and out of our environment.