Plastic bags catastrophe

Save the earth from the overload of plastic

Plastic trash overflow is one of the greatest ecology catastrophes of our time. Plastic bottles and bags is something most people in “developed” countries use and throw away daily and mindlessly. Even when we bring plastic bottles to the recycle containers they might end up in a huge landfill, polluting the earth and killing birds, animals and even making us sicker. Because it is more expensive to recycle plastic bottles then to make a new one from the nonrenewable resources such as petroleum and natural gas.

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Regular plastic bags may take about 1000 years to decompose but nobody really knows the exact number yet. Plastic bags can’t biodegrade, but sunlight dissolves them into toxic polymer particles. Most often this happens in the sea. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% of plastic bags are recycled world-wide; the rest are left in landfills. Due to their light weight plastic bags can fly away from landfills and pollute large areas of forests, meadows, beaches and ocean. According to the British Antarctic Survey, discarded plastic bags have been found as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as The Falkland Islands. Millions of birds, turtles and other sea animals die of starvation after ingesting discarded plastic bags.

Paper bags are not a good alternative to plastic, because it’s usually made from trees, making our forests disappear on a even faster rate. Paper bag production and transportation requires even more energy then plastic and it releases a huge amount of toxins into the atmosphere. In a regular landfill paper bags can’t decompose properly and continue to release toxic waste into the atmosphere. This definitely puts paper bags into non-ecological category of products.

Plastic lunch boxes and drink bottles are made with PVC and can contain cancer causing and hormone disrupting chemicals such as lead, BPA, and phthalate. They can potentially leach into the food and from there to our bodies. So it’s really important to find good substitutes.

Substitutes

Best substitutes for plastic lunch boxes and drinking bottles would be glass or stainless steel boxes and bottles. Glass is our favorite as it doesn’t affect food at all. The only problem is that it’s breakable. To secure your glass containers you can use thick soft cases.

Instead of plastic grocery bags you can use hemp, cotton or recycled reusable bags. Our favorite brand is Chico bags. They have great designs and bright colors to choose from. The materials are nice to touch, machine washable and durable.

Try not to use plastic bowls in food preparation. Old plastic is especially dangerous, because it breaks down over time into toxic particles even on a higher level then new plastic. Be creative in finding an alternative, if you can’t find a big glass bowl for a salad you can even use a big stainless steel pot or your grandma’s ceramic pot. The main thing is your enthusiastic intention, the rest will follow.

And if you think that one person can’t make a big difference, think again. Over a lifetime, use of reusable bags by just one person would save about 22,000 plastic bags and possibly, lots of sea turtles and square miles of our beautiful, bountiful earth.

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