Refuse to Use: the Plastic Edition

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Refuse plastic

A recent web share brought me to the blog of a B.C. woman who, since 2010, has been “refusing” the use of plastic.

At first, Taina Uitto refused an individually-packed plastic butter packet, and asked her waiter to bring her a slab of butter from the kitchen on a plate instead. She now reports that she’s down to producing only a very small paper bag of garbage about once every 2 weeks.

Especially considering how quickly the summer just whipped by, it’s crazy to think how every piece of plastic ever made still exists out there somewhere today, broken into a minuscule portion and probably swirling in a current west of San Francisco.

We’ve produced nearly as much plastic in the last 10 years as we have in all previous decades put together, and estimates range from 500-1000 years for some plastics, like grocery bags, to break down into the environment.

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Biggest plastic pollution culprits:

1.    Plastic Bottles

The Story of Stuff: Bottled Water

2.    Plastic Bags

Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide –Smithsonian.

3.   Plastic Straws

More than 500 million disposable plastic straws are used in the United States every day and would fill more than 127 school buses daily, or more than 46,400 school bus loads per year. (40ft. – long buses)* –SimplyStraws.com

How to cut down on plastic waste:

  • Buy glass, bamboo or stainless steel
  • Invest in reusable shopping bags
  • Encourage your community to adopt an “Ask first” policy when it comes to plastic straws
  • Ask for alternatives
  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Buy bulk
  • Buy bakery bread
  • Refill nut butters
  • Carry chopsticks or bamboo utensils

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Taina offers these lessons, as learned from her commitment insofar to go plastic-free:

  1. Convenience is not what makes life colourful.
  2. There is abundance in going without.

 

How low can you go?

Join her Refuse! Challenge here.