Can you live without plastic?
Plastic is a big part of our lives. It makes up the soles of the shoes that we walk in every day and the containers that hold our food and drink as we travel. Plastic is used to keep items sterilised in hospitals and kitchen settings. We use plastic in so many different ways every single day that the drive to ditch plastic may be a little confusing. Can we as a society live plastic-free?
The word plastic is derived from the Greek verb plassein, which means “to mould or shape”. Plastic was a groundbreaking piece of technology that let us move away from the natural world. Instead of building items from gold, bones and porcelain, we started to use celluloid in the 1800s.
Celluloid was the first human-made plastic. It has been used for film, buttons, and guitar pics. Once a popular option, but quite uncommon today, one of the reasons it isn’t used anymore is because it is extremely flammable.
Plastics are polymers, complex molecules composed of many repeated subunits. The first synthetic polymers were developed in the 20th century, but there are many natural polymers such as silk and DNA. Loads of things are made of synthetic polymers; wires, helmets, sweaters, non-stick pans, bike tyres, tennis rackets - the list goes on and on. All of these things are plastic!
Do we need Plastic?
We once lived in a world without plastic and we as a species do not need it to survive. That being said, there are a lot of ways that plastic has helped us and maybe even some ways plastic has become a necessity.
But - the biggest threat to our planet right now is single-use plastic. Single-use plastic is any type of plastic that is made just to be thrown away. Think plastic films, grocery bags, water bottles etc. - they’re all single-use. Every year we produce 300 million tons of plastic and half of it is disposable. That’s an issue!
How do we Stop Using Single-Use Plastic?
The first step is to change what you can. Do you always pick up a coffee on your way to the office? Takeaway cups and straws are often made of plastic! Why not try making a coffee at home, or bringing your own reusable cup?
Making little changes as individuals will have a massive impact. We’ve put together a shortlist of ideas to help you get those gears moving. If you have anything to add, please let us know in the comments below!
- Meal Prep: Make your lunches at home! Meal deals are a great and easy option when you’re on the go - but they sure do create a lot of waste.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes: Bamboo grows like a weed! It’s biodegradable and cleans the air we breathe. It just makes sense to swap your pesky plastic one for a better alternative.
- Beeswax Wraps: Just like you would use cling film, these wraps keep your food safe and retain freshness. The best part is, you can use them again and again!
- Feminine Hygiene: Did you know that tampons and pads are one of the top 5 items to wash up on the shores of the UK? That sucks! It’s time to change our habits. Thankfully there are multi-use options available today, like the nudie cup.
- Say No to Plastic Straws: If you need a straw, there are many options available on the market today that are reusable. Just pop one in your bag and whip it out whenever you need it!
- Bring Your Bag: One of the easiest ways to reduce your waste is to bring your own bag. Whether you’re grocery shopping or just popping into town, you never know when you might need to carry something away.
- Solid Shampoo and Conditioner: There are so many different solid shampoo options to choose from! They work so well and are easy to travel with. Bonus points- they’re plastic-free!
- Shave Better: An estimated 163 million disposable razors end up in landfill every year. There are too many other options available today to let that slide. Try waxing or purchasing a long term razor.
- Skin Care: We love treating ourselves to relaxing and refreshing skincare treatments, but at what cost? Most items available come in single-use plastic tubs. But - there are alternatives available!
- Washing Up: Most of us are familiar with washing up liquid. It usually comes in a big plastic bottle, but it doesn’t have to! Solid blocks are available today that let you clean while cleaning up the planet too.
Living without plastic entirely may be a hard task to achieve, but cutting down the amount of plastic you use will make a big difference. Here at Naked Pinecone, we believe that every choice you make matters. Every little decision you make to treat the planet a little bit better will have a huge impact.
When you’ve finished using your products that have plastic containers, start to slowly swap them out with alternatives. Take note of the amount of plastic that touches your hands every day, it may shock you.
Cut down on your plastic and show the planet you care.