In a modern world where nearly anything you can think of can be delivered to your doorstep in a matter of hours, it is no shock that the amount of plastic waste in our world is skyrocketing. While things like online shopping have made our lives infinitely bigger and more convenient, this convenience has come at a high environmental cost.
It is estimated that close to 14 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year, with this number expected to rise to 29 million tons by 2040. While we can’t totally eliminate plastic from the world we live in today, we can take small, incremental steps towards a plastic-free future. We have the power to reduce the flow of plastic waste into our ecosystems–but first, we must be willing to take an honest look at our own lives and consider where we might be able to do things a little bit differently.
Making the commitment to going plastic or package-free isn’t about overhauling the way you live your life, it’s about enhancing it. It’s about making small, simple changes in our individual lives so that we can collectively achieve a cleaner, healthier future for our planet and for all the life it delicately holds.
The Packaging Problem
From the protective casing around your groceries to the packaging that comes with each delivery on your doorstep, it seems like plastic is inescapable. Even if we try our best to avoid it–especially single-use plastics–a quick scan around the local grocery store can make this seem like an impossible task.
The reality is, we live in a world of packaging pollution. According to the EPA, the average American creates about 4.4 pounds of trash per day, with only 1.5 pounds of that being recyclable or compostable. Due to factors like poor product design and lack of infrastructure regarding plastic recycling and collection, the vast majority of packaging waste is either sent to landfills or ends up somewhere in our ecosystems.
Everything that we consume in our day-to-day lives has an environmental impact. In fact, in 2020 the EPA estimated that nearly 42% of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced through the use of goods, including food items and packaging. This statistic sends a potent message that our current way of life simply isn’t sustainable for the long-term health and prosperity of our planet – or for ourselves.To preserve our environmental future for the next generation, we must not only consume less but consume smarter.
A Few Easy Tips For Plastic & Package Free Living
Now more than ever, it is crucial we explore why going package free matters and how we can move closer towards a plastic-free lifestyle. While recycling has become more widely available and relatively commonplace, sadly the vast majority of the plastic we drop into the recycling bin doesn’t end up getting recycled at all. It may make us feel better to toss a plastic container into the recycling bin over the garbage can, but in many cases it doesn’t make much of a difference.
To achieve robust environmental change on a macro level, we must begin with adjusting our lifestyles at the micro-level first. It starts with individual people making changes in their personal lives, sharing this wisdom within their local communities, and then allowing these changes to weave themselves into the fabric of their culture. We can create new social norms when we commit to our practice of them and encourage those around us to do the same.
To begin reducing your personal plastic footprint, it is essential to know who you’re buying from. Look for businesses that not only source responsibly, but limit their own impact by using reused, fully recyclable, or compostable packaging. Brands like Spinster Sisters available in our in-studio boutique, offer zero-waste, plastic-free packaging in addition to super clean ingredients. You can enjoy these products confidently knowing there won’t be any harm to you or to the planet!
Shopping small and local is a great way to begin reducing the amount of packaging and plastic waste in your life. Unlike the big box retail giants, small, local businesses know their customers – this causes them to be much less likely to overproduce and because their customers are local, there is far less packaging and carbon pollution involved in getting their products into the hands of their customers. When you can, skip Amazon and buy locally.
Reuse reuse reuse! From shopping bags, to water bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, and take out containers, you can massively reduce your plastic footprint by being prepared for the moments where single-use plastic is most commonly used.
- Keep reusable grocery bags in your car so you won’t forget them and don’t forget to throw in some reusable veggie bags, too!
- To go totally package-free at the grocery store, consider buying items in bulk using your own reusable containers.
- Stash a stainless steel mug or tumbler in your car or bag for anytime you might stop for a coffee or smoothie when out on-the-go.
- Store a set of reusable eating utensils in your purse so you can skip the plastic silverware at fast-casual restaurants – you can shop stylish, reusable flatware in our Ohana Online shop or in the studio.
- Don’t hesitate to bring your own reusable container to take your food to-go from full-service restaurants.
- Bring your reusable water bottle with you, everywhere, all the time.
- Explore Refill shops like our favorite one down the street from Ohana–Joy Fill
Remember, it is important to start with small, attainable goals and then allow them to grow organically from there. It starts with commitment–commitment to making tiny changes, over and over again, until they eventually become a new way of life.