It’s hard to imagine life without plastic. It’s as if plastic has always been there, given how much we rely on it. After all, plastic was designed to last forever. But somehow, we as humans became confused along the way, believed they were disposable and started designing thousands of items with it that we used just once and then threw away.
This is one of many misconceptions about plastic that need to be debunked. That’s why, in this post, we will address some common myths about plastic and share some easy ways you can reduce your plastic consumption.
MYTH #1: Plastic breaks down.
Plastic doesn’t break down, it breaks up. Because plastic was designed to defy nature, to last forever, it will not decompose and will persist in the environment for a very long time. Rather than simply decomposing naturally, it tends to break up into smaller and smaller bits of plastic which eventually become microplastics. Although really small, these tiny bits of plastic pose a huge threat to both environmental and human health.
MYTH #2: Plastics take 450 years to break up.
There are claims that plastics take 450 years to break up. But plastic was only invented 150 years ago and was really only introduced to the common household in the 1950’s. So how would anyone really know how that plastic can take 450 years to break down? The best assumption to make is that any number of years is far too long and that plastic was designed not to break down or decompose.
MYTH #3: You can see the plastics floating on the ocean.
A common misconception is that you can see a large swirling mass of plastic floating around on the surface of the ocean. The truth is the majority of the plastics present in the ocean aren’t plastic covers, plastic bottles and other big items of plastic. It’s more of a plastic soup of microplastics, consisting of tiny plastic particles and fibers that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Microplastics in the ocean, which do not decompose, will be eaten by aquatic life and eventually make their way up the food chain into humans.
MYTH #4: The plastics present in the ocean are majorly from the dumpings of industries and ships.
While there is a significant contribution to the plastic dumped by the industries and carrier ships in the oceans, most of the plastics come from items we use every day — single-use plastic bags, bottles, straws and containers. So, it’s not just the industries who are to blame, we are to blame too.
MYTH #5: Recycling alone is the solution to reducing plastic pollution.
Recycling plastic is not the solution to our plastic pollution problem. This is only one way to manage the plastic that already exists in landfills and the oceans. Currently, recycling is not that efficient and about half of the plastic stuff we recycle is not actually recyclable, so it ends up being dumped in landfills anyway. Only when we stop using plastic items can we make a dent in the amount of plastic pollution in the environment.
Now that we’ve debunked some myths, you might be wondering how you can help with our plastic crisis. So here are 5 easy ways you can reduce your plastic consumption and minimize what ends up in our landfills and oceans.
- Stop buying plastic bottles of water
Not only will using a reusable water bottle help out the planet, you’ll save a lot of money too. Our Roamer Bottles are a great choice if you’re in the market for a new one. Made with stainless steel and vacuum insulation technology, these bottles will keep your drinks cold or hot for hours and will easily become your new best friend.
- Skip the produce bags at the grocery store
All those veggies and fruit have already been touched by many hands, but a plastic bag isn’t going to help protect them much. Instead, ditch those pesky and unnecessary bags and opt for a more eco-friendly option: reusable produce bags that you can throw in the wash after each use.
- Say no to disposable straws
If you love using straws, invest in a glass or stainless steel one. There’s just no need for disposable straws.
- Invest in reusable utensils & containers
Bring your own containers, cups, and utensils with you when you get food or drinks to-go so you won’t waste any packaging. And store a set of these, along with reusable bags, in your car so they’re handy when you need them.
- Make your own cleaning products
Save yourself a trip to the store and DIY your own cleaning products with vinegar and water. Not only will it be less toxic but it will also eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.
It takes a lot of work to be a conscious consumer, but it will pay off in the long run because you’ll be saving money, your health and the planet at the same time.