We are surrounded by plastic. From our computers, toothbrush, toys, pens, to the bottles we drink from we use plastic all the time. We have successfully created a plastic epidemic whereby our man made waste now covers the earths corners destroying our ecosystems.
The statistics are alarming. Around 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic debris are in the ocean causing a vast number of marine life, sea birds and sea mammal deaths - many have plastic in them, become entangled in the plastic, drown from it or choke to death from it. As well as marine life being affected by it ocean acidification is a growing problem and scientists have already identified a number of Dead zones where no life organisms can grow as a result.
Another staggering statistic around 500 BILLION single use plastic bags are used annually globally - this translates to every one minute ONE MILLION plastic bags are being used across the globe. Most of the plastic that we use end up in landfills and in our waterways where it can take between 20 - 1000 years for the plastic to simply break up not break down into smaller pieces all the while releasing toxic chemicals.
Moving from the global picture to an Australian context, we send around 36,700 tonnes of plastic to landfill every year which equates to 4,000 bags a minute or 230,000 per hour. If each Australian family used 1 less plastic bag a week that would equate to 253 million bags less every year. So what are some small shifts to our lifestyle we can make to rise above the plastic epidemic we have created?
Here's a list of some of my own lifestyle shifts to help this crisis:
1. Say no to plastic shopping bags
2. Say no to plastic bottles of water or plastic bottled drinks
3. Say no to disposable coffee cups - bring your own to-go mug or actually take a minute to sit down and have your coffee!
4. Say no to single use plastic packaging, plastic straws and plastic utensils
5. Say yes to bamboo toothbrushes
6. If you do use plastic make sure it is recycled and then make sure you recycle it in the correct recycling bins after use
7. Spread the word and tell people the facts and statistics and the small shifts we can make in our lifestyles that will have a huge impact
Plastic Free July is an excellent awareness campaign that encourages us to change our habits, think about what we are using, why we are using it and the greater impact for when we do use it.
At Bhumi we would like to encourage everyone to make these changes for July and beyond to help stem the disastrous consequences of plastic.
Image by - @vonwong
About the Author: Vinita is the Founder of Bhumi Organic Cotton and passionate about an Earth Life Balance.