Let’s talk about . . . plastic

 

I just arrived back to campus from spring break, I went to the stunning Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was an amazing get away, but I could not help but see the many forms of plastic on the ground as my view of paradise started to fade. Being a person who felt very inclined to want to pick up every piece and spend my vacation doing that I was very bothered seeing this. I started thinking about home where I live where I do not see this much trash. I started to think about why it was on the ground, could this be a more populated area? But, enough is enough, it does not matter how many people were in that area, the fact of the matter is that people are not respecting the environment around them.

I was still able to enjoy my vacation, but I reached a breaking point when a red solo cup graced my calf in the ocean. I ripped it out of the water and took it to my towel to later put it in the recycling. I know, it was spring break, college students everywhere were drinking, but what happened that they could not recycle a red solo cup? I started walking back to the water and my mind was flooded with documentaries that I have watched of deformed animals, dead whales, and the garbage patch island. Sea turtles with straws in their nose, dead birds with stomachs full of bottle caps, it doesn’t end. Plastic is affecting so many other organisms than people, and most people do not see this.

Some of the most common places where can you find plastic

  • Bottles
  • Plastic bags
  • Toothpaste
  • Many beauty products containers
  • Feminine products
  • Pens, and led pencils

Of course, any average person uses at least one of these a day, and if you do not I applaud you! Although some people may not be able to avoid all of these on an every day basis, it does not hut to try a new thing to avoid others.

  • Bottles – there are many forms of bottles that people can be using that they do not need to be using. You can use reusable bottles that can be metal, glass, and even plastic (the reusable ones will last a long time). It is very important to take into consideration how many bottles or cups a person could be throughout their day. It’s very easy to use a reusable water bottle when being a college student or working in a workplace. Although it may not always be accessible to a person where they are occupied at the moment, you can always buy a water jug!
  • Plastic bags – plastic bags are one of the most plentiful objects I see littered around. As Katy Perry says they are drifting through the air. Even on my college campus, where you do not see trash much, I will always see a plastic bag somewhere on a branch. This is a very easy thing to avoid, you can buy reusable shopping bags and take them everywhere with you. There are many different types of reusable bags, and you can get them in different styles. The reusable bag I use has chickens all over it.  I know some stores will give discounts if you bring a bag to use.
  • Toothpaste – sometimes toothpaste will have plastic in it, these are used to clean your teeth but may not always be good. A major brand with plastic beads in it is crest. This is very easy to avoid as a person can just buy a different brand without micro beads. Although micro beads can be found in toothpaste they also can be found in exfoliating scrubs for your face. There are many face washes that a person can get without the unnatural plastic micro beads. As well as more natural face washes there are natural exfoliates like crushed almonds, charcoal, and sugar.
  • Many beauty products containers – These are plastic and often don’t contain much product. A way this can be avoided is buy a product in the largest size container you can find. Or, you can keep the containers and make new products. My roommate, Veronica, who you may have read some of her articles, makes many products for herself including scrubs and makeups. Lush is a place where if you use all a product you can take the containers back and they offer some deals for recycling. Also, over the winter break I took old deodorant containers and made a new bug repellent deodorant with essential oils.
  • Feminine products – now if you are a male you can clearly skip this part, unless you would like to relay this information to the ladies in your life. Tampons come in small plastic containers, unless you get the ones that you insert. Which is a great way to avoid plastic, but still there is the health worry about TSS. A great product that not many people know about is called a menstrual cup, a popular brand of this is called the diva cup. It is a small silicone cup that can be used for up to 12 hours and reused many times! I can attest to this product, I have been using for about five months and it works great! Read into it if you’re interested in saving the environment and using products better for your health!
  • Pens, and pencils – often these products are plastic and very cheap plastic due to them being disposable. But there are ways around this, although most pens are plastic, often you can buy refills for them instead of buying new pens. It’s the same with led pencils, you can buy led to replace them. If you buy more expensive products they will last longer than the cheaper ones.

 

The above products I mentioned can be used in a person’s everyday life and can be easily avoidable. There are many more things a person can do or use to prevent unnecessary plastic use. Here are some ideas!

  • Of course, recycle. But, recycle properly, clean the containers out and take the labels off. Do not put your recycling out in a trash bag, they are not recyclable and can be easily mistaken for trash
  • Do not buy the plastic sheets to cover tables that can be used once, invest in cloths (at my house we buy cheap bed sheets), and reuse them.
  • Recycle old electronics
  • Instead of k cups, get the reusable ones
  • Get toothbrushes that will be more durable, or electric ones that the cap is replaced. There also is a toothbrush called the bamboo brush, which is extremely environmentally friendly! Also, use biodegradable floss!
  • Re-use containers such as containers you get juice in (you could start making your own natural juice)!

If you have any questions about ways you can further a more eco-friendly lifestyle please contact me at victoria.labar001@albright.edu, I would love to chat!

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