Home Living Sustainably Daily Examples to Manage Plastic Use

Daily Examples to Manage Plastic Use

by Ariel Toh
Environmental stewardship for good plastics management habits.

We, as human beings, are amongst the most powerful living beings on earth to make a difference in the world. One way to look at this is how our daily consumption behaviours of products, such as plastics, can also impact other living creatures. To open up your eyes about how far plastic use can impact other living beings, you will find a shocking example in a real-life documentary by “Midway Film”. 

Plastic: Planet’s Greatest Hidden Enemy

How tragic it is to discover billions of bodies of deceased wildlife. People will be on pins and needles to visually see abdomens filled with human-manufactured products. Even worse, one of the most toxic products with polluting properties – PLASTIC. Beyond the harmful effects of plastic on biodiversity and nature, this material continues to sweep away rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It is often not properly disposed of, leading to illegal open-air burning, or ends up in landfills or as litter. Although we have long appreciated plastic for its resilience and affordability, it is very harmful to our planet’s environment. We should definitely learn more about the properties of plastics.

As daily users, we can experience the harmful effects if we don’t exercise caution while using plastic products. For instance, trillions and more of human population are often microwaving food in plastic containers.

Well, if you are one of them, you may want to rethink microwaving plastics. Scientific research has proven that the heating process on plastic containers can release harmful chemical properties into your food. We can relook at plastic and health. Sadly, microplastics surround our world and environment. Plastic piles up on mountains, polluting villages, distracting busy urban cities, and crowding populated coastal communities.  This means that the average human is exposed to airborne microplastics, constituting 30% of atmospheric pollution.

Since COVID-19, we have globally tried to wind down the discomfort of wearing face masks to protect our health. Certainly, we do not want a future of wearing face masks to avoid airborne disease by plastic contamination.

Person behing plastic with a mask

Image from freepik.com

Global Agenda on Plastic Use

Efforts to mitigate the manufacturing of harmful plastic and control the use of non-degradable plastic have been strengthened by international institutions and policymakers. Today, mountains of evidence about the dangers of plastic are reported, and many governments, as well as organisations, are taking an active approach in order to provide solutions to this issue. Since the year 2021, a policy has been enforced for all European countries to eradicate single-use plastics. This includes plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, cotton buds, or any products made of non-biodegradable plastic. The same goes for other global nations such as Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. However, these international regulations are not a primary solution to plastic problems without social participation. Industry transformation on its own cannot prevent environmental burdens or unsustainable consequences. How important is it to you to avoid plastic products?

Use and Choose Products Wisely

Yes, our actions as consumers also matter. Let us give this a wiser thought, reflecting on the example of a tourism operator which is among the billions of businesses worldwide to support plastic-free initiatives. This specific example of El Nido Resorts shows the path towards conserving the area’s unique biodiversity through low-impact tourism using plastic-free solutions. International environmental organizations recognize such initiatives as “Plastic Free July”. Undeniably, going plastic free can be a norm.

Simple Practices to Avoid Waste and Environmental Pollution

Governments and companies aren’t the only ones that can take action. Plastic usage is a matter of our habits; even you, as a consumer, can decide to take a different, more sustainable path. Let’s have a look at some ideas and simple steps that anyone can take:

Choose Wiser When Purchasing and Shopping

We can adopt various smart strategies for plastic alternatives when selecting daily accessories or any daily work/shopping items. For instance, opting for accessories made from bio-degradable materials such as bamboo, cork, or recycled plants. This means saying goodbye to metals or hard-casing accessories decorated with plastic designs. We can also benefit from using reusable shopping bags made from recycled fabric. On the other hand, we simply bring our own reusable BPA-free containers to tailor the volume of products we need. This is because some retailers and supermarkets will not charge us during the shopping check-out if we bring our own reusable bags, which are plastic-free. 

Choose products wisely

Image from freepik.com

Why are specific coffee chains and drinking bars selling in-house plastic-free straws, reusable mugs, and stainless steel cutleries?  These options can be reused and are more durable, thereby preventing the dangers of single-use plastic waste.
Natural decorations are not an exception. Sustainable decorations can be a good choice when a seasonal party is approaching. Well, indeed, they are everywhere! Dried leaves or getting creative with natural sand can make an interesting texture deco, leaving your guests impressed! Another common plastic items that follows us everywhere we travel by vehicle are floor mats and vehicle accessories. Light-weight carbon-made floor mats and custom-fit mats crafted from recycled waste materials can be discovered.

Have You Discovered What Properties are Added to Your Products?

In a rural area with limited resources, a person may find it necessary to use 100% plastic products despite their understanding that it is not the most sustainable option. In emergencies or when a person has no plastic-free alternatives, it is essential that the “ingredients” section or “made-of” information of a product be examined carefully.

The vast commercial production of plastics today are now certified to be more bio-degradable.

Since 2016, we have found a variety of bio-degradable additives mixed into bio-plastic products. Technical terms such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can be found instead. However, let us continue to be critical about these products as well since studies reveal these “green” alternatives can harbour surprising toxicity levels, potentially exceeding that of conventional plastics. Biodegradable and compostable plastics, often promoted as environmentally friendly solutions, might not be the magic bullet we hoped for.

Get Involved in Customer Distribution

Plastic use has a rebound effect on e-commerce, as global shoppers find it more convenient to manage their purchases through e-commerce platforms. We are likely to use more plastic packaging when we choose to have our purchased products delivered from retail to our homes or offices. Nevertheless, online shoppers can get more involved in the distribution of parcels or packages. This can mean switching to simple steps such as opting for self-collection mode from the retail stores or visiting the retail warehouse and packaging centre itself to avoid more plastic wrap use. We keep healthier by engaging in physical activity during our trips to the retail and packaging centre, despite the added travel time.

Be Courteous and Kind When Disposing or Re-using Products

Although we are aware of the bio-degradability and sustainability of a product, the majority of people globally have problems managing waste. Zero waste is more desirable when it comes to product use. Let us be more courteous when disposing or re-using items to ensure zero waste on planet Earth. We can follow disposal instructions labelled on the product or follow creative tips for re-using packaging or used cutleries. There are also smart steps to managing waste by organizing the type of plastics and type of items based on their manufactured properties.

Alternative materials to plastic
Image from freepik.com

Shopping for Better Plastic Alternatives

At Green Cloud Nine, you can find many interesting eco-products as the company is fully committed to eco-friendly products and practices. Green Cloud Nine emphasizes the circular economy approach and the 17 SDGs for all eco-shoppers and sustainability-conscious communities. 

What may interest you is that at Green Cloud Nine, you can discover some plastic-free products:

  • Travel this summer with plastic free toiletries. If you are off to a mini adventure during this European summer, you may find this product very handy as it is lightweight and certified to be environmentally friendly! 
  • What about a daily tool that we need every day? Such as a toothbrush to keep our smile beautiful? This bamboo toothbrush certainly has a high capacity to ensure that our daily tools are near to zero harmful effects.
  • How about re-thinking the ways we can go minimal at our house or daily living spaces when using containers or jars? Ever thought of using multi-purpose jars to store food, daily vitamins, or tasty treats? This multi-purpose jar comes in handy to store food and to make tasty Kefir
  • Keen to start growing your veggies and flowers this summer? Or navigate composting habits? Well, you certainly cannot run away from this ideal wooden vertical garden system!
  • When switching to smarter accessories or finding a perfect plastic-free gift, a BPA-free product is a key factor. You can find such products to last for many years.  

If Someone is Plastic Free, So Can I

For many decades, the world has consumed trillion tonnes of plastic, resulting in substantial waste and carbon emissions. Microplastics pose indirect health implications, and the best way to protect global health ecosystems is to seek alternatives. Presently, bio-based products are plentiful for us to choose from. Explore more eco-friendly products at Green Cloud Nine, which gives you plenty of alternative options. As daily consumers, we can begin upscaling our support for practising smarter strategies and habits. We have a duty to dispose of products and items more carefully, even if we make mindful purchases and use no plastics. Societal behaviour and the larger community significantly influence the use of a product. This information motivates you to be a plastic-free changemaker. You should not fear making positive changes or doubt your ability to go plastic-free.


Ariel

Hi, I am Ariel Toh. Trained in sustainability research from academic institutes, I take meticulous detail to article write-ups. By working with like-minded professionals and companies, I believe we can harness “more sustainability” in the world. I share articles here which suit a wide-profile of audiences seeking valuable information.


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1 comment

Nereida Ayudan July 12, 2024 - 4:02 pm

The clarity and simplicity of your site layout are impressive.

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