It is most unfortunate that the International Plastic Bag Free Day falls on the 3rd of July. As it happens, in the United States many people are caught up in the preparations for the Independence Day and have this patriotic holiday in mind days before it happens. Many travel long distances to celebrate with friends and family.
Nothing gets lost and wasted since July has many more days on which environment and ecology can move into the center of our attention.
Since habits - good or bad - are formed over a period of 28 days or so, you can start right away and consciously try to eliminate as much plastic from your life as possible. It will not always be as easy as ditching the plastic bag in the grocery store, but it is worth trying. Some things in your household or office will have to be replaced and some investments have to be made, but once this is done, you will really appreciate the changes you see around. Money often is a problem, but if you look carefully around you household, you will most certainly find reusable jars made of glass that can be recycled and used to hold various utensils, household items, or simply to store food in the fridge.
There is at least one reason to ditch the plastic, especially the grocery plastic bag, and it is a very good one - the almost catastrophic environmental pollution. Millions of plastic bags are being tossed away daily and pollute land and water. They are not biodegradable and pose danger to many species, most notable whales and other aquatic animals.
If you have a choice in your local store, always pick a paper bag and try to use it at least one more time. But it would be even better if you brought your own reusable canvass or cotton bag, shopping net or shopping basket. This is what people used to do in the past, before the plastic bag was even invented. Some of you may even remember that milk and coke were sold in glass bottles.
Environmentally conscious and concerned customers have to demand change. If we voted with our feet every time we went shopping, things could change very soon. Say, we stopped buying peanut butter packaged in plastic jars and bought only the one that is sold in glass containers. Do you think things would change? I can imagine, of course, that for some consumers that extra dollar or two on groceries is beyond imagination, but they should consider the long-term damage that is being done to the environment and to their bodies since most plastic containers are loaded with the hormone disrupting chemicals like the BPA.
Plastic Free July isn't only about personal habits. It is to inspire others and to rise environmental consciousness in communities, schools, and business. It is to support research on bio-degradable packaging. It is to challenge to commonly practices and make it clear to our politicians that we demand change.
Much has been written on climate change, but somehow the environmental pollution remains hidden in the background. The motives are not always clear, so I would say: "Follow the money." Big interest groups manipulate the media and the data is not always conclusive, but unlike the climate that depends so much on the activity of the sun, environmental pollution is 100% man made. Something has to be done and it has to be done quickly!
What can you do right away
- buy or make couple or more reusable cotton or canvass shopping tote bags
- buy produce in bulk whenever you can and use your own reusable produce bags (people will stare at you!)
- use biodegradable dog poop bags
- recycle and reuse glass containers
- replace your ordinary toothbrushes with natural wooden or bamboo ones
- ditch one-way plastic utensils like party forks, spoons, plates, and cups, and use biodegradable alternatives or regular household glass, china and cutlery
- use re-usable fabric, wood, bamboo, glass, china, and metal items in your household
- install water filtration system in your home and use only durable, reusable glass or metal sports water bottles to carry with you to the gym or elsewhere
- use re-usable coffee cups and mugs instead of one way, throw away cups
- minimize restaurant take outs and choose to eat in
- when shopping, choose products packaged in sustainable packaging
- pack school and work lunches in paper bags or reusable glass or metal containers
- never leave plastic bottles or plastic bags behind in nature when you travel
- tell the manager of your grocery store that you wish to see sustainable and earth-friendly packaging and more organic products
- organize earth and environment conscious parties to educate others and increase the awareness of environmental pollution
- join the Plastic Free July movement and help clean up beaches from plastic
There is so much more that can be done and you can set up a daily challenge for yourself and your family or friends. Set a positive example and be the change you want to see.
I believe that collectively we can clean up our act before it is too late. I would love to see plastic bag free August, plastic bag free September, October, November, and so on.
Your other bag may be PRADA, but the one you use to carry your groceries home should not be made of plastic.
We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrowed it form out children and grandchildren.
In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique
This article was first published on Jimmo Shirts Blog