Plastic is everywhere... even in places where people aren't aware of it.
This is true of polyester-based clothing, for example. It's also on the ocean floor...
There's a lot of talk about it in the media these days, and the urgency to act is growing. And as the public is slow to act, the government is preparing to create new laws. It's a somewhat nebulous concept for us. Common sense should apply, but it also seems to be insufficient.
There are a multitude of actions that can simply be taken. Simple changes in our habits can make a big difference... Let's not forget, it's us as consumers who have the most power in all this.
We'd like to share a few ideas with you. Some you may already be familiar with, others that go a little further.
As plastic is omnipresent, this list is by no means exhaustive, but is intended to be a good start towards something better...
1. Bring your bags
500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. A real catastrophe for the environment!
As we often hear, bags handed out at the checkout when shopping at the grocery store are being used less and less. This is not quite the case for fruit and vegetable bags, which are only used for a few minutes, nor for shopping malls.
Having reusable bags at all times is simple and considerably reduces plastic use.
2. No more plastic straw
Americans use around 500 million straws every day. Of the 8 million tonnes of plastic that end up in the world's oceans every year, plastic straws are by no means the most prevalent. Although straws represent only a tiny fraction of the plastic polluting the oceans, their size makes them one of the most harmful polluters. Not only are they plentiful, but they are also consumed by marine animals and fish, which is why many activists want to reduce their use.
3. Abandon plastic bottles
It's too easy to drag around your reusable bottle, and drinking water is almost everywhere in Quebec and Canada!
It's estimated that 480 billion plastic bottles are sold worldwide every year, that's over 15,000 per second. Although the massive growth in these figures comes from Asian consumers, we certainly have a role to play.
Most plastic bottles are made from a large quantity of the petroleum product known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Adding the oil used to transport the bottles, if you fill a plastic bottle with liquid so that it's a quarter full, that's about the amount of oil needed to make the bottle. For a single-use item, that's HUGE.
4. Finito the polyester
Due to its low manufacturing costs, polyester is one of the most widely used synthetic fibers in the world. However, they present a definite environmental risk.
Firstly, it's made from petroleum; secondly, the dyes used require a toxic carrier; and thirdly, when this synthetic fiber is washed, plastic micro-particles are released without being captured by our water treatment systems and end up in our precious waterways.
Polyester has the advantage of being infinitely recyclable. As a result, there are recycled polyester alternatives or so-called eco polyesters. These products are commendable, but in no way prevent micro-particles from entering our environment, and the fact remains that the garment (plastic) will take centuries to decompose in our landfill sites.
5. Denounce and refuse over-packaging
Over-packaging is a calamity of our century. It's invasive and so unnecessary.
The alternative of bulk produce is now readily available in most regions. We can also take our containers to our local butcher or fishmonger to avoid trays.
We can also support local agriculture by going directly to the producer and bringing our own containers. And if we can't find what we're looking for without over-packaging, we should tell our grocer, and why not simply unwrap our purchases directly in the store and leave them there before checking out?
See how simple gestures can have a positive impact on the environment? It's time to take action! And all these gestures clearly demonstrate that being more ecological can also be more economical! Do you feel like a drop of water in the ocean? There's strength in numbers, so join the movement...