Going Plastic Free

What would your life look like if you were plastic free? It is hard to imagine with all the plastic packaging and consumer goods that are in our daily lives.

Plastics are not good for us. They have filled up our landfills. The EPA estimates that over 12% of our current waste stream is made up of plastics and of that the largest category of materials is food containers and packaging. Plastics are now in our ocean  and have created their own island called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And the health studies coming out about plastics, especially those that come into contact with food or beverage, have indicated initially they might be cancer-causing according to a Scientific America article.  Although the plastics industry denies such reports it is understandable given that over 50% of industry’s revenues make up plastic packaging, according to  the report, The Future of Plastics of Packaging.

A new trend is emerging to go plastic free. Essentially that means no product or good purchases that are made from or come in plastic packaging. If it sounds like this might be difficult, it is!

Here are a few resources that provide some tips and tricks on kicking the plastic habit!

  • My Plastic Free: A blogger who is blogging about how she is going plastic free. She is in the process of publishing a book called ‘Plastic Free’.
  • How We Tried to be Plastic Free: Rodale publishing did a blog in 2011 on attempts by their staff to be plastic free. A great idea for a company try to educate staff on plastic use.
  • Life Without Plastic: A site that provides products that are all plastic free to help those who want to rid plastic from their lives.
  • Life Less Plastic: A blogger, Jeanne Haegele who has been plastic free since 2007 and has her own journey described in her blog.

Reduce Your Plastic Use and Improve your Health and the Environment

There has been a lot written about plastic lately. Not only is it harmful to the environment but overwhelming studies are finding plastic harmful to your health. Consider these facts;

  • Plastics production produces 14 percent of toxic air emissions in the U.S., and each plant emits an average of 300-500 gallons of contaminated wastewater per minute. (It’s Easy Being Green book)
  • 100 million plastic bottles dumped in US every year. Each bottle will take over 1,000 years to biodegrade.  (SIGG)
  • BPA (a plastic hardening agent prevalent in bottles, cups and lined tin cans) is so prevalent in food packaging and other consumer items that prior research has detected its presence in at least 90% of Americans. A group of 20 San Francisco residents had 66% less BPA in their urine after three days on a diet of fresh, organic and unpackaged food, scientists found. (Silent Spring Institute)
  • 500 billion plastic bags or wraps are thrown away in America each year and are created with 12 million barrels of oil. (DropthePlasticBag.org)

Find out the facts about plastic for yourself with these resources;

Plastic Disclosure is a great website that offers facts and information about the harmful effects of plastic.

GreenBiz released this article a few weeks ago about the plastic use in corporations.

New York Times released this article on the issue of plastic and waste

If you want a more lighthearted approach, view the movie Bag It, that was released early in 2011. It discusses all the issues with plastic. For a review, go to this blog entry.

Bag it! Movie

Recently at the Boulder Film Festival the movie, Bag It! was presented. A very entertaining, funny and delightful film about how plastic affects our life. Featuring Jeb based in Telluride, a normal guy, just trying to find out the answers about plastic and how it affects our environment, community, oceans and health. It provides excellent statistics and information about how plastic gets consumed in our daily life.  You can purchase the DVD online or go to their ‘Showings’ page to see when it will be coming to your area.

They also have a ‘Take Action’ page of specific actions you can take to eliminate plastic from your life.