Plastic Pollution: Basic Facts and Tips to Stop Plastic Pollution

If you’ve been paying attention and following me on Instagram you would know about World Environment Day that happened on the 8th of June. World Environment Day occurs every year with a theme. This year’s theme was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. The aim is to get people to stop using single-use plastics, such as plastic straws, shopping bags, and to start using sustainable alternatives. This would help decrease plastic pollution not only on land but in oceans as well.

In light of the theme I have decided to give up four plastic products for sustainable alternatives. There is one more thing – actually food – that I have also given up (it will make sense as you read). In this post I’ll show you three of the five plastics I have swapped (or given up) for sustainable alternatives.

  1. Plastic Straws

It takes over 100 years for a plastic straw – something that you use for 5 minutes – to decompose. Sea turtles and other creatures choke on straws either by swallowing them or suffocate by getting tangled in them.

Sustainable solution – I’ve stopped using straws. Period. There are biodegradable and metallic straws but they aren’t that popular in South Africa (yet). I’ve stopped using them and drink straight from the glass

2.  Water bottles

What’s the point of buying bottled water when I can carry my own bottle everyday? They’re not reusable and are highly toxic to the environment. Plastic bottles that end up in landfills or oceans decompose for 450 years.

Sustainable solution – I use my own reusable plastic water bottle. Metallic and glass bottles are preferable but if you already have a reusable plastic bottle don’t throw it away! Keep using it. I fill mine up whenever  I go out (which rarely happens). They’re great to keep and you’ll save money by bringing your own bottle.

3. Tuna

You must be so confused right now. Believe it or not but tuna has the most micro plastics than any other seafood. I did not like tuna that much to begin with. Every time I ate it I felt nauseous afterwards, but I need protein and it’s cheap. When I did research on plastic pollution I learnt about micro plastics. I did more research about micro plastics and found out about how much plastic is in the tuna we eat. It put me off tuna completely.

Sustainable solution: I’ve stopped eating tuna. If you still eat meat then look for healthier protein alternatives. I’m not vegan but I barely eat meat and seafood. I eat a lot of beans, chicken, broccoli and nuts, and on rare occasions I eat sushi and prawns. Don’t judge me, I’m still making the slow transition into veganism!

Recycling Plastic

Most plastics are recyclable – the problem is that people don’t recycle them. There are many recycling companies that collect and recycle plastics. Here in Johannesburg we have PikItUp which is the main waste management company of the city. A few years ago the company implemented recycling services.

Every Thursday the recycling truck comes to collect all recyclable trash (plastic, paper, glass, etc) and every Friday all non-recyclables are collected. This is how I recycle all my plastic waste (and other recyclables of course).

If you do have plastic waste then recycle it. The goal is to reduce plastic use but continue to recycle whatever you have. It can be hard to avoid using plastic since most packaging is plastic. One of the best ways to stop unnecessary plastic packaging from being sold is to write. Write to companies who you think use unnecessary amounts of plastic packaging. They will change…eventually.

I hope you found this post helpful and decide to make a change to help beat plastic pollution!

Kayla Shivana

Follow my cruelty-free and sustainable journey on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

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