Say NO to plastic


Plastic destroys our environment
Plastic damages human health
Plastic threatens wildlife
Plastic ends up in our food chain
Plastic poisons our groundwater
Plastic does NOT go away

Did you know?

While the cost of production using plastic is low, the actual long term cost to our environment is immense and one to be paid not only by this generation.

Despite plastic first coming to life in the early 20th century, it was not until the 1940s when plastic production grew dramatically. It was seen as an alternative to conserve the limited natural resources. The problem with plastic is that it does not decompose. Majority of its products are single use hence once disposed, they remain in our environment forever.

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The plastic industry suggested recycling but this is far from perfect. Only about 9% of plastic gets recycled. 91% of it ends up in landfills and our oceans! Plastic debris were first spotted in the oceans in the 1960s. Today, we have the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which has often been described as a swirl of plastic garbage the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean. It is estimated that if we carry on this trend, by the year 2050, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans.

Moreover, studies suggest that additives such as bisphenol A used during the manufacturing of plastics to make it more durable, flexible and transparent leach into soil and water bodies posing a risk to human health.

We have to turn the tide against plastic. The time for us to act is now!


7 Reasons To Say No To Plastic


Plastics are made from non-renewable resources - The majority of plastic bags are made of polyethylene, a substance that is derived from crude oil refining and natural gas processing. Oil and natural gas are non-renewable fossil fuel-based resources and the extraction and production process emits greenhouse gases, which then contributes to global climate change.

High carbon footprint - Yes, plastic is lightweight and can be super thin. But what we have failed to realize is that it has a high carbon footprint. Meaning it has a high amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds that are emitted because of the consumption of fossil fuels during production.

Plastic bags are non-biodegradable - Plastic bags are composed of very resistant synthetic polymers that may take up to two thousand years before it decomposes. When we are long gone from this world, the plastic bag will still be here.

Only a small percentage is being recycled - About 91% of the plastics we have consumed ends up in landfills and in the ocean which harms both humans and aquatic life.

Plastic contains toxic materials - Additives in plastic leach into soil and water bodies finding their way into our food chain. The production process as well includes burning of crude oil resulting in green houses gases being released into our environment.

Plastics can cause hormonal imbalance and cancerous diseases - Since were are very exposed to toxins, there is a high possibility that it can disrupt our hormonal balance and lead to cancerous diseases.

Impact on marine and land animals - Plastic poses a serious risk to aquatic life. Sea animals mistake it for food and are not able to digest it. As a result, they end up dying due to starvation as they cannot eat anything else. Plastic also causes marine life injury as they get trapped in it. Moreover, as plastic slowly breaks down into microplastics, these tiny pieces of plastic get ingested unknowingly by both aquatic and land animals.

Simple Ways To Cut Down On Plastic


Plastic today is almost unavoidable. Almost everything we use is available in plastic form. This is because plastic is cheap and businesses focus mainly on their bottom line. It does not have to be this way though. We have the power in our hands. All we need to do is make conscious decisions on what we consume.

Below are areas and ways we can start saying no to plastic today in our everyday life.



When Shopping

  • About 500 billion plastic bags are produced annually! Bring your own reusable bag when going to the grocery store. Grocery stores tend to put your shopping in a plastic bag. This way you avoid taking away a plastic bag whenever you visit a grocery store.
  • Avoid products with excessive packaging. This sends a powerful message to brands to rethink their packaging.
  • Buy products from your local farmers market. This is a good way to get fresh, plastic free groceries.

Personal hygiene

  • Start by swapping your plastic toothbrush. We use at least 3 toothbrushes a year. Imagine how much plastic waste that is for just one family over the years. Consider a bamboo toothbrush instead.
  • 2 Billion plastic razors are discarded every year. The vast majority of these end up in landfills. Choose metal over plastic razors.
  • Check labels of personal care products. Did you know some contain tiny plastic beads? Avoid anything with “polyethylene” listed as an ingredient.
  • Clean with vinegar and water. A mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water is an effective all-purpose spray cleaner. This way, you avoid buying plastic packaged cleaners everytime you run out.


Food handling

  • Say no to the plastic straw. Collectively, we use around 500 million straws every day! Most times, you will realise that you need not use a straw but one will be provided with your drink. Insist on paper straws if you really need to use one.
  • Ditch the plastic water bottle. Bring a reusable bottle for your water. This way, not only do you reduce plastic waste, but also save a lot in what you spend on buying water.
  • Keep your own reusable foodware at the office. Bring a plate, bowl, glass, and utensils to keep at your desk. This way, you avoid all the disposable cups, plates and cutlery in the lunchroom.

Alternatives to plastic


Bamboo


Bamboo is a fast growing grass with a wide range of applications from construction to fabrics.

Benefits

  • A bio-agent within bamboo makes it naturally antibacterial, antifungal and odour resistant.
  • Due to its rapid growth, it has the capacity to avoid future deforestation.
  • Bamboo requires minimum irrigation and is very efficient in terms of water use.
  • Bamboo grows and regenerates fast, hence its growth minimizes carbon dioxide emissions and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees.
  • It requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots thus no need to be replanted.

Disadvantages

  • Poor resistance to fungi and bacteria during the time the bamboo is growing, hence should be well catered to during growth.
  • Once planted, they take over an area of land quite quickly unless there are in-ground barriers in place.

Product Ideas

Toothbrushes

Bed sheets

Blinds

Cutting boards

Clothing

Flooring

Garden plants

Matting

Fabrics


Cornstarch


Cornstarch is a starch extracted from the endosperm of corn.

Benefits

  • Capable of degrading much faster compared to plastic; 3 months in a controlled composting environment.
  • It is food safe and is resistant to food fats and oils.
  • Plastics made from PLA have a high aroma barrier.
  • Through genetic modification, corn is being made much more available with increased yield.

Disadvantages

  • Although PLA plastic does decompose, the conditions have to be just right for this to happen. It does not decompose in your garden for example.
  • There are currently only a few hundred industrial grade composting facilities in existence. Existing infrastructure would need to increase dramatically in order to cope with rising demand of this raw material.

Product Ideas

Cutlery

Food packaging

Tableware

Compostable bags


Sugarcane


Bagasse is the dry pulpy fibrous residue that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice.

Benefits

  • Bagasse is a tree-free renewable resource.
  • There is very low energy and no chemicals needed in the conversion to products.
  • It is fully biodegradable and compostable.
  • Products can be used for both hot and cold foods.

Disadvantages

  • Even though bagasse foodware is soak-proof and can work in a wide range of temperatures, hot food and liquids causes it to “breathe” and lose some of its strength.

Product Ideas

Trays

Tableware


Cotton


This is the fluffy fibre harvested from bolls found on cotton plant. Usually used in making fabrics.

Benefits

  • Cotton fabric is breathable and transmits moisture away from the body.
  • Cotton clothing is soft and easily stretches, making it a comfortable fabric to wear.
  • Cotton clothing protects against heat in the summer and cold in the winter by providing thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps air between the fabric fibers.
  • Cotton fabric is hypoallergenic and hence rarely causes allergic reactions.

Disadvantages

  • Cotton requires a lot of water to produce, over 2000 litres to grow enough cotton of a pair of boxers.
  • It requires a lot of herbicides and pesticides during growth.
  • It has low wrinkle resistance and color fades away easily.

Product Ideas

Clothing


Hemp


Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.

Benefits

  • Hemp requires no pesticides and very little water.
  • It has a very wide range of applications.
  • It is extremely durable and is known for its comfort, strength, resistance to mold and ultraviolet light, as well as its absorbent qualities.
  • It produces more that 250% fibre compared to cotton.
  • Use in paper products production could help save forests and trees from deforestation.

Disadvantages

  • Hemp production is highly regulated in the US.

Product Ideas

Shoes

Sun Screen

Rope

Clothes

Soap

Paper

Diapers


Palm


These are the natural leaves of the palm plant. Usually used to make tableware.

Benefits

  • Products naturally biodegrade in 8 weeks.
  • It is odourless and hygienic.
  • Products have the ability to withstand high and low temperatures.
  • Process of making products requires no chemicals.

Disadvantages

  • Products may not always be uniform in shape.

Product Ideas

Tableware

Baskets

Gift Boxes


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