Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Monthly Micro-Actions: Plastic Alternatives

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and is also a monthly guest blogger on my website! She writes about tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

No one knows exactly how much plastic waste ends up in the ocean. A 2018 National Geographic article featured this estimate made by an engineering professor: somewhere between 5.3 million and 14 million tons each year just from coastal regions[1]. While that’s a distressing estimate, the fact is the problem persists and not every location has the infrastructure to recycle. And while recycling may seem commonplace, it is important to remember that the first R is to REDUCE.

“But I can only reuse my toothbrush for so long and this is a hygienic necessity that I can’t reduce or eliminate.” Of course, we don’t want you reusing your one toothbrush forever, so the question then becomes how can I REDUCE the waste that comes from the products I use?

Remember, just because we recycle doesn’t mean it makes it to the recycling station or gets turned into something new and useable. This is why we have to explore the opportunity to reduce everyday plastics, like toothbrushes!

Did you know a person may use 160 toothbrushes over their lifetime? And that’s just the result of 1 person using 1 instrument. There are over 7 billion people in the world, most of which brush their teeth with a typical plastic toothbrush. That’s 160 toothbrushes X 7,000 000 000 000 people totaling… Yikes!!

The good news is alternative solutions to plastic are popping up everywhere and are becoming more readily accessible.

Bamboo for the Win

Switching to a bamboo toothbrush means not only reducing plastic but utilizing a product made from the fastest growing plant on the planet. Bamboo is known to grow over 4 feet a DAY in the right conditions; as such, it’s considered a sustainable resource.

My journey to reduce plastic in my life began with a toothbrush realization I had while living in Hong Kong. In this video, which aired on Shaw TV earlier this year, I share details about my Zero Waste journey and highlight companies doing great work by offering plastic-free alternatives for consumers. 

Micro-Action For August

We’re addicted to plastic at a planetary scale, and solving the plastic problem will be incredibly challenging on a global level. We can, however, REDUCE our dependence on plastic at an individual level.

This month, when you go to the store to make a purchase consider if there’s a plastic free-alternative available. Thanks to Smartphones, you can do a quick Google search in the store and learn about the options available to you. 

Also, feel free to Email Us if you’d like to know of a plastic alternative to something you use every day! I’m happy to address reader feedback in my next blog.