Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sustainable September 2015 - Day Two

Hello lovely people,

So what did you think of the videos by Lauren Singer? Do you think you can make small changes and end up just being completely waste free? Well that is an idea... right?

One things we will talk about today is plastic. Plastic is one of the most harmful things to our environment. Plastic is a long lasting and durable product that is often only given a "single use" before being discarded. Wikipedia states that plastic makes up at least 10% of all discarded waste.

I saw this quote the other day and I realised with great weight, its truth.

The article by Environmental Health News called The Enviromental Toll of Plastics states in their article from 2009 that...
                                        "Evidence is mounting that the chemical building blocks that make plastics so versatile are the same components that might harm people and the environment. And its production and disposal contribute to an array of environmental problems, too. For example:
• Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
• Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife.
• Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats.
• Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater.
• Around 4 percent of world oil production is used as a feedstock to make plastics, and a similar amount is consumed as energy in the process."

Okay... plastic is not very good. Not good for us or the environment. Take note today where plastic is turning up in your life. Can you substitute it? Can you change anything so that you use less? In the next few days I will be looking at small simple things that mean you don't have to use plastic.

You might be thinking that it does not seem so simple.
Don't Panic! Grab your towel (Hitch-hikers unite! lol. Sorry. Couldn't help a literary reference!).

Today's Sustainable September idea is very simple. By making one change you can help marine animals and yourself avoid one type of plastic.

September 2: Buy/use a reusable metal or glass straw instead of plastic ones. 
Cardboard straws [also called Paper Straws] are also available and can be composted after use.

I don't know if any of you saw the video that showed up on Facebook recently of a poor turtle that had inhaled a plastic straw. The video was really distressing to watch so I wont share a link to it. It was most distressing for the turtle that was having the straw removed from its nose. Plastic in the ocean is a huge issue. It takes hundreds if not thousands of years for plastic to deteriorate. 

"The Marine Conservancy has predicted the decomposition rates of several plastic products. It is estimated that a foam plastic cup will take 50 years, a plastic beverage holder will take 400 years, disposable diaper will take 450 years, and fishing line will take 600 years to degrade." Wikipedia (2015).

"So why straws?" I hear you ask. Well we have to start somewhere.

"Would you believe that enough plastic straws are produced annually to fill over 46 thousand full sized buses! Each time you use a reusable glass[or stainless steel] straw it means one less plastic straw ends up in landfill or in our precious oceans." (Biome 2015)

Personally, I just bought a bunch of Stainless Steel straws. I have recently discovered E-bay (I know I am about 10 years behind everyone else with this one). I was able to buy 10 stainless steel straws (with two little cleaning brushes) for about $10 AUD! That is awesome to me!!! When I get home to Perth (from Sydney, where I am currently) I will let you know how they go! I am actually really excited about them!

If you want to avoid plastic and you have a big event coming up think no further than cardboard straws. They come in a range of brightly coloured cardboard lengths and are about $2 AUD for about 24 cardboard straws. They are only really one use things (hence I love the idea of the reusable straws more). However once these are used they can go in the compost bin rather than the trash/rubbish.

Can't figure out where to get them? There are lots of places online. Just google "Glass Straws" or "Stainless Steel Straws" and you can get heaps of options.

Cardboard straws are found in supermarkets, cheap stores (like Red Dot, Price Savers, King Kong, Reject Shop). Beware that they are often packed in a plastic single use bag for sale. Some places sell them in cardboard packaging, although not many. So look around

One small change can make a huge difference. Think about the turtle. We have to start somewhere so why not with straws.

KINDNESS IDEA: Buy a couple extra reusable straws when you buy them for yourself and give them to your nearest and dearest!  :) Or simply refuse a straw - it means you totally just saved a turtles nose!

I hope this finds you all well.
Love Daena

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