Live Consciously Idea #3 - Use Plastic Wisely

Our world is surrounded by plastic. Plastic is the low cost, miracle material used in almost every item we own. Take a look around you right now and identify all of the plastic items you see. Some of the plastic in our lives is unavoidable, like the computer monitor your using or the typical office desk phone. Other plastic or plastic composite items like water bottles, coffee cups, and grocery bags can be reused or avoided. With this small action alone, there is a huge collective advantage that can result in a dramatic decrease of plastic in landfills and oceans.

Reusable Grocery Bags
According to EcoWatch, 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. These often end up swirling around in the ocean waters, creating physical dangers for ocean life and polluting the water. It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade so it is urgent we address these issues now.  Reusable grocery bags not only hold more food, but they make carrying your food in the house easier. The handles are nice and they are stronger so there is less danger of a bag breaking while carrying heavy items. Reusable bags can be purchased at almost any grocery store now and at farmer's markets. They can be washed in the washing machine and some even fold to a tiny size for added convenience. If you have not purchased any reusable bags and want to jump right in, Amazon sells a package of ten reinforced bags at a great price. They also have bags that fold up for easier transport and higher end bags to transport cold items.

Reusable Water Bottles and Coffee Cups
Reusable containers for water and coffee are such an easy solution. EcoWatch cites Brita and indicates the average American throws away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. In California there is a garbage patch located in the North Pacific Gyre where the floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas. The plastic outnumbers the sea creatures six to one.
Click on Image for Videos on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
This is unacceptable in this day and age where knowledge is so easily spread. This is not just about the survival of ocean species, pollution of this scale and growing is tied to our survival as well.

My move away from plastic started with me hating the idea of plastic and the possibility of chemicals, even in BPA free bottles, seeping into the water my children drink. So, I've been making a concerted effort to switch to glass. This is difficult with very young children because of the possibility of breakage. Stainless steel is a great alternative to glass if your kids are young or if you are simply hard on water bottles.

A coworker bought me my first glass bottle. It has a plastic covering around it that increases the durability three-fold. I have since bought similar ones for the kids and as gifts as well. They come in multiple colors and different patterns. They do break, but I admittedly have dropped mine multiple times and it has survived better than I ever thought it would.

The new movement toward insulated stainless steel is an awesome option too. These bottles can keep items cold for several days and they can keep your hot drinks steaming hot for hours as well. I have purchased the two bottles below and I recommend either or both. Do avoid purchasing aluminium bottles. Aluminum can be reactive with acidic liquids and often they are lined with plastics. Click here if you want to learn more about reusable bottles and the materials they are made from,


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