After spending 9 months in Bali, my outrage at the mess we’re making of our planet appears to be limitless. However, outrage without action is of no help at all to anyone. I’ve been thinking on this issue a great deal since then, trying to think how I can help and what could be a global solution for our excessive plastic usage and the mess we’ve made of the ocean.
First, I want to utterly reduce my personal/household usage of anything plastic. I think we should outright ban all styrofoam and plastic production and usage. Realistically, I’m aware that state of reality is far off. So what can I do now?
#1- Stop using reusable bags for all of your shopping and never ever take a plastic bag from the grocery story again.
Even for your meat. Even for your potentially leaking whatever. Stop using all plastic bags. Put your meat in a washable, reusable bag and clean the bag once you’re home. Easy peasy.
This means too you have to tell the cashier that you don’t want any plastic bags right up front or they will just use plastic bags as they are trained to do, for certain items- like raw meat and precooked items.
#2- Stop buying liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Of any kind. This is a biggie. I know.
First, use up all of the liquid soaps and shampoo and conditioner that you have. Not using them means wasting what you already purchased and unnecessarily adds to the plastic bottle trash. Then, save the bottles and rinse them out. You never know what you may need them for in the future and you don’t want to BUY more bottles. So keeps those stored in the back of the closet or somewhere so it’s not cluttering your space.
Move to bar soap, bar shampoo, bar conditioner, and bar lotion. You may be wondering what this is. There are several companies who have seen the light and understand there is a burgeoning need for plastic free everything. Specifically:
As you know, bar soap can be found anywhere. Just be sure to buy soap that isn’t in a plastic wrapper. Obvs.
But what are bar shampoos, conditioners, and lotion you may ask. Right now, I’m using the Ethique brand for all of this. I think it works as well as liquid conditioner.
I also have a few brands from France that I picked up while traveling so I’ll let you know how those fare when I’ve used them.
I actually haven’t used the bar lotion yet because I’m using up every drop of my previous lotion purchases from before leaving for Bali. I have several partially used bottles so using those is my first priority. However, I have ordered this bar lotion from Amazon and I have some tea tree oil so I’m going to whip it up and see how it is. I’m excited at all the applications for shea butter oil blocks.
#3: Stop using dishwasher tablets.
The dishwasher tablets are either wrapped in individual plastic wrapper or in a dissolvable polyvinyl alcohol. And they come in a large plastic container to keep moisture out.
Therefore you’re buying large plastic containers and throwing out the little individual plastic wrapper or adding to the the polyvinyl alcohol to the water supply. Go back to using the detergent crystals which come in a cardboard box. It’s an extra 30 seconds to pour in the crystals into the detergent container. But you’re not touching the detergent pods and you’re not adding to the millions of plastic bottles in either landfills or recycling programs which may or may not actually recycle the bottle.
#4 Change how you consume liquid laundry detergent and fabric softener.
Fabric softener has been shown to have all sorts of harmful effects to you, your kids and the environment. Try a more natural solution the fabric softeners. This reduces the consumption of the plastic bottles for liquid fabric softener as well as helps the environment due to its ingredients. Two wins for one change!
There are several plastic-free options, like Cleancult, my Greenfills, and others. Their fabric softeners take a different approach altogether.
As for liquid laundry detergent, apparently the detergent crystals can cause additional friction on clothes which release more microplastic fibers from the clothes than does liquid laundry detergent. So instead of the crystals, either make your own powder or you use environment friendly brands like Cleancut or my Greenfills.
I think these changes are extremely easy to implement and cost very little extra money. Remember your plastic bottle has a 500 year lift span. It will be around forever. And it’s estimated that only 30 to 50% of recycled products are actually recycled so the chances are that every plastic bottle you use will end up on a landfill.
Together we can change the course of environmental catastrophe.