There’s no doubt there are a lot of people feeling a bit helpless these last few days. Especially with the stand the new leader of the free world takes on climate change and his openly low level of respect for the environment. There’s no doubt things are looking a little bleak when it comes to environmental policy changes. On the bright side, Prop 67 passed and plastic bags are banned in California.
But before you start to complain about the lack of enormous changes being made in high levels of government, have a little introspection. Sure the man in the oval office has a powerful pen stroke, but we, the masses, manage supply and demand. Maybe the election didn’t go your way but that wasn’t the only vote being cast this year. We vote every single day with our dollars and cents. Here’s how you can vote today, tomorrow and every day, until you cast another paper ballot for president in 4 years.
Plastic is really shitty for the environment. I think we can all agree on that. Every piece of plastic that was ever created still exists in some micro form wreaking havoc on an ecosystem somewhere. A common refrain is that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
Like any commodity, plastic will continue to be mass produced if there is consumer demand. Stop demand, stop production – simple.
Lets put this in perspective…
In the next SIXTY SECONDS, around the world, humans will use ONE MILLION plastic bags.
In the next ONE HOUR, Americans alone will throw away 2.5 MILLION plastic water bottles.
In the next 24 HOURS, in Los Angeles alone, 10 METRIC TONS of plastic will make it’s way into the Pacific Ocean.
“But I recycle!” you might say.
The fact is, we currently recover only 5% of the plastic we produce.
The statistics are astounding. And the problem seems way too overwhelming for you to make a difference, right? Wrong. What it comes down to is laziness. And because of this laziness we’re contributing to the problem.
Eliminating plastic completely is extremely difficult, sure, especially without dramatic influence from policymakers. But, eliminating “lazy plastics” is not hard, and they are biggest part of the problem.
“Lazy plastics” are objects used more for convenience than utility, e.g. plastic bottles, plastic bags, and straws. Instead of making the effort to carry in a re-usable grocery store bag, for example, we’d rather carry out plastic bags. Instead of carrying a reusable water bottle, we’d rather buy drinks contained in plastic bottles and toss them out straight after.
Feeling guilty yet?
Finally, straws. I just don’t get them. Some claim they don’t want to drink through the dirty cup at a restaurant even though it went through a dishwasher that would melt the skin off your bones. If that’s really the concern, why not wipe the glass? (And if you really can’t live without straws there are always reusable ones.)
These three things are not difficult, try eliminating them for two weeks, and it’ll be a habit. Grab a re-usable bottle, grab a hemp bag (you’ll look cool as shit) and sip from your glass (again cooler). Personally, I’m not perfect. I still forget to say, “no straw,” sometimes. At Lifestyle Over Luxury Co., with no cost effective alternative, we’re forced to plastic package our shirts. We try to offset our impact by picking up a full bag’s worth of trash off beaches with every purchase, but that’s not a perfect solution either.
Sometimes you won’t have a choice, we’re a world addicted to plastic. But eliminating lazy plastics is, at least, straightforward and requires just a tiny bit of effort. At the very least, give it a try so your kids don’t have to paddle out through your garbage.