Time for Change: Use less Plastic

Emma Connolly

Emma Connolly

Emma lives in England. Ace the dog keeps her feet and heart warm while she writes about music and culture.
Emma Connolly

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Here at The Chronopages, we try to live well and do good. But it’s not always easy to find the time to be as environmentally friendly as we would like. It’s difficult to know what will make a difference, and it’s also hard to go against the commercial mainstream. That’s why we believe in making even just a little Time for Change in simple ways.

People are using more plastic than ever before, and although we are getting better at recycling and reusing, the vast majority of plastic worldwide is either going into landfill (where it will take hundreds of years to decompose) or ends up littering the land and oceans as pollution. The millions of tons of plastic floating in the oceans threatens the health and safety of marine life, and the problem is a global one. A recent study of the fulmar, a type of Arctic seabird, found that most of the birds studied had plastic in their stomachs. One bird alone had ingested 200 pieces of plastic.

A serious problem with ocean plastic entering the food chain – and ultimately ending up on our plates – is that plastic attracts and binds with other pollutants in the sea such as PCB (a synthetic chemical used in cooling fluids) – which causes hormone disruption and damage to the nervous system in humans, and DDD – a derivative of DDT.

There really is no question that our ‘disposable’ lifestyle comes with a hefty environmental price tag. So try these 5 simple ways to lessen your use of plastics.

  • Buy clothes made from natural fibres; choose cotton, linen, hemp or wool rather than synthetic fibres such as acrylic and polyester. With every wash cycle, tiny fragments of plastic – microplastic – from synthetic fabrics enter the oceans.
  • Don’t buy bottled water. Not only is it expensive, but it’s also a major beach pollutant. Buy a reusable container instead.
  • Always carry some cloth shopping bags. We all know about this one but it can be hard to develop the habit – hang them by the door or keep them in the car so you don’t forget them.
  • Use traditional bars of soap rather than liquid soap in plastic containers. And don’t buy any toothpastes or cleansers containing microbeads.
  • Shop at a local farmers market when possible, to avoid buying overly-packaged goods. (Remember to bring that cloth shopping bag!)

plastic pollution

Photo credit: Horia Varlan / Foter / CC BY