Let's go Naked
Have you seen the turtles with the deformed shells, because of the plastic that got wrapped around them on an early age? Or the beaches with heaps and heaps of plastic waste, where the children swim between plastic bottles and bags? And did you know that Muizenberg beach, here on our home soil, has a massive plastic pollution problem, because of the landfill close by?
Now, I knew that plastic is big problem and there’s this big hullabaloo of using less plastic, but I must say I was totally oblivious to the fact how serious this problem actually is. When I attended the LUSH Turning the Tide talk, I was disillusioned and saddened by the fact that plastic is taking over our planet.
It’s sad to say, but we have an addiction and it’s killing our earth - plastic.
Here is some scary facts of plastic pollution:
50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
Today you’ll find plastic where you least expect it, including the foods we eat, the water we drink and the environments in which we live.
Once in the environment, plastic enters our food chain where, increasingly, microplastic particles are turning up in our stomachs, blood and lungs. Scientists are only beginning to study the potential health impacts.
Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.
Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
BPA was initially used as a hormone replacement in women and a growth hormone in cattle. Now it resides in plastic products that regularly come into contact with your food and drink.
90% of the adult population has chemicals from plastics in their bodies. These chemicals, like BPA, mimic hormones and have been tied to cancers, birth defects, and developmental disorders in children.
Scary right??? Now, if you don’t care about the environment, you do care about yourself and/or your children right??? One of the biggest facts that scare the crap out of me, is that we are actually consuming microplastics. Yes, I know, we’ll consume it until we die, but if we don’t reduce our plastic use dramatically it’s only going to get worse. We’ll just be consuming more and more plastics until our bodies can’t deal with it anymore. And why would we not want to make the earth a better place to live in for our children and their children?
Now, I am just going to blatantly honest with you - If YOU don’t want to reduce your plastic use, YOU’RE SELFISH. It’s not just the environmentalists' problem, it’s EVERYONE’S PROBLEM, because it affects every single human being on this earth.
But let there be no doubt: we are on edge of a plastic calamity. Current projections show that global plastic production will skyrocket in the next 10-15 years. This year alone, manufacturers will produce an estimated 360m tonnes. With a booming population driving demand, production is expected to reach 500m by 2025 and a staggering 619m tonnes by 2030. So the next time you see scenes of plastic choking a river or burying a beach, consider double that impact in just over 10 years.
Avoiding the worst of these outcomes requires more than awareness, it demands a movement. A wholesale rethinking of the way we produce, use and manage plastic. That’s why United Nations Environment is now focusing on a simple yet ambitious goal: beat plastic pollution.
Now YOU can make a difference and it’s so much easier than you think:
Say NO to plastic straws - if you’re like my mum and need (more want) a straw, check these out.
Ditch the single use plastics - don’t use the grocer plastic bags. I bought the Eco bags from Woolworths and was a bit disappointed to see it is made 100% out of plastic, but luckily it’s recycled plastic and I will be using these bags over and over again until it’s not usable anymore and then recycle it. Here is non-plastic options. Other items you can replace is plastic cutlery - always keep bamboo or cutlery in your handbag or backpack, do not take non-compostable take-away cup - have an eco-cup on you (you even get discount at some places) and do not buy water in plastic water bottles - be prepared with water in a glass bottle. The first one I’ve implemented already, the other will later be implemented. However, I do eat with my hands if possible and only support coffee shops with compostable cups.
Volunteer at a beach cleanup. Cape Town Beach Cleanup often holds cleanups.
Get the plastic off your face - don’t use products with microbeads - all the LUSH scrubs and products have non-plastic alternatives in it.
Use products without plastic packaging - for instance the LUSH Naked range. LUSH’S creative solutions are helping the environment, like the invention of the first-ever solid shampoo bar, which saves nearly 6 million plastic bottles yearly.
Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the nasty impacts of plastic pollution.
I want to challenge you - take note of all the plastics you use over this weekend and consider ways to reduce it.
Think about how much packaging you use in a day - that morning coffee in a takeaway cup, vegetables wrapped in disposable coverings, or the plastic cutlery given to you with your lunch.
If you’ve done it and are shocked by reality, I would love to hear your thoughts - shoot me a DM on Instagram or send me an e-mail.