There are many ways in which we could and should be living a more plastic-free lifestyle. While it is an amazing material, most of the time it is quite unnecessary. Additionally plastics can leach toxic chemicals into products we use on our bodies as well as food and drinks we consume. There are many lists out there with tips for how to live with less plastic. According to the one that TreeHugger put out recently there are a few easy changes we can all make to be healthier, create less waste, save money, and have fun getting creative. One can avoid single-use items by carrying your own water bottle, travel mug, silverware, and reusable bag wherever you go. Think you might forget? Leave the items by the door, in your knapsack, or in your vehicle when you are done using them. Bring your own containers to the grocery store to buy in bulk. Vinegar and baking soda (and a little lemon juice if you'd like for scent) are all you need to clean the house or launder your clothes with. Wash and reuse the plastic bags you already have sitting in a pile somewhere. Tell your server or bartender that you don't need that straw. Start making things like condiments, sauces, deodorant, tooth powder, and wash/scrub for your face, body and hair. Forget that plastic packaging and ingredients you can't pronounce! Read the full list here.
What is CAW doing about reducing plastic pollution? We are working with a strong coalition to pass AB 888 that would ban the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads in California. Microbeads are tiny plastic spheres less than 5 millimeters in diameter that are added to facial scrubs, toothpastes and other personal care products as colorants or exfoliants. A single product can contain 350,000 microbeads that are designed to wash down the drain. They are so small that they are rarely captured by wastewater treatment facilities and so they end up in local waterways and eventually the ocean. There they attract toxic chemicals to their surfaces which poses a health threat both to the animals that mistake them for food and the humans that consume the marine organisms such as fish. Many natural alternatives such as apricot shells and cocoa beans are already successfully being used in products for the same purpose. If AB 888 passes and gets signed into law in the next couple of weeks, 38 tons of plastic pollution will be kept out of California's aquatic environment every year. Support and sign up to receive updates on this bill here.
Additionally CAW worked long and hard to help pass a statewide plastic bag ban SB 270 last year. Out-of-state plastic bag manufacturers spent millions on getting a referendum put on the November 2016 ballot for voters to decide its fate. In the meantime 140 cities and counties have taken it upon themselves to pass their own bans. Californians use up to 20 billion of these bags every year, but only 5% are recycled. Not only that but they cost taxpayers millions to clean up, and The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates that over 100,000 whales, seals, and turtles die every year as a result of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris including plastic bags. Learn more here about how you can support the cause.
Go forth and reduce your plastic footprint!